Innovations within reach: Bigger, better, faster elastic caching

The IBM® WebSphere® DataPower® XC10 Appliance is a combination of the latest robust DataPower hardware platform and state of the art IBM distributed caching technology. XC10 Version 2 is a firmware and hardware upgrade that further improves performance, quality, serviceability and scalability of your elastic caching tier. This brief article will acquaint you with newest features of the XC10 firmware and provide a look under the hood of the new hardware. This content is part of the IBM WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.

Charles Le Vay (ccl@us.ibm.com), Senior Software Architect, IBM  

Author photoCharles Le Vay is a senior software architect. He is the elastic caching technical evangelist as part of WebSphere Emerging Technologies team. His focus is on promoting the advantages of elastic data grid technology within the enterprise. Before becoming a technical evangelist, he was the Web Service interoperability architect for IBM's WebSphere Application Server. He represented IBM on the Web Service Interoperability Organization (WS-I) Reliable Secure Profile (RSP) Working Group. As an interoperability architect, Charles focused on ensuring IBM products meet industry standard interoperability criteria. He was responsible for identifying and detailing best practices for Web services interoperability. Prior to this position, Charles specialized in mobile application development, wireless technology, and extending enterprise applications securely to mobile devices. Before joining IBM, Charles developed advanced submarine sonar systems for the Navy and specialized in signal processing and underwater acoustics. Charles is a graduate of Duke University with a degree in physics.



Thomas Gissel, XC10 Chief Programmer and Architect, IBM

Author photoThomas R. Gissel is a member of the WebSphere Technology Institute. In this role, he works on emerging technologies for future WebSphere releases. Formerly, Tom was team leader of the WebSphere Execution Team, where his primary responsibility was to resolve IBM customer business-critical situations involving WebSphere Application Server.



22 June 2011

Also available in Chinese Japanese

Each installment of Innovations within reach features new information and discussions on topics related to emerging technologies, from both developer and practitioner standpoints, plus behind-the-scenes looks at leading edge IBM® WebSphere® products.

The new XC10

The IBM WebSphere DataPower XC10 Appliance is designed to be the drop-in caching tier for your IBM WebSphere Application Server infrastructure. XC10 Version 2 is a firmware and hardware upgrade that further improves performance, quality, serviceability and scalability of your elastic caching tier.

XC10 V2 firmware now supports Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The new SNMP agent runs on the appliance as a background daemon and supports both SNMPv1 and SNMPv2. SNMP clients can download the two available XC10 Management Information Base (MIB) files, which provide statistics and hardware status:

  • The statistics MIB includes information that is similar to the statistics available with the user interface monitoring functionality. The statistics MIB includes statistics for maps, grids, and Java Virtual Machines (JVMs).
  • The hardware status MIB includes information about the state of the hardware, such as temperatures, date and time, firmware version, uptime, and so on.

Version 2 firmware is supported on XC10 Version 1 hardware, so you can benefit from the new features and software performance improvements on your existing XC10 appliance.

The XC10 v2 SNMP agent also supports communities. When an SNMP client accesses information from the managed device’s agent, it passes the agent credentials as a community name. The community name is equivalent to a user name that is used to access information from the managed devices agent. Communities are configured as read-only or read-write access, and can include a host restriction. SNMP clients must know which community to use to monitor the XC10 activities. The host name or IP address of the client machine must be configured in the community settings of the XC10’s SNMP agent to enable an SNMP client machine to monitor the appliance. The XC10 appliance can be monitored by a network management system using products such as:

  • IBM Tivoli® Composite Application Manager (ITCAM)
  • IBM Director
  • HP OpenView
  • Net-SNMP
  • Any monitoring client that can consume MIB-II data

In order to support elastic data grid multi-tenancy, the XC10 V2 firmware now has support for grid capping. This new feature enables the administrator to limit the capacity consumed by a data grid. Grid capping prevents any one data grid from consuming all of the available elastic cache capacity. The administrator can set grid limits on a per grid basis. To assist the administrator when configuring a grid limit, a Current Capacity Consumption chart is provided, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Current Capacity Consumption
Figure 1. Current Capacity Consumption

The chart shows the sum of all the configured limits, the maximum capacity available, the capacity already consumed by the grid, and the capacity consumed by all the other limited or unlimited grids in the collective. Additionally, the XC10 monitor is updated to show capacity limits in the Data Grid Overview and the Individual Data Grid Overview Used Capacity charts and tables so that administrators can easily track used capacity against configured grid limits, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Data grid overview
Figure 2. Data grid overview

The XC10 V2 firmware also has improved performance, quality, and serviceability. Optimizations in the XC10 firmware have shown up to a 3x boost in performance. The log collection capabilities, configurable from both the browser-based user interface and the command line interface, are enhanced for improved problem determination. Additionally, the V2 firmware contains more robust error detection and self-healing functionality.

As mentioned earlier, Version 2 of the XC10 Appliance is both a firmware and a hardware upgrade. The XC10 V2 appliance hardware has grown from a 1U chassis to a 2U chassis, and the appliance capacity has grown from 160GB to 240GB of elastic cache. It also has 4x the network capacity, with two 1Gb Ethernet management ports and eight 1Gb Ethernet connectivity ports. Alternatively, you can optionally choose to use the two available 10Gb Ethernet ports instead of the eight 1Gb Ethernet ports for even higher speed connectivity. The V2 appliance contains dual hex-core Xeon Nehalem 2.93 GHz processors, which represent the state of the art for the Intel x86 architecture. The faster hardware (the V2 hardware is 2x faster than V1 hardware) combined with the faster firmware nets a 5x increase in overall throughput performance.


Conclusion

The WebSphere DataPower XC10 appliance V2 is bigger, better, faster, and now supports SNMP monitoring and grid capping. Additionally, the Version 2 firmware has improved throughput performance, and the Version 2 hardware has grown in size, capacity, and throughput, and is based on the latest Xeon processor technology, all of which continues to make the XC10 V2 Appliance is an easy, cost effective way to integrate elastic caching into your enterprise.

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