The ROI of old servers with new connectivity

The storage network is falling behind and is becoming a key roadblock to major data center initiatives like improving virtualization return on investment (ROI), tapping into the power of analytics and enabling personalized online customer experiences. As these and other initiatives have rolled out, they have tapped into the seemingly limitless potential of the compute architecture as well as the new found performance of the physical storage media enabled by flash memory technologies. The network has for the most part languished behind.

As we discussed in a recent paper “The Cost of Maintaining The Storage Network Status Quo“, the storage network needs to be aggressively upgraded so that these new IT initiatives can reach their full potential.

New Potential for Older Servers

The temptation with storage networking is to incrementally upgrade its capabilities as servers are added to the environment and as new switches are brought online. Storage networking technologies, like fibre channel, actually enable this incremental upgrade approach thanks to its excellent backward compatibility. The problem is that “older” servers are rarely revisited and upgraded to take advantage of the new network’s potential. This is unfortunate because these older servers still have plenty of compute capability and now have access to much higher performing storage as all flash arrays or flash assisted, hybrid arrays are added to the environment.

If these same servers have their storage connectivity upgraded to the latest Gen 5 Fibre Channel (16Gbs FC) and are given access to Gen 5 switches, new life can be breathed into them. The advanced connectivity will allow them to support more virtual workloads and more database users. The performance improvement can be so significant that many organizations will find that they can delay the purchase of new servers and allow for the network upgrade to rapidly pay for itself.

Get a copy of the white paper "The Cost of Maintaining The Storage Network Status Quo" here.

Conclusion

Servers are often added to an environment for the wrong reasons which often relate to lack of storage I/O performance. It is rare that the PCIe Bus itself is being pushed to its limit and even more rare for the CPU to be pushed to its limit. Upgrading the storage network to keep pace with recently added flash technologies allows these older servers to be extended to support more workloads and users than previously thought possible. The delay or potential elimination of future server purchases can more than cover the cost of the network upgrade.

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Brocade is a client of Storage Switzerland

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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