Calculating Storage Requirements Impact of Solid State Drives, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing Contents 	    Get Ready...
Return to top                            As an IT professional holding that responsibility, must plan carefully for growth...
Return to top                                                              SSD and Storage Requirements: It’s All About Ti...
Return to top    >>	 Because virtualization im-                          According to a 2009 VMware survey of SMB leaders,...
Return to top                            taken this step and reduced server footprint, improved performance and utilizatio...
Return to top                                                                as three times the IOPS of a comparably sized...
Return to top                            Dell and VMware can help you chart a steady and careful course toward a cloud inf...
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Calculating Storage Requirements: Impact of Solid State Drives, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing


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"Small to midsize businesses (SMB) face daunting challenges when it comes to IT. Like their much larger enterprise counterparts, SMBs rely on their IT infrastructure to deliver reliable services to the business. To many, IT is the life’s blood of the business — the services delivered include
mission-critical applications without which the business would quickly grind to a halt."

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Calculating Storage Requirements: Impact of Solid State Drives, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing

  1. 1. Calculating Storage Requirements Impact of Solid State Drives, Virtualization, and Cloud Computing Contents Get Ready: Change Is Coming to Your Server Room. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Boost Performance with Solid State Drives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 SSD and Storage Requirements: It’s All About Tiers and IOPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Take the Next Step with Virtualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Walk Carefully to the Cloud. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Dell and VMware Can Help. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Support for SSDs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Gain Better Virtualization Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Build a Cloud Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Learn More Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Brought to you compliments of: Get Ready: Change Is Coming to Your Server Room Small to midsize businesses (SMB) face daunting challenges when it comes to IT. Like their much larger enterprise counterparts, SMBs rely on their IT infrastructure to deliver reliable services to the business. To many, IT is the life’s blood of the business — the services delivered include mission-critical applications without which the business would quickly grind to a halt. And yet the margin of error is smaller. SMBs have neither a multimillion dollar IT budget nor a small army of network engineers and IT administrators to resolve problems and implement new technologies. Sometimes the IT staff is just one person with a key to the server room, and it is that person’s job to keep things running smoothly and to make decisions about new technologies.©2011 Dell and VMware
  2. 2. Return to top As an IT professional holding that responsibility, must plan carefully for growth and future needs. Important questions you might ask yourself include, how much growth do we anticipate in the next two years? How can we best take advantage of virtualization? How will our storage and computing needs change over the next 12 to 24 months? It is never easy to predict future needs, but in SMBs, the exercise is crucial. Three important technologies will soon impact (or already are) those predictions and the way you do things in the server room: solid state drives (SSDs), virtualization, and cloud computing. These technologies have direct and dramatic influence on storage requirements and infrastructure. • Solid state drives (SSDs) can deliver enormous performance gains and as prices fall, SSDs become more attractive to SMBs. This technology will affect how you calculate storage requirements and structure tiering. • Virtualization has matured and is ready to support SMBs. Most organizations use it to some degree, and for many SMBs, a high availability and disaster recovery (HA/DR) solution is the next step. If your growth plans include scaled out virtualization, you must recalculate requirements to account for increased pressure on storage. • Several vendors offer mature cloud services and SMBs are beginning to take advantage of them. The potential cost savings make this technology difficult to ignore and it can have a large impact on your storage infrastructure needs. You should plan now to take advantage of these technologies, which, if not already in your server room, are certainly on their way. This paper will help you think through the impact of SSD, virtualization, and cloud computing on your storage planning and needs. Boost Performance with Solid State Drives Open the cover of a server or storage array in your server room and you will most likely see traditional hard disk drives, sometimes called spindles. As mature and reliable technology, these spinning disks have served businesses well for decades. But as other technologies