by Hu Yoshida on Mar 12, 2012
The choice of a storage system can have a major impact on the efficiency of an application.
There are storage features that can enable applications to run faster and use less CPU and memory; they go beyond the performance features of faster buses, cache, and drives. These features require communication with the application, which enables them to offload work from the application to storage.
A good example is the support of APIs for VMware. These APIs—known as VAAI—free virtual machines from being locked out during a SCSI reserve. It relieves the VM server of formatting a new VM disk, and offloads the work of moving a VM disk from one server to another for VMotion (or site recovery by offloading that work to a storage system that supports VAAI).
There are also features which enable a storage system to recover the disk space when a file is deleted so that the space can be reused. Without this feature, a file system could run out of allocated space when it fills up with deleted files.
The magnitude of these efficiencies can be significant. A customer of ours recently installed VSP in a large VMware deployment, and saw the following results with VAAI support:
- 300-400% improvement in provisioning time for VMs
- 80% reduction in SCSI reservation issues
- 20% reduction in CPU and memory utilization
- 40% reduction in allocated but unused capacity
These results were achieved by installing VSP in front of an existing modular storage systems, which the company had purchased in the past year and had three more years left to depreciate.
There are an increasing number of applications from Microsoft, Symantec, SAP, and Oracle that are offloading application workload to the storage so that they can scale and be more efficient. This requires the storage system to be more intelligent to support communication with the application through APIs, plugins, adapters, and client /providers.
If you are shopping for a storage system, check to see how it supports application efficiency. If it doesn’t support these efficiencies, you can select VSP, or virtualize it behind VSP. If you already have storage systems that don’t have these features, you don’t need to rip and replace them or wait until you depreciate them. With VSP, you can virtualize and enjoy these application efficiencies immediately.
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For other posts on maximizing storage and capacity efficiencies, check these out: http://blogs.hds.com/capacity-efficiency.php