If you are wanting to build out your XenServer, VMware ESX Server, Citrix Provisioning Server, VDI solution, what would be the biggest piece of infrastructure to make sure is in place? Storage. I want to share with you the strategic partner that I use: Compellent.
The storage industry is packed full of competitors and is only getting more stuffed as the years go on. We have the big players like HP, IBM, EMC. Other players include NetApp, LeftHand, Equallogic, Pillar, 3Par, and the list goes on and on and on. I'm going to talk about a company you have probably haven't heard a lot about; Compellent. I've known about Compellent for a few years now and I really like what I see in the technology they bring to the dance and some of the great things that they do from an "open architecture" perspective.
It's pretty much always been the case that storage manufacturers had not been able to remove the cost and complexity of providing quality scalable and flexible storage solutions. Data centers were faced with constantly changing requirements, incompatibilities of new technologies, dealing with scheduled/unscheduled downtime that negatively impacted business, increasing staff to accommodate larger and more complex configurations, performance issues, and trying to provide efficient disaster recovery solutions and procedures. The resultant "pain" was caused by having to sacrifice a smooth-running, cost-effective operation for one that "met some of the requirements, some of the time, with ever increasing costs"
One of the reasons why was that it seemed that most of these issues were the result of older, less-flexible hardware, software and management architectures still implemented in newer products. Here is where the folks at Compellent listened to customers and administrators to create a new generation of network storage that was based upon the latest hardware innovations and open architectures, negating the burdens of legacy systems.
What I like about Compellent is that now you have the ability to scale a single system from small to large within a single box, with unlimited growth potential. You can mix or match and add any number of types and sizes of disk drives, controllers, and enclosures. You can design the speed and bandwidth the business requires, giving you control of the performance levels desired, what else could you ask for?
Now let's talk about other challenges that some of my clients have had in the past; old, unused data. This is huge based upon the percentage of data being stored year-over-year. Most of my clients had data still sitting on fast, expensive disc. One of the great things about Compellent's solution is that automatic data progression in built in. Next question, "what is automatic data progression?"
It is the industry‘s only "Automated Tiered Storage" solution that moves data between storage tiers at the block-level. My clients are able to easily and automatically move inactive data within volumes and even within files to lower cost tiers of storage. Storage Center also automatically moves blocks of data back up to higher performance tiers when users start requesting those blocks. All of the data movement is automatic based on actual usage (leveraging Compellent‘s Dynamic Block Architecture). My clients can set policies by volume through Storage Center‘s simple user interface and can change allocation at any time. This is one very killer feature not to mention a HUGE time saver. Now I'm really going to blow your mind.... there is one more key feature within Automated Tiered Storage that no one else does.
Storage Center has more granular tiers than just drive types. The tiers are sub-divided by RAID type, as well. For instance, Storage Center can migrate data from 10,000RPM FC RAID 10 to 10,000RPM FC RAID 5. So, even without migrating to another disk type, my clients save money (without impacting performance) because storing data on RAID 5 is much less expensive than RAID 10 (due to RAID overhead). The reason that performance isn‘t impacted is that read performance from a RAID 10 volume versus a RAID 5 volume is identical in normal operation. AWESOME!!!! Ok, now another mind-blowing feature that was just released with the lastest revision of software. On-disc ILM!!!! Of course now you are asking what the heck is that? Let me 'splain it to you Lucy. The feature is called "Fast Track" and as blocks become used over time, they move out to a faster performing track on the drive. This happens automatically on a daily basis without manual intervention. By continually optimizing data placement on each disk, the combination of Fast Track and Data Progression boosts the performance of every drive and reduces the total number of drives required by up to 30 percent. SO AWESOME!!!!!
One last fun piece of technology. Thin Provisioning. Now here is where some of the other storage partners we have are starting to catch up, although they are having to redo their software and architecture to accomplish this. Pillar and 3Par are starting to gray the lines a little here, but Compellent still leads the way. Ok, so what is "thin provisioning"? Compellent‘s version of thin provisioning, called Dynamic Capacity, does not allocate blocks of disk space to volumes until data is written by the server. Our Compellent clients love this feature because they save considerable amounts of money on disk storage costs.
Ok, I've shared with you one of the best solutions I've come across in a while. Check out the latest demo so you can see for yourself.