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Exploit Storage Beyond the Central Disk Array

Move capacity, performance, and management out of the box to meet modern storage challenges.


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  • Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.
  • Stewart McKelvey

Your Challenge

  • Increasing performance, capacity, and resiliency demands on storage lead to more disk drive purchases. Many small to mid-sized organizations simply purchase additional shelves or trays of disk or solid state drives (SSDs) to improve capacity, performance, and redundancy in addressing modern storage requirements. However, this is a cost prohibitive solution to a growing problem.
  • Look beyond the array to meet new challenges. Growing VDI implementations, demand for greater flexibility for virtualization, and increasing unstructured data growth are breaking cost models of traditional storage, leading organizations to search for alternative ways of addressing these problems.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Shared networked storage is still necessary. It is a key cog in virtualization, VDI initiatives, and file storage. However, many technologies have surfaced that enable these initiatives to be equally (or more) successful with less storage than traditionally prescribed. This saves IT significant time, money, and resources.
  • VDI continues to be a hot infrastructure trend. The cost of shared networked storage to provision large numbers of virtual desktops is a major challenge. Moving desktops from distributed PCs to server hosted virtual machines means that storage goes from cheap distributed disks to more expensive consolidated server storage.
  • Server virtualization has moved into the mainstream. As the technology has matured, the majority have moved production workloads onto virtual servers, connected to proprietary storage arrays. Most small to mid-sized enterprises do not have the required resources to properly assess current and future requirements, making sizing up storage a stumbling block for deployment.
  • Data growth has exploded, and Info-Tech predicts that the growth of unstructured data (and thus personal files) will grow between twenty and thirty times what it is today by 2020. This drastically increases the frequency at which IT must reinvest time, money, and resources into purchasing, implementing, and managing Network Attached Storage (NAS) arrays.

Impact and Result

  • New VDI optimization methods like purpose-built VDI appliances (e.g. Pivot3), memory caching (e.g. Atlantis), and I/O sequencing (e.g. Virsto) drastically reduce storage capacity by 90% and increase IOPS performance by 10 times. These technologies make VDI projects more successful than before, since they solve the traditional roadblock of attaining cheap IOPS per dollar.
  • Storage virtualization using storage hypervisors (e.g. DataCore SANsymphony-V), virtualized storage arrays (e.g. HP P4000 VSA), and hypervisor-based appliances (e.g. VMware vSphere Storage Appliance) abstract storage management off the array. This enables deployment of advanced storage and virtualization features on commodity servers, and allows larger organizations to deploy lower-cost or repurposed storage, minimizing vendor lock-in, while maintaining resiliency and performance features.
  • File sharing services like, VMware’s Project Octopus, and Citrix’s ShareFile allow organizations to deploy their files and folders to the public Cloud. These services act as a secure file repository and takes stress off NAS. Small to mid-sized organizations should explore file sharing services to combat the explosive growth of personal files, while improving accessibility for end users.

Research & Tools

1. Understand how technologies outside the array can help to meet modern storage trends and challenges

Lower total cost and achieve the same results.

2. Be prepared when evaluating VDI optimization vendors

Ensure vendors meet capacity and performance requirements along with setup needs.

3. Be prepared when evaluating storage virtualization vendors

Ensure vendors meet capacity and performance requirements along with setup needs.

4. Be prepared when evaluating file sharing service vendors

Ensure vendors meet file accessibility, capacity, and support needs.

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Search Code: 56127
Published: August 21, 2012
Last Revised: August 21, 2012