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Reinventing Storage for Social Networks with Intel® Xeon® Gold CPUs, Intel® Optane™ persistent memory, Intel® SSDs, and the Intel® PAC with Intel® Arria® 10 GX FPGA

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Social networking is hugely data intensive. Consequently, data storage consumes a significant part of the budget for VK, Russia’s largest social network. In 2019, VK had 97 million monthly active users.1 Every day, users view 9 billion posts and 650 million videos, and they exchange 10 billion messages.2 They tap the “like” button a billion times a day.1 Over the course of a year, VK users upload hundreds of petabytes of new data, including photos and videos.2 VK has modernized its tiered storage using Intel® Xeon® Gold CPUs, Intel® Optane™ persistent memory, Intel® Optane™ SSDs, Intel® SSDs with non-volatile memory express (NVMe), and Intel® FPGA Programmable Acceleration Cards (Intel® PACs) with Intel® Arria® 10 GX FPGAs. As a result, VK expects to realize significant financial savings while improving performance.

More specifically:

  • Upgrading the server processor from the Intel Xeon Gold 6230 processor to the Intel Xeon Gold 6238R processor cut the compute cost by 40 percent and improved performance per watt by 72 percent2, according to VK.

  • VK introduced Intel Optane persistent memory for the rating counter servers that support the newsfeed, migrating data away from more expensive DRAM.

  • VK upgraded the storage for frequently accessed data in its content delivery network (CDN) to Intel SSDs with 3D NAND technology, and moved the most frequently used data to Intel Optane SSDs.

  • VK is deploying Intel PACs with Intel Arria 10 GX FPGAs to reduce storage requirements and provide faster image conversion using the FPGA-based, high-performance CTAccel image-processing accelerator to convert images on-the-fly from a stored, high-resolution master as they are requested by users. VK’s image storage strategy eliminates the need to store multiple versions of the same image at different resolutions and saves storage space.

VK reported that it was able to consolidate servers at a ratio of 2:1 using the new storage solution while supporting the continued data growth with storage of up to 0.408 PB in 1U servers and reducing power and cooling costs.2

A new, detailed case study with ample technical details titled “Reinventing Storage for Social Networks with Intel® Technology“ is now available for download on the Intel Web site. Click on the link to review this new case study and to download the PDF.


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Notices & Disclaimers

1 Data from https://vk.com/about

2 These results were reported to Intel by VK based on configurations that included the listed Intel components. Tests carried out by VK April-November 2019.


OLD CDN servers: 2 x Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2670 v2 or 2 x Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2680 v4, SATA SSDs, DRAM, 2 x 10 Gb/s Ethernet cards

NEW CDN servers: 2 x Intel® Xeon® Gold 6238R processors or 2 x Intel® Xeon® Gold 6230, Intel® Optane™ SSD DC P4800X SSDs, 6 x Intel® SSD D5-P4320, DRAM, SATA SSD, 2 x 25 Gb/s Intel® Ethernet Adapter XXV710-DA2. Software: cache_api, nginx, Automated Certificate Management Environment (ACME).

OLD rating counters servers: 2 x Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2680 v4, SATA SSD (boot device), DRAM, 2 x 10 Gb/s Ethernet cards

NEW rating counters servers: 2 x Intel® Xeon® Gold 6238R processors or 2 x Intel® Xeon® Gold 6230, 12 x Intel® Optane™ persistent memory, DRAM, SATA SSDs (boot device), 2 x 25 Gb/s Intel® Ethernet Adapter XXV710-DA2. Software: customized version of Memcached.

Microcode for Intel® Xeon® Gold 6230: 0x500002c

Microcode for Intel® Xeon® Gold 6238R: 0x0500002f 2


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