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2 Ways to Deal with Storage Pain

Everybody is looking for a way to minimize the performance degradation associated with storage in virtualized environments. I thought that in its new release of XenServer 5.6 Feature Pack 1, Citrix thought up a pretty good idea with its VDI IntelliCache. This capability is designed to alleviate pain caused by high amounts of disk activity bogging down performance, which in turn brings more network storage into play. As Citrix noted, approximately 80 percent of those writes to disk in shared image desktop environments consist of temporary or non-persistent data that does not belong in SANs or NAS. The answer: IntelliCache identifies this traffic and caches it in local, server-side disks, increasing performance and reducing VDI costs.

When I ran the IntelliCache approach past Jack O'Brien, VP of marketing for Gluster--which just introduced Gluster 3.1, a good fit with data centers that need to scale on demand and be highly virtualized--he told me, "We're starting to see VDI become a little more real. It looks like Citrix is looking for a smart way to deal with that."

Anyway, back to LSI, which announced what it's calling "the first 6Gb/s SAS switch in the channel." The LSI SAS6160 extends the capabilities of SAS in direct attached storage (DAS) environments by enabling multiple servers to connect to one or more independent, external, storage systems.

According to LSI, "The LSI SAS switch helps customers to optimize storage resource utilization, reduce islands of storage and simplify storage management, backup and upgrades by enabling storage resources to be shared across multiple servers and managed effectively through SAS zoning. It is also designed to provide the connectivity necessary to support virtual server environments, allowing organizations to realize the benefits of virtual machine migration, while maintaining the management simplicity of DAS."

The LSI SAS6160 is a 1/2-rackwide, 16-port non-blocking switch that fits into the 1U form factor, creating easy integration with existing SAS infrastructures. A single SAS switch architecture can also address multiple classes of storage, which allows tiered storage solutions via a mix of 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s, SATA and SAS end devices.

One LSI SAS6160 switch costs $2,495, and the LSI 1U mounting tray is $450.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/13/2010 at 12:48 PM


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