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Scalability Test Results for Windows Server 2012 DHCP Server

Scalability Test Results for Windows Server 2012 DHCP Server

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Introduction

This blog article provides data from tests conducted on server hardware (from different vendors and with different configurations) using Windows Server 2012 that depict how the different DHCP server operations scale with increasing hardware capacity. It can be used for guidance in assessing scalability of systems running Windows Server 2012 DHCP Server and choosing the appropriate hardware configuration for running the DHCP server based on the size of the deployment for a desired level of performance.

These scale testing results were executed at the Microsoft Enterprise Engineering Center. The EEC is a world-class facility which works with customers and partners to validate pre-release and in-market Windows Server and System Center product scenarios.

Background

DHCP service is an essential part of any network infrastructure. An enterprise network needs a robust, reliable and scalable DHCP service. While planning an enterprise scale DHCP server deployment, some of the questions that an administrator planning the deployment needs to answer are:

What configuration would be most suitable?

What would be the maximum lease capacity for this configuration?

How much time would it take to perform operations like restore/backup/export/import?

How much additional load (scopes, leases) will I be able to put on the system with the increase in CPU/memory?

It is to help answer these questions that this testing was undertaken. By conducting a range of tests on hardware from vendors like Dell and HP running Windows Server 2012, some key performance metrics were observed. The recorded observations for these performance metrics give a reasonable idea about the impact of varying hardware configuration. They can be used in not only deciding the configuration to opt for while deploying Windows 2012 DHCP Server but also in realizing the capacity of already installed systems.

Test Plan and Results

Test Setup

The RC (Release Candidate) build of Windows Server 2012 was used for conducting the tests. 5 Server models (3 from HP, 2 from Dell) with different configurations were selected for the hardware:

Manufacturer

Model

Core Count

Core Speed

Processor Model

Memory

Disk Configuration

Network Adapter

Dell

PowerEdge R810

12

2GHz

Xeon X5650

262GB

10k SAS

Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA2
Onboard 1G

HP

BL465cG1-2

4

2.6 GHz

2222SE

8GB

10k SAS

HP NC373i Multifunction 1Gb Adapter

Dell

PowerEdge R710

16

2.66GHz

Xeon X6550

98GB

15k SAS

Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520-DA2
Onboard 1G

HP

BL460c-G1

8

2.6GHz

Xeon E5430

16GB

15k SAS

HP NC373i Multifunction 1Gb Adapter


HP NC326i PCIe Dual Port 1Gb Adapter

HP

BL680-G5

24

2.4GHz

Xeon E7450

128GB

15k SAS

HP NC373i Multifunction 1Gb Adapter

 HP NC326i PCIe Dual Port 1Gb Adapter

Table 1. Configurations of servers selected for conducting the tests

The servers were managed using RSAT (Remote Server Administration Tool) running on a system with the below configuration:

Manufacturer

Model

Core Count

Core Speed

Processor Model

Memory

Disk Configuration

Network Adapter

HP

BL460c-G1

8

2.6GHz

Xeon E5430

16GB

15k SAS

HP NC373i Multifunction 1Gb Adapter


HP NC326i PCIe Dual Port 1Gb Adapter

Table 2. Configuration of system running RSAT

As an enterprise deployment will require high availability of DHCP server, the tests were carried out with the new DHCP failover feature deployed between 2 DHCP servers with identical hardware configuration. The servers were setup with 15 failover relationships in hot standby mode. The complete setup along with the system running RSAT tool (DHCP MMC, PowerShell) has been shown in the figure below.

The setup for the tests 

Fig. 1. The setup of the servers on which the tests were conducted

The purpose of the tests was to identify the number of scopes that can be deployed on a DHCP server at these different hardware configurations with the DHCP server being able to handle a certain minimum client transaction rate. The goal was also to measure how the DHCP server management operations done via DHCP MMC, PowerShell as well as operations like backup/restore, export/import would perform. With a number of tests being involved, the testing was conducted on each of the servers in three phases.

Note: To bring down the number of variable parameters, all the scopes deployed on the DHCP server were of size /24 and the number of leases in each scope was 100.

