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NexGen Storage 2013 Predictions: Storage Performance for Virtualized Workloads that is Easy, Efficient and Guaranteed

VMblog Predictions

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by John Spiers, NexGen Storage, founder and CEO

2013 Predictions: Storage Performance for Virtualized Workloads that is Easy, Efficient and Guaranteed

2012 was a big year for solid state and the performance it enables. 2013 will take performance to the next level with storage solutions that can manage mixed workload performance easily, dynamically and efficiently. Most IT professionals have successfully rolled our their first production deployment of virtualization and are now looking to increase VM density, optimize their deployment and start virtualizing those stranded applications that tend to be mission critical or I/O intensive. Many are also looking to roll out their first VDI implementation. The biggest impediment for IT professionals to take these next steps is often the complexity in deploying the right shared storage solution and configuring it to meet the required performance and service levels.

Any virtual desktop that uses excessive I/O can affect not only its own performance but the performance and responsiveness of others. For example, creating a large file on one virtual desktop can slowdown other virtual desktops and, in the worst cases, cause application crashes and data loss. Also, when many users try to access the shared storage at the same time, such as at the beginning of a work shift, the load may exceed the storage system's throughput capability, causing an I/O storm or boot storm, with degraded performance and very slow application loading.

This combination of truly shared storage and constant IOPS demand leads to complex storage network design, scaling limitations, controller saturation and overall poor performance. It also leads to complex work-arounds in order to overcome these issues. SAN vendors have tried bolting on solid state disk via cache or tier to accelerate active data, providing extremely high performance network bandwidth that goes mostly un-utilized or implementing scale-out storage systems that consume data center floor space and shift poor processor utilization to the storage system instead of the compute infrastructure.

What's needed as organizations move forward in 2013 is a shared storage system that has the intelligence to dynamically tier data and load balance the SAN resources to meet the required I/O performance for all VMs simultaneously. This is often referred to as Storage QoS. Today, IT professionals have to constantly monitor and tune their NAS or SAN storage systems and often over-buy disk to accommodate performance spikes. Tiering solutions in the market today are "after-the-fact", which means that all the data on the system is scanned and hot blocks are moved to faster storage at some time in the future. The big question is where was the data when it became hot?  What was identified as being hot during the last scan and migrated may not be the same data that is hot today. 

In 2013, storage administrators will require deterministic storage performance for all their applications and the ability to have data automatically tiered to hit a predefined performance policy. Once a policy is set, the system would automatically load balance the SAN resources, determine what data is cached in RAM, on Solid State or striped across disks automatically and ensure that all VMs receive the required performance at the exact time they need it. In degraded mode the system prioritizes SAN resources based on pre-determined service levels and mission critical applications always get the performance they require, even in degraded mode. This new capability is often referred to as Storage QoS and was pioneered by NexGen Storage.  2013 will raise the bar on performance capabilities and the ability to guarantee performance across multiple workloads within shared storage environments will become table stakes.

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About the Author

John Spiers is the CEO and founder of NexGen Storage.

John has been pioneering break-through storage system innovations for over 25 years, including his role as founder and CTO at LeftHand Networks. LeftHand was sold to HP in 2008. Prior to founding LeftHand, John was director of software engineering at Maxtor Corporation’s Network Systems Group.  John holds three storage patents and was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist in 2005 and 2006.  He was selected by the Boulder Chamber of Commerce for the Esprit Entrepreneur of Distinction award in 2006. John holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University.

Published Friday, January 04, 2013 1:26 PM by David Marshall
Comments
VMblog.com - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 15, 2013 6:59 AM

First, I'd like to personally thank everyone for being a valued member and reader of VMblog! Once again, with the help of each of you, VMblog has been able to remain one of the oldest and most successful virtualization and cloud news sites on the Web

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