What do we think when we look at our storage use or how we leverage storage in our environments today. Having worked with very large storage environments over the past 18 years I have seen everything from enterprise arrays like EMC/HP/IBM/SorageTek, JBODs, Compaq storage, iSCSI, SAN, NAS, CAS, Object, internal storage leveraging RAID, and just internal storage without RAID. I’ve worked in and designed for environment that had thousands of FC ports and over 70 CLARiiON arrays (CX, VNX, FC) to environments that had 2 or 3 VMAX storage arrays supporting massive Oracle environments as well as active active data centers with tools like VPLEX. It never got easier it just got more complex and requires more care and attention. If it wasn’t performance issues it was an HBA partially plugged in causing a DCX to go off the reservation killing sometimes hundreds of servers redundant paths. This coupled with largely complex fan in fan out fabrics you had better be ready to spend a good bit of your work day tracing where the issues were coming from. Now we were lucky to have multiple HBAs with multipathing software to handle these kinds of issues but none the less we still had issues and time was not always well spent. If we could just make things easier with less complexity we could all focus on the technology that makes the business run and not fixing problems or running around like that chicken… wait where did my head go. Oh that’s right on the IT stake so everyone can get a laugh of the headless IT storage guy.
Most know when different types of storage networks came out like SAN and NAS we spent time talking about how to setup centralized storage infrastructures so we did not have things like server001 with 1TB but using 20GB and server002 with 100GB and needing 150GB. This brought on the use of converged storage solutions to allocate what was needed when and where it was needed. Now we are seeing technology from all the different OS players out there that allow you to create iSCSI targets, leverage object storage in the cloud, virtulize internal storage to be used across multiple servers like VMware vvols, and more. Hyper Converged infrastructures leverage more of a software approach giving you the performance of SAN and NAS. We are on a mission to take the complexity out of these types of architectures while centralizing how everything gets managed.
The storage industry will not change over night but you better believe it will change within the next few years as these large and expensive storage environments come up for renewal. Just think if you could get the performance of most tier two SAN or NAS architectures but with the server infrastructure you already have. Just think of the cost savings alone as well as some of the awesome features that comes with a Hyper Converged solution. Things like spinning up thousands of VDI instances in minutes, taking snapshots instantly without having the worry of IO consolidation issues, replication and ability to leverage storage across all servers in the virtual cluster.
We are in a new world of how we treat storage with the new prospects of Hyper Converged infrastructures. Don’t you think it’s time you looked at your environment to see where you can simplify?
More to come on this topic as I dive deeper into the different technologies surrounding Hyper Convergence.