The hottest trend in storage now is converged storage. In this architecture the physical servers that host virtual machines also provide a shared storage resource by abstracting and aggregating their own internal storage. Like any storage architecture this approach has its pros and cons. Storage Switzerland Founder and Lead Analyst George Crump and CTO and Founder of Gridstore Kelly Murphy discuss what users should consider when exploring converged solutions in this Chalk Talk Video.
Advantages and Challenges
Converged storage solutions is attractive for the right environment, however, knowing if you have “the right environment” is critical. A key advantage converged solutions bring is supposed to be cost savings. The cost of internal storage is certainly less expensive than shared external storage, especially when you factor in the cost of networking and the cost of the dedicated shared storage array.
But this also brings to light the first challenge. They may not be that much less expensive than modern day shared solutions. The IT professional needs to understand that there is still networking going on, and plenty of storage I/O. The network that interconnects the servers has to be a high quality, resilient architecture, which means the network will be more expensive. In addition the internal storage in the servers should be of higher quality. Off the shelf “cheap-o” storage probably is not the best choice. Finally, there is the cost of the software itself, which typically is priced per physical host.
The second challenge is workload. While the converged architecture begins to look very similar to the converged architecture of Google and Amazon, most businesses do not have anything like them. Converged architecture counts on parallelism so that all the nodes can be properly leveraged for greatest performance. If you can’t generate optimum parallelism you won’t see maximum performance. While not a problem if you don’t need maximum performance, this can be a big problem if you do.
Finally, there is a data protection concern. Not that these environments are exposed, but at what cost does that data protection come? Does the cost of data protection break the price advantage that they started with? Converged infrastructures are expect failure and recover from it quickly, traditional systems are designed not to fail. Each has a cost.
As we discuss in our video, understanding these challenges is important to deciding whether converged storage is right for you or at least knowing how to work around some of these shortcomings.
Gridstore is a client of Storage Switzerland