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By Jason Massae, VMware Architect at Micron Technology


As a VMware architect at Micron Technology, I know the crucial importance of virtualization in an enterprise environment. I am also witnessing first-hand the explosive growth of data and storage in the enterprise. In this blog post, I will discuss the storage challenges of performance, scalability and manageability and how Micron flash storage, coupled with VMware Virtual SAN, is the ideal combination for meeting those challenges head-on.

Starting with performance, you either have a performance issue or see one on the horizon. How are you going to mitigate the issue(s)? What steps, upgrades, or purchases are required to maintain quality of service?

That leads to the next issue, scalability. Can your existing storage solution scale to be able to avoid potential performance problems? What is required to scale up/out your solutions? What expenditures are required; capital, expense, head count, etc? Some solutions can easily grow, but all have limits and some upgrades require impact on the customer.

This leads to the final point, manageability. What is required to do an upgrade? Can it be done offline, can the storage issue be resolved without requiring downtime and loss of productivity? For your storage lifecycle project, what are the additional costs required to replace that solution? All these potential issues and uncertainties make common big iron storage solutions much more challenging to manage.

 

Now let me introduce you to VMware Virtual SAN. Virtual SAN is VMware’s radically simple hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution for vSphere virtual machines and it solves many of these challenges. It greatly reduces complexity by bringing storage and compute into the modular server chassis. This enables greater flexibility, simplified management, lower costs and best of all, it easily scales! When I say it scales, it’s not just the storage, the entire solution scales! Virtual SAN can easily scale from a couple of terabytes to several petabyte with storage performance from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of IOPS while maintaining sub-millisecond latency! Storage, memory, compute and performance all can be easily and independently scaled as required at much lower costs and without impact to productivity or end user experience.

Virtual SAN can be used for your small ROBO (Remote Office, Branch Office) needs all the way up to your BCAs (Business Critical Applications). With the modularity and configurability of Virtual SAN, there’s almost no solution or tier where it cannot be used. It’s significantly easier to manage and upgrade and reduces the overall complexity of your IT infrastructure resulting in reduced Opex.

 

What is under-the-hood enabling VMware Virtual SAN to deliver these incredible capabilities? The answer is all flash storage. The high IOPS, low latency and constant and reliable performance can only be attained using an all flash configuration. There are perceptions that cause some to question feasibility of an all flash solution: Whether it’s “they’ll wear out” or “flash is too expensive” or even “I don’t need an all flash solution”, these misconceptions are far from reality. The “they’ll wear out” perception is just that, a perception. Virtual SAN is designed for all flash configuration and as a result, is optimized to ensure reliability. Additionally, today’s Enterprise SSDs are internally optimized for specific types of workloads. With Virtual SAN you have a cache tier which is where the heavy writes occur and requires a higher write endurance SSD. For the capacity tier, this tier is read centric and thus can utilize lower cost read optimized SSDs. By purchasing drives for specific functions you can greatly reduce the cost to near HDD prices. The big difference is all the benefits you receive with all flash. Consistent sub-millisecond latency and high up to 100k IOPS eliminates that “noisy neighbor” issue while maintaining your QoS across your environment. Another great cost savings is reduced heat and power usage, subsequently reducing cooling costs for your datacenter. Duncan Epping, Chief Technologist at VMWare, and I further discuss the benefits of an all-flash VSAN in this video.

 

With all flash Virtual SAN, your performance and capacity issues are solved. With Virtual SAN’s scalability and ease of management, replacing old hardware no longer requires an extensive hardware life cycle project. Simply replacing a node is accomplished with zero impact to the cluster and maintains performance even with reduced nodes.

Don’t let flash misconceptions prevent you from attaining a less complex, more cost effective and significantly higher and more consistent performance solution. Micron Technology is leading the way in flash storage solutions and innovation. If you are curious to learn more about how an all flash Virtual SAN can help you prepare for data growth, check out our latest infographic.