So I have been a proponent of small storage players for quite a few years. The main reason isn’t really the cost, but more so the simplicity these niche players provide in their storage solutions. Most environments I see rarely benefit from all of the features “Big Data” vendors offer. Now I am not saying there isn’t a fit for “Big Data” still. I am just trying to open your eyes to see that “Big Data” has you fooled. The days are gone with the racks of spinning drives to obtain performance. Deduplication, snapshots, and replication are great features of any storage system. But does it need to be so complicated you need a EMC, NetApp, or HP engineer to manage it? I would most certainly say no.
When I received my support renewal quote for our barely 3 year old EMC array I figured it would be reasonable. Wrong.. It was actually more than what a new system would cost. This has been the case not just with EMC but NetApp and HP as well. Of course they offered a newer product for slightly more than the support renewal. Why wouldn’t they? So I took a step back and looked at what the business actually needed in a storage system. I have determined that there really are only a handful of needs when it comes to storage for your Virtualization project. Below are my findings.
Performance: This is easy to achieve with Flash/SSD technology. No need for a bunch of spinning drives to get performance in scale.
Deduplication: Old news.. Most storage systems have deduplication included.
Replication: Again Old news, but pick your posion. All replication methods are not equal. I use Third-Party tools like Veeam as they are usually more powerful.
Capacity: If you achieve performance from Flash/SSD why do you need fast 15K drives? Load up on the 3TB or larger drives to beef up your pool.
ISCSI/FC: This is a snafu. 10Gbs ISCSI performs almost equally to a 8Gbs FC, and naturally 16Gbs FC is king, but add in the overhead of management, and cost to implement FC. If you think you need FC you probably should stay friends with your “Big Data” pals or you could jump ship like the rest of us.
So to recap the 5 areas above are my key requirements when it comes to buying storage. Yes you can add a bunch of other bells and whistles but will you use them is the question you should ask yourself? If you are strictly virtual I would recommend sticking to features that complement virtualization.