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Tuesday, 18 June 2013 15:07

Five Reasons You Need Virtualization-Aware Storage

Written by  ROB COMMINS

Virtualized server environments have made major progress in enabling shared network storage. But even technologies array integration (VAAI) come short in providing enterprise customers with the tools needed to optimize their storage infrastructure. What’s required is a new class of storage array called virtualization-aware storage.

  • Virtualization-aware storage enables enterprise customers to discover hidden performance details about their virtual machines so that they can answer questions such as:

  • Which virtual machine is demanding the most I/Os per second (IOPS) out of the shared storage?

  • Which virtual machine is achieving the best cache hit ratio?

  • Which virtual machine has the best deduplication rate?

The answers to these questions won’t be found in traditional storage arrays that aren’t VM-aware. However, answers to these questions are critically important and will help you in your ongoing efforts to maintain a system that meets performance expectations.

Here are five reasons that you need virtualization-aware storage in your company’s environment

Connect your storage and your virtual infrastructure to correlate VM and storage data

No IT environment runs perfectly 100 percent of the time. Outages and performance issues will arise from time to time and it becomes the job of the systems administrator to determine the root cause for these issues and take appropriate action. However, troubleshooting requires an administrator to be able to determine cause and effect. With VM aware storage, administrators gain the ability to correlate virtual machine and storage performance, which can greatly aid in troubleshooting.

Learn IOPS per virtual machine that will allow you to solve problems and plan capacity

As an administrator moves mission-critical workloads to the virtual environment, worries over the ability for shared storage to keep pace may arise. With VM aware storage, administrators know right down to the virtual machine and LUN how many IOPS are being consumed by specific workloads, greatly streamlining what can be a chaotic troubleshooting process.

Plan long-term capacity as you will know the total I/O utilization of the virtual infrastructure

Ongoing capacity planning often goes by the wayside. After all, capacity planning for many is a “would be nice if” undertaking that can require a great deal of monitoring and tracking in order to determine the current workload both right now and over time. With VM aware storage, administrators gain at-a-glance dashboards that provide immediate insight into this metric, making capacity planning a breeze. Administrators are able to immediately determine whether or not the current storage system is keeping up with environment needs.

Understand deduplication and compression rates on a per-VM basis

It’s a fact that storage performance is extremely important, but capacity is generally important to people, too. Running out of disk space makes for a really bad day. Today, prime players in the storage space include powerful deduplication technologies that help customers extend the life of one of their most expensive data center assets. Through the use of deduplication and compression, organizations can achieve usable storage gains orders or magnitude beyond raw capacity.

But, it’s still important to know just how much disk space each asset is using. This is a critical component of ongoing capacity planning. For storage, capacity and IOPS are the critical metrics that require monitoring and planning. With VM aware storage, an administrator knows instantly exactly how much benefit deduplication and compression are bringing to each individual virtual machine. This could be important information to understand for backup and disaster recovery purposes or just to gain an understanding for how much actual raw capacity is in use.

Simplify virtualization storage configuration

As more vendors bring virtualization awareness to their storage, they are also bringing to the environment new and powerful tools that greatly simplify the storage management paradigm. This includes adding storage management features right into the Web client. From these newly integrated tools, administrators can get full one-stop-shop administration of the full environment, from the highest level cluster to the lowest level LUN. With this deep integration comes additional ease of use, quicker problem resolution, and a lower total cost of ownership.


Virtualization-aware storage is becoming an increasingly important part of the modern data center. Administrators need the powerful tools and information that VM-aware storage brings. Through the inclusion of per VM statistics and a powerful add-in for the web client.

Rob Commins has been instrumental in the success of some of the storage industry’s most interesting companies over the past 20 years. As vice president of marketing at Tegile, he leads the company’s marketing strategy, go to market and demand generation activities, as well as competitive analysis. Commins comes to Tegile from HP/3PAR, where he led the product marketing team through several product launches and 3X customer growth over three quarters. Commins also managed much of the functional marketing and operations integration after Hewlett Packard acquired 3PAR.