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May 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Forrester Survey

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Forrester surveyed 104 vendor and user …

Forrester surveyed 104 vendor and user
companies. Respondents were selected based
on their current use of x86 server virtualization
technology.


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  • 1. Making Leaders Successful Every Day March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 by Andrew Reichman for Infrastructure & Operations Professionals
  • 2. © 2011 Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Wave, RoleView, Technographics, TechRankings, and Total Economic ImpactaretrademarksofForresterResearch,Inc.Allothertrademarksarethepropertyoftheirrespectiveowners.Reproductionorsharingofthis content in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited. To purchase reprints of this document, please email clientsupport@ forrester.com. For additional reproduction and usage information, see Forrester’s Citation Policy located at www.forrester.com. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals Executive Summary Virtual server technology is a unifying technology in IT infrastructure around the world. As maturity increases, more critical production applications are being deployed virtually, raising the stakes for getting the architecture right. Storage remains a complicated aspect of virtual server deployments, with numerous technology and vendor choices to make. It’s important to remember that the benefits of server virtualization are dependent on each element of infrastructure that goes into the environment. Forrester updated its January 2009 survey on storage for virtual server environments. The results show continued trends toward consolidation and simplification and a shift from “just making it work” to streamlining operations. So what does all this mean? Infrastructure and operations professionals should re-evaluate vendor choices, single-source when possible, and explore alternative storage protocols — and NFS in particular — as cheaper, more efficient alternatives to Fibre Channel. table of Contents Virtual Server Environments Have Matured Significantly Dominant Vendors And Protocols Lead, But Alternatives Grow recommendations Virtualization Is A Critical And Growing App Environment: Optimize Around It NOTES & RESOURCES Forrester surveyed 104 vendor and user companies. Respondents were selected based on their current use of x86 server virtualization technology. Related Research Documents “Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments” January 15, 2009 March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 Single-Source Your Storage Vendor And Explore NFS As The Storage Protocol To Support Growing Virtual Server Environments by Andrew Reichman with Vanessa Alvarez, Robert Whiteley, and Eric Chi 2 6 8
  • 3. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction ProhibitedMarch 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 2 Virtual Server environments have matured significantly Several years ago, server virtualization was in an emerging phase, with user environments cutting their teeth on less critical applications and test-and-development environments. Their goal was to prove that the technology worked and demonstrate early savings with server consolation. The hopes of broad benefits had to wait for higher maturity and confidence. Today, however, server virtualization is much more mature, and infrastructure and operations (I&O) teams have a solid understanding of the best practices. I&O executives point to resource consolidation, configuration consistency, and data protection as the key benefits of server virtualization. Now I&O teams are looking to expand x86 server virtualization to increase the overall consistency of their application environments. As a result, we see that: · Server virtualization adoption continues to accelerate. Ninety-one percent of respondents report that they are using virtual server technology for production workloads, compared with just 78% last year (see Figure 1-1).1 This shows a continuing trend of virtual server technology adoption for more production applications and an increase in maturity from previous years when virtualization was confined to predominantly test-and-development uses. I&O managers confirm this and point to increasing use of server virtualization for more business-critical and performance-sensitive application environments. · Server virtualization is being used for more critical applications. While web and infrastructure applications top the list of applications running in virtual server environments, database and other more demanding apps show higher prevalence with decision-makers this year. Microsoft SQL went from 53% virtual deployments to 68%, and email went from 29% to 51% (see Figure 1-2). Even Oracle databases and applications appear to be on the rise in virtual deployments. These gains point to more willingness to put key OLTP applications in virtual server architectures. · VMware remains dominant, but alternatives have gained some traction. VMware has the highest adoption numbers among hypervisor technologies, with 93% of survey respondents saying they use it, but this is down from 98% two years ago (see Figure 1-3). With 17% of respondents currently using it, Citrix XenServer has moved up in the rankings to slightly outpace Microsoft as the second most used hypervisor. While these numbers continue to tell a story of VMware leading the industry, there are some cracks in its dominance. Microsoft and Citrix Systems are both improving their products rapidly, and Microsoft especially may be able to offer favorable pricing and bundling to gain further traction against VMware over the next year. · Managing storage for server virtualization is hard, especially relative to efficiency. Along with the increased use of server virtualization for more critical production applications, the management of the virtual server environments appears to have matured as well. However, conversations with Forrester customers indicate that storage maturity lags core server virtualization management tools and processes. When asked to rank their top three storage
  • 4. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 3 challenges in managing a virtual server environment, 53% of respondents pointed to effective capacity management, 39% named controlling cost, and only 30% named maintaining high performance, down from 49% in the previous survey (see Figure 2). This indicates a move from making the environment “good enough” for key applications to fine-tuning a mature and well- understood virtual server environment. Server virtualization requires orchestration of server, storage, and network components; and gains in virtualization require all of these to be well- oiled. Storage appears to be lagging, so more attention on increasing storage capabilities and efficiency makes sense for most server virtualization environments.
