The marriage of Storage Area Networks (SANs) and virtual machines is a match made in heaven. The entire idea of a SAN is to reduce unnecessary resource usage on production systems and to streamline storage so that it’s more easily accessible. Virtual machines take the entire concept one step further, adding the benefits of maximizing hardware resources and the capability to add servers without taking up additional space.
File fragmentation—since the origin of modern computing is a prime drain on system performance—has substantial effects on both technologies. In the case of SAN, gains made with network technology and drive speeds are totally dependent on the state of the files on the disk. If those files are fragmented, data being read and written will be slowed to the degree of the fragmentation, affecting all users and applications waiting for that data. The entire purpose of a SAN is defeated. Even performance measures such as thin provisioning are crippled: in a fragmented environment, drive space is wasted.
Virtual environments also suffer their own brand of trouble from fragmentation, due to the fact that a virtual environment has added steps to data storage and retrieval. When a file request occurs on a virtual server, the I/O request is relayed, at the least, from the guest system to the host system—which means multiple requests are occurring for each file request. When fragmentation is present, there are multiple I/O requests for each fragment, creating an enormous amount of unnecessary overhead on disk subsystems.
Robust technical challenges require robust solutions and Diskeeper Corporation’s V-locity virtual platform disk optimizer—developed for VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms—is designed specifically to relieve IT personnel from dealing with complex fragmentation scenarios in virtual environments.
“V-locity software is absolutely transparent on our virtual SAN systems; it just works,” said Richard Webb of Sustainable Evolution, Inc. of Lynnwood, Washington.
V-locity utilizes Diskeeper Corporation’s proprietary IntelliWrite fragmentation prevention technology, which makes it possible to prevent 85 percent of fragmentation before it ever happens. Fragmentation is addressed at both the host and virtual machine levels—so that performance is maximized all across the virtual platform. V-locity also has InvisiTasking technology, which means that only otherwise idle resources are utilized in addressing fragmentation and handling other tasks associated with VMs.
“The V-locity product really takes care of the fragmentation on the host and VMs automatically, without the need of manual intersession or overhead of creating scripts and jobs,” Webb said. “The central reporting and configuration management really facilitates ease of management and metric transparency.”
When combining two of today’s most beneficial innovations—SAN and virtual machines—make sure fragmentation is completely addressed with V-locity.