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Planning Storage for Virtualization

The more you look into server virtualization, the more you find yourself looking back at the storage for arrangement, optimization, troubleshooting and expansion capabilities.

In my current virtualization practice, I'm preparing for a big jump upward in regards to smart storage. To help me do this, I'm reading the NetApp and VMware vSphere Storage Best Practices book. This book is written by five top-notch people, including Vaughn Stewart from NetApp.

While this book is a quick read at only 124 pages, it is right to the point in so many areas. Unfortunately with virtualization, so many things revolve around the storage product in use. This is complicated by the fact that if you change products, there is a learning curve associated with getting the new product in line with your virtualization requirements.

I'm not quite done with the book, but find myself going back and forth on configuration, terms, and a new inventory of best practices.

During my prior position working with virtualization, I was a storage customer rather than the storage provider. There were many conversations on which type of storage to use, mainly SAS or SATA disk. Yet, I wasn't involved with the storage system presentation and administration of the aggregated storage, much less a fundamentally different product series to work with. 

By bringing storage and virtualization together, a lot of benefits can be realized. Storage vendors that have vCenter plug-in and pluggable storage architecture (PSA) support will allow virtualization administrators to deliver the best virtualized storage without wasting backend resources. My earlier post on  thin provisioning is just the start. Once features like snapshots, deduplication, volume cloning, RAID selection, class of disk and other critical decisions roll into the mix, you'll quickly see that storage is everything.

Anyone want to disagree with me that storage is more important than RAM or CPU? I think that it is. 

Posted by Rick Vanover on 02/23/2010 at 12:47 PM


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