  • 5. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction ProhibitedMarch 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 4 Figure 1 VMware Still Leads The Hypervisor Market, But Alternatives Are Making Inroads Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 “At what phase of implementation is your deployment of virtual server technology?”1-1 “What applications do you run in your virtual server environment?”1-2 Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments In qualification testing process 3% In use for dev/ test workloads 6% In use for production/ application workloads 91% Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments (multiple responses accepted) Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey Other databases 9% Other applications 13% Data warehouse/ business intelligence 25% Oracle applications 32% Oracle database 33% Email 51% Content management applications 55% Other commercial off- the-shelf applications 56% In-house developed/ custom applications 63% Microsoft SQL Server 68% Infrastructure servers 80% Web servers or web application servers Other databases Other applications Data warehouse/ business intelligence Oracle applications Oracle database Email Content management applications Other commercial off- the-shelf applications In-house developed/ custom applications Microsoft SQL Server Infrastructure servers Web servers or web application servers87% 0% 6% 21% 15% 28% 29% 41% 65% 60% 53% 65% 81% 2010 2009
  • 6. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 5 Figure 1 VMware Still Leads The Hypervisor Market, But Alternatives Are Making Inroads (Cont.) Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 “Which virtual server technology do you have in your environment?”1-3 Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments (multiple responses accepted) Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey Linux 5% Open Source Xen 6% Other 12% Microsoft Virtual Server or Hyper V 16% Citrix XenServer 17% VMware ESX 93% Figure 2 Capacity Management Tops Storage Challenges In Virtual Server Environments Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 “Please rank your top three challenges related to storage for your virtual server environment.” Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments (multiple responses accepted) Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey Other 11 2 Deploying effective multipathing solutions 2 6 1 Performing effective application restores 4 7 3 Maintaining a high backup success rate 6 5 5 Provisioning storage 8 4 10 Deploying tiered storage solutions 5 8 9 Generating accurate and useful reports on the environment 3 11 11 Completing backups on time 14 5 10 Maintaining high performance 17 7 6 Controlling cost 10 9 20 Efficiently managing storage capacity 19 25 9 Ranked first Ranked second Ranked third
  • 7. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction ProhibitedMarch 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 6 dominant Vendors and protocols lead, but alternatives grow As virtualization is used for increasingly critical workloads, I&O managers need to do two things: 1) increase the overall system reliability, and 2) make conservative decisions on the storage infrastructure behind the server virtualization tools. Regarding the latter, the majority of storage managers continue to play it safe from the perspective of protocol and vendor selection. But as they continue to fine-tune the storage architecture for virtual server environments, storage managers are willing to consider some alternatives. We see that: · EMC continues to lead the vendor pack, but NetApp has made significant gains. With its leadership position in the storage market, and the ownership stake in VMware, it’s no surprise that EMC is the most commonly deployed storage vendor for virtual server environments (see Figure 3).2 However, NetApp has made significant strides in challenging the dominance of EMC. While NetApp was for years the dominant vendor for storage of files, its goal over the past several years has been to increase market share in application and server virtualization storage. We see that 38% of respondents use NetApp for their virtual server environments, up from 24% last year. · Firms predominantly choose a single storage vendor. Sixty-seven percent of respondents say that they use only one storage vendor for their virtual server environment (see Figure 4). Consistency and simplicity drive this decision, as does an application-centric approach to storage choices. Building a consistent storage environment for all virtual servers can reduce complexity and allow for data protection and services that are common and interchangeable across anything that runs in a common hypervisor, increasing the potential benefits of server virtualization in general. · FC continues to lead protocol selection, but NFS has gained ground. Fibre Channel (FC) is still the leader of the storage protocol pack, with 76% of respondents saying that they use FC to connect virtualization hosts to networked storage (see Figure 5). However, 37% of survey respondents say that they use NFS, up from 18% two years ago. iSCSI has stayed steady, allowing NFS to pull ahead as the clear No. 2 storage selection. Storage decision-makers often cite ease of use and cost savings as main drivers for interest in NFS, so this fits with the cost-efficiency goals I&O teams are targeting. Forrester expects NFS adoption for application networking, and especially virtual servers, to continue to increase over the next several years.