increase net- work speed and powerful servers grow hungrier for more data, spindles can create performance bottlenecks no matter how fast they spin. Many look to SSDs as the remedy to these bottlenecks. SSDs are just what the name suggests — disk drives with no moving parts. SSDs are tantalizing because of the dramatic performance benefits they can bring, such as delivering I/O operations per second (IOPS) numbers that are much greater than what is possible with traditional disks. SSDs are not new technology, but as their prices fall, their potential to impact your server room will increase because they will become increasingly attractive. In short, SSDs are coming to server rooms in SMBs worldwide, and it might be time to seriously consider SSDs as part of your storage infrastructure. However, the smart IT professional considers not only the initial acquisition cost and cost per gigabyte (GB) of space, but also the cost per IOPS. That is where SSDs shine and that is the more useful measurement of value because it speaks to what really matters to users and storage-intensive applications — performance and speed. In addition, SSDs can help reduce operating expenses despite their high initial cost. Because they consume less power and generate less heat than traditional disks, they can help reduce overall power and cooling costs.2 ©2011 Dell and VMware
  3. 3. Return to top SSD and Storage Requirements: It’s All About Tiers and IOPS As you plan to take advantage of this increasingly affordable technology, your primary consid- eration should be data tiering, not storage space. After all, 10 GB of data requires the same amount of space whether on a spinning disk or SSD. Yes, the cost per GB of space is certainly different between the two media, but when you include tiering in the equation, you will see that the cost per GB difference is mitigated by other gains. What Is Tiering? Tiering is the practice of placing different types of data on different types of media. Administrators can place in-demand data on their fastest media while relegating old or infrequently used data to low-cost drives or tape. Tiering helps ensure that high-priority data gets to its destination quickly and also helps keep costs in control. For example, if an organization needs more raw space for old data, where cost is more important than performance, administrators can simply add one or more low-cost SATA drives. Intelligent tiering is the ability of a storage array to automatically prioritize data and move it to the appropriate media. Software observes the flow of data on the array and moves in-demand data to fast drives. Data that is not in demand remains on lower-cost drives. When used with arrays and software that support automated tiering, SSDs can have real cost advantages despite their higher initial cost. In well-designed tiered storage architecture, SSDs are used to maximize IOPS, not merely to add disk space. High-priority data can be placed on high-performing SSDs, and lower-priority data can be moved to low-cost drives. This approach means that administrators can purchase fewer disks because existing space is used more efficiently while that in-demand data gets the system resources it needs to fuel the applications and services that your business relies on. Your short-term and long-term storage projections should include SSD as part of your strategy. The initial cost can appear daunting — though prices are falling — but the investment can provide impressive returns in greater storage efficiency and improved performance. Take the Next Step with Virtualization While once the domain of large enterprises, virtualization is now in use across industries in organizations of all sizes — and no wonder. Virtualization helps cut costs through better utilization and reduced energy use and improves IT flexibility so that businesses can respond quickly to changing needs and workloads. Because of these and other potential benefits, many SMBs1 have already implemented some form of server virtualization and many more have plans to expand their use of the technology, especially in the areas of high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR). As organizations modernize, they increasingly rely on the IT infrastructure to keep business running as usual because data loss or down time can have severe and immediate impact. For example, see a summary of virtualization survey results at “Survey: Virtualization Takes Off, Cloud Computing on the Rise.” Available at Virtualization/Survey-Virtualization-Takes-Off-Cloud-Computing-on-the-Rise/.3 ©2011 Dell and VMware
  4. 4. Return to top >> Because virtualization im- According to a 2009 VMware survey of SMB leaders, one in three SMBs experienced a significant proves application availability outage in the preceding two years because of an emergency such as a fire, flood, earthquake, and data protection and can hurricane or tornado — or even for more mundane causes such as a power outage, server crash, dramatically shorten disaster or storage or cooling failure. Those outages were not merely inconvenient. The survey found that recovery time, a “hidden more than one in five SMBs lost critical business data as a result, and of those, 62 percent lost benefit” of virtualization is sales or customers. improved business continuity preparedness. In fact, 67 percent Considering this risk and the importance of business data, SMBs can no longer afford to think of of SMBs report notable improve- HA and DR as solutions reserved for large enterprise