Test Results

In the first phase, the aim was to identify the number of scopes that the DHCP server would be able to support at a client transaction rate of at least 500/sec. A client transaction is a request-response exchange between the DHCP server and a client which results in either a new lease acquisition, renewal of existing lease or release of lease.  The transactions were performed using a tool that simulated a multi-client environment. The client simulation test tool was configured to send these transaction is the ratio of 20 (new lease): 60 (renew lease): 20 (release).  This ensured that the number of leases in the DHCP server database remained constant as the new lease and release transactions would set off each other. The duration for which each server was subjected to client transactions was kept at 30 minutes. The results of these first phase of tests are given below:

Manufacturer

Model

Number of scopes with failover

Transactions/sec with failover

Dell

PowerEdge R810

50,000

656

HP

BL465cG1-2

10,000

591

Dell

PowerEdge R710

50,000

684

HP

BL460c-G1

15,000

564

HP

BL680-G5

50,000

733

Table 3. Results of phase 1 tests

One of the inferences which can be drawn with the above results is the multi-threaded architecture of the DHCP server enables scaling up of the DHCP server performance as the number of cores in the system increases. It was also noted, while conducting the tests that the memory foot print of the DHCP server remained limited. Thus, any increase in system memory did not lead to an increase in scope capacity or transaction rate on DHCP server.

In the second phase, the servers were maintained at the number of scopes they were able to achieve in the first phase. They were then tested for their performance on the time it took to perform the following routine operations:

  • List all scopes in MMC
  • List all scopes in PowerShell
  • List all leases in a scope in PowerShell

The results of phase 2 are shown below:

Manufacturer

Model

Number of scopes with failover

 

Time taken to

List all scopes in DHCP MMC

List all scopes in PowerShell

List all leases in a scope (PowerShell)

Dell

PowerEdge R810

50,000

58 Secs

4 Mins 10 Secs

< 1 Sec

HP

BL465 cG1-2

10,000

15 Secs

28 Secs

< 1 Sec

Dell

PowerEdge R710

50,000

47 Secs

3 Min 06 Secs

< 1 Sec

HP

BL460c-G1

15,000

21 Secs

44 Secs

< 1 Sec

HP

BL680-G5

50,000

48 Secs

3 Min 12 Secs

< 1 Sec

Table 4. Results of phase 2 tests

In the third phase, the DHCP servers were maintained at the number of scopes (and leases) that they were able to achieve in the first phase and were tested for their performance on the time it took to perform the following operations:

  • Export with lease data
  • Import with lease data
  • Export without lease data
  • Import without lease data
  • Backup
  • Restore

The results of phase 3 are shown below:

Manufacturer

Model

Number of scopes with failover

 

Time taken to

Export with leases

Import with leases

Export without leases

Import without leases

Backup

Restore

Dell

PowerEdge R810

50,000

4 Hours 18 Mins

29 Hours 40 Mins

59 Mins 40 Secs

2 Hours 56 mins

1 Mins 11 Secs

9 Mins 18 Secs

HP

BL465cG1-2

10,000

40 Mins

5 Hours 21 Mins

8 Mins

30 Mins

40 Secs

3 Mins 12 Secs

Dell

PowerEdge R710

50,000

4 Hours 02 Mins

27 Hours 36 Mins

52 Mins 21 Secs

2 Hours 32 Mins

42 Secs

7 Mins 27 Secs

HP

BL460c-G1

15,000

1 Hour 9 Mins

8 Hours 9 Mins

14 Mins

47 Mins

58 Secs

4 Mins 1 Secs

HP

BL680-G5

50,000

4 Hours 4 Mins

29 Hours 20 Mins

56 Mins

2 Hours 47 Mins

1 Mins

8 Mins 57 Secs

Table 5. Results of phase 3 tests

As can be observed from the test data of phase 2 and phase 3, the management operations are fastest on the system with highest CPU speed. However, the management operations do not benefit from higher number of cores.

Concluding Notes/Remarks

This blog article intends to serve as a guide to DHCP server deployment planning. The results of the tests here depict performance of DHCP server with different hardware configuration.  The performance has been measured in terms of a number of key performance metrics that include the number of scopes and the client transaction rate that can be supported and also the time taken to perform DHCP server management operations. 

Disclaimer: The tests were conducted using the RC (Release Candidate) build of Windows Server 2012. The test results may differ slightly for the RTM (Release to Market) build.

Comments
  • Great :)

  • Awesome guys!

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