  • 8. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 7 Figure 3 EMC Is The Leading Storage Vendor In The Survey, But NetApp Is Gaining Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments (multiple responses accepted) Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey *Bars represent a company acquired by a larger storage vendor. Compellent 0% Pillar 2% Xiotech 2% 3par 2% Other 3% Dell/EqualLogic* 3%4%* Hitachi 14% HP/Lefthand* 18% 6%* IBM/XIV* 15% 7%* NetApp 38% EMC 44% “Which vendors supplied the networked storage used for your virtual server environment?” Figure 4 Most Firms Choose A Single Storage Vendor For Their Server Virtualization Environments Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 “How many vendors supplied the networked storage for your virtual environment?” Base: 104 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey One 67% Two 23% Three or more 10%
  • 9. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction ProhibitedMarch 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 8 Figure 5 Fibre Channel Still Reigns, But NFS Has Surpassed iSCSI For The No. 2 Storage Choice Source: Forrester Research, Inc.57695 “Which protocols do you use for networking virtual server hosts to the SAN?” Base: 91 vendor and user companies that currently use virtualization technology in the x86 server environments (multiple responses accepted) Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey DAS 4%4% FCoEiSCSI 23% NFS 36% FC 76% R ecomme n d a t io n s Virtualization is a critical and growing app environment: Optimize around it Server virtualization consolidates and makes consistent multiple disparate applications. What was once run on separate physical servers with different tools and processes can now be tied together in a common environment, with application monitoring, provisioning, and data protection deployed commonly for all the apps that fall under the jurisdiction of the hypervisor. Recognizing that this force for consistency is a good thing, I&O professionals should build infrastructure around the virtualization environment, making server, storage, and data protection key priorities for the long-term benefits of virtualization. There are three storage elements you should consider: · Choose a single vendor for the storage that supports virtual servers. It’s clear that most environments are treating virtual servers as a common class of applications, with consistent infrastructure treatment across the technology environment. Embrace this consistency and eliminate unnecessary complexity. Define requirements for the gear that will store data for your virtual servers, and consolidate on a single solution whenever possible. It may take a refresh cycle to move toward the desired single-solution environment, but it’s worth it to do the planning to get there. · Prioritize data protection as you increase production workloads. One of the benefits of server virtualization is the ability to deploy consistent data protection schemes across a wide variety of applications and operating systems, and the value of this only increases as more critical apps are virtualized. Take the time to think about back-up, restoration, and business continuity issues for the applications within the virtual environment. Build out two or three levels of protection that accommodate the majority of use cases, and keep each virtual machine protected within one of the standard deployment models.
  • 10. © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited March 15, 2011 | Updated: May 31, 2011 Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, Q1 2011 For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals 9 · Consider NFS or iSCSI as an alternative to Fibre Channel for virtual workloads. The adoption numbers for NFS are steadily increasing as more vendors support the file protocol and more storage managers want the simplicity, self-service capabilities for app admins, and the cost advantages of standard Ethernet. Don’t pick FC just because it’s what you’ve used for other applications. Most virtualization workloads are well suited to NFS or iSCSI, and you’re likely to get more than adequate performance from one of these simpler, cheaper options. Endnotes 1 Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey. Forrester surveyed 104 vendor and user companies; all respondents indicated that they currently used virtualization technology in their x86 server environments. 2 Source: September 2010 Global Virtual Server Environments Online Survey. Forrester surveyed 104 vendor and user companies; all respondents indicated that they currently used virtualization technology in their x86 server environments.
  • 11. Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward- thinking advice to global leaders in business and technology. Forrester works with professionals in 19 key roles at major companies providing proprietary research, customer insight, consulting, events, and peer-to-peer executive programs. For more than 27 years, Forrester has been making IT, marketing, and technology industry leaders successful every day. For more information, visit www.forrester.com. Headquarters Forrester Research, Inc. 400 Technology Square Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Tel: +1 617.613.6000 Fax: +1 617.613.5000 Email: forrester@forrester.com Nasdaq symbol: FORR www.forrester.com M a k i n g L e a d e r s S u c c e s s f u l E v e r y D a y 57695 For information on hard-copy or electronic reprints, please contact Client Support at +1 866.367.7378, +1 617.613.5730, or clientsupport@forrester.com. We offer quantity discounts and special pricing for academic and nonprofit institutions. For a complete list of worldwide locations visit www.forrester.com/about. Research and Sales Offices Forrester has research centers and sales offices in more than 27 cities internationally, including Amsterdam; Cambridge, Mass.; Dallas; Dubai; Foster City, Calif.; Frankfurt; London; Madrid; Sydney; Tel Aviv; and Toronto.