infrastructures. Traditionally, comprehensive ments in business continuity HA and DR plans required significant investments in additional hardware, software, management, preparedness as a result of and configuration time. These costs put physical solutions beyond the reach of many SMBs. Even adopting virtualization.2 so, HA and DR are indispensable parts of an overall growth plan, and virtualization brings them within reach for businesses of all sizes. Virtualization can greatly reduce the complexity and costs required for a thorough HA and DR solution. For example, virtualization capabilities such as VMware® vMotion™ enable you to easily move VMs, workloads, and data to available network resources. In addition, mature virtualization management tools can perform this migration automatically, improving uptime and availability for both individual applications and the network as a whole. Virtualization also simplifies disaster recovery. Because VMs are hardware agnostic, any underutilized server can become a recovery target for VMs that need protection. Additionally, because VMs comprise a few encapsulated files, you can reduce the complex, multi-step recovery process to a single-step file recovery which you can restore to any hardware. While planning a virtualization-centric HA and DR approach, do not overlook the storage component. You will need a reliable storage solution that works seamlessly with the migration and failover capabilities of VMs and virtualization management tools. With virtualization and modern iSCSI arrays, you can create highly flexible pools of storage with automated replication tools that complement the HA and DR capabilities of the virtualization software. In this equation, raw storage capacity is secondary in importance to how well the array plays in a virtualized environment. You should plan for a high-speed storage solution that is virtualization aware and flexible, with management capabilities that simplify the task of data replication and recovery. Walk Carefully to the Cloud Cloud computing — the use of pooled resources to offer on-demand, self-managed virtual infrastructure, consumed as a service — is set to transform the way IT professionals do their jobs. Many organizations, including SMBs, are working toward a cloud strategy that will allow them to deliver IT as a service. If your business uses virtualization or has plans to expand it, you have taken the first steps on that journey to the cloud. But the rest of the journey should be a thoughtful walk, not a sprint. Even if your organization’s end goal is not to fully outsource your IT infrastructure to a public cloud or to build an on-premise private cloud infrastructure, you can take steps toward the cloud and realize tangible benefits along the way. That process begins when you streamline your IT production capabilities by consolidating servers and using virtualization to increase IT efficiency in the server room. Many SMBs have already The Benefits of Virtualization for Small and Medium Businesses: VMware SMB Survey Results.24 ©2011 Dell and VMware
  5. 5. Return to top taken this step and reduced server footprint, improved performance and utilization, and lowered energy consumption. The next stage expands virtualization beyond the server room to maximize business production. This stage begins when you virtualize the most obvious business applications, such as your database server or email and Web servers, and it culminates with the migration of mission-critical applications to VMs and the implementation of HA and DR plans. This stage brings flexible resource management, near-native performance for virtualized applications, and improved reliability to your infrastructure. Next, businesses that intend to continue the journey and create a private cloud deploy manage- ment tools that deliver a high degree of insight and automation to the virtualized infrastructure. These are often complemented by self-service tools that allow users or departments to request and provision their own VMs. Other organizations take advantage of public cloud offerings as they hope for rapid cost savings. Organizations are understandably eager to reap the promised cloud rewards of greater efficiency and agility, and off-premises cloud-based storage can seem like an attractive first step. Before taking the leap, however, SMBs must consider the following: • Cloud security: Because public clouds — including cloud storage services — are often multitenant environments where many customers share pooled resources, not all applica- tions are good candidates for public cloud deployments. In fact, some industries might never make the switch. Businesses with highly sensitive data are often more comfortable with a private cloud. • Control: While it is true that raw capacity is inexpensive and readily available with cloud-based storage, the value of storage is much more than just its cost per GB. Compared to off-premises storage offerings, a virtualized iSCSI SAN in your own server room gives you greater control over storage configuration. You can add capacity yourself, use SSDs strategically to optimize performance, or adjust tiering strategy as your business grows and data changes. SMBs can realize many of the advantages of cloud computing but without the risk and uncertainty of moving their infrastructure to a public cloud — a step they might be some years away from taking. As you plan your storage needs for the future, make sure you consider your company’s cloud strategy and carefully weigh the tradeoffs of outsourcing your storage to a service provider. Dell and VMware Can Help While challenges associated with storage management can seem daunting, Dell and VMware can help. Dell and VMware solutions can assist SMBs as they take advantage of these technologies and re-assess their storage needs. SMBs that are looking to cost effectively realize the benefits of SSDs, expanded virtualization, and cloud computing can take advantage of these technologies when they deploy next-generation Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays and VMware vSphere. Support for SSDs Select Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays offer SSD options that bring affordable enterprise-grade storage performance to SMBs. For example, the EqualLogic PS6000S series can deliver as much5 ©2011 Dell and VMware
  6. 6. Return to top as three times the IOPS of a comparably sized array running 15k-RPM SAS hard disks. This low-latency performance and a flexible architecture that simplifies scaling make the PS6000S a good fit for storage-intensive workloads. In addition, EqualLogic PS Series arrays are based on a virtualized, modular storage architecture that enables IT managers to purchase only the storage they need, when they need it — preventing both underutilization and overprovisioning. Gain Better Virtualization Performance SMBs that are ready to expand their use of virtualization should assess the readiness of their current storage infrastructure to work in a virtualized environment. Networked storage is an essential component of an expanded virtualization strategy, especially when that strategy includes HA and DR plans. However not all storage is created equal — especially in VMware environments. Dell and VMware work together to provide integrated solutions that help businesses of all sizes maximize the effectiveness of their server and storage virtualization efforts. For example, Dell EqualLogic PS Series iSCSI arrays leverage VMware vStorage APIs to help provide better storage performance in VMware environments. These APIs are part of an ongoing VMware technology initiative that provides new enhancements for intelligent SAN integration with vSphere. When you combine EqualLogic arrays with a VMware infrastructure, vStorage integration lets you take advantage of technologies once accessible only to very large enterprises, such as: • Storage virtualization: Dell EqualLogic iSCSI SAN arrays virtualize the entire SAN to simplify management and optimize utilization of all storage resources. Data volumes are automatically provisioned from a single, virtual pool of storage that leverages all storage resources within the SAN. • Integrated HA and DR capabilities: Each EqualLogic array includes data protection tools — including snapshots, clones, replication, and online migration — that integrate with vSphere’s Data Recovery and Snapshot functionality to deliver fast, online protection of VMware virtual machines and VMFS file systems.3 Furthermore, Dell and VMware services can help you assess your environment and identify ways to increase your use of virtualization for greater efficiency and cost savings. For example, a Remote Virtualization Readiness Assessment from Dell can help you quickly identify consolidation opportunities and gives recommendations for a virtualization strategy designed to maximize performance and efficiency in your environment. You will receive fast, accurate, and benchmarked assessment with full ROI and TCO analyses and recommendations for implementation based on VMware software. And Dell technical teams will follow up after the assessment to ensure you fully understand the assessment findings and the recommended solutions. Build a Cloud Foundation SMBs are perhaps more eager than their larger counterparts to realize the benefits of cloud computing. However, this eagerness cannot lead to hurried decisions that limit your choices. While conventional file systems allow only one server to have read-write access to the same file at a given time, VMware vStorage VMFS is a cluster file system that leverages shared3 storage to allow multiple vSphere hosts to read and write to the same storage, concurrently. This capability greatly simplifies VM provisioning and administration by efficiently storing the entire virtual machine state in a central location.6 ©2011 Dell and VMware
  7. 7. Return to top Dell and VMware can help you chart a steady and careful course toward a cloud infrastructure — a course that protects your data and applications while keeping you in control. When you deploy solutions from Dell and VMware, you can progress toward the cloud at your own pace in a way that is aligned with your business needs and your approach to IT. This approach is incremental, not a sudden change, and allows you to use your existing investment in IT resources while you build the foundation to securely use both on-premise and off-premise resources based on what makes sense for your organization. Learn More Today Among many others, three important technologies are impacting the way SMBs do things in the server room. This paper discussed how solid state drives (SSDs), virtualization, and cloud computing affect your storage needs and how they will impact future storage planning. Dell and VMware can help you create a plan to take advantage of these technologies in a systematic and cost-effective way. Call your Dell representative to learn about the Dell Virtualization Readiness Assessment and visit to learn more about how to put Dell and VMware solutions to work in your server room.7 ©2011 Dell and VMware