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Pillar Data Survey Identifies Storage Issues in Server Virtualization

Pillar Data Survey Identifies Storage Issues on Server Virtualization

Despite the economic downturn, server virtualization continues to proliferate as IT professionals around the world recognize the potentially massive cost savings associated with a virtualized server environment. However, an unexpected twist is the debilitating demand virtual servers put on legacy storage systems. In many cases, potential cost savings have been mitigated or altogether eliminated because of the extra storage needed to alleviate the performance and utilization degradation associated with traditional storage systems in server virtualization environments.

In order to realize the benefits of a virtualized IT infrastructure, data centers require a next-generation storage system that was designed to compliment a virtual server environment. Leveraging the Application-Aware Pillar Axiom Storage System, users can now benefit from a storage architecture that effectively integrates with and, in fact, complements the specific needs of a virtual environment.

With the purpose to better understand the storage issues facing organizations today, Pillar Data Systems conducted a survey asking over 1000 users not only which virtual technologies they are deploying, but what they are looking for in terms of a storage system. A vast amount 50 percent noted that ease of management and performance were the most important features they needed in a storage system. What then stemmed from this discussion is underlying problem that virtualization projects pose, which is that they often require customers to purchase additional storage capacity to alleviate the utilization and performance degradation associated with these projects. Problems typically occur when virtual machine performance is hindered by a server-to-storage I/O bottleneck. Its been found that traditional storage architectures cannot effectively manage the random I/O patterns created by virtual machines.

Instead of reaping the cost benefits of a virtualized server environment, many organizations in fact were spending more, as they had to double the amount of storage in order to alleviate the bottlenecks and utilization issues created by server virtualization technologies. The Pillar Axiom, however, allows customers to deploy a networked storage array that can easily and cost-effectively integrate into a virtualized server environment. Axioms ability to dynamically assign or re-assign priorities to applications companies deem most important improves overall storage performance, while reducing the I/O bottleneck seen in legacy storage systems.

The virtualization trend in the storage industry is ever-growing due to an increased desire to control costs in data centers, said Bob Maness, vice president of Marketing Pillar Data Systems. Pillar was founded on the idea that you can do more with less storage. Axioms ability to integrate tightly in virtual server environments, results in lower costs and increased efficiency throughout the data center. The Axiom is the only system that can reprogram itself to meet to meet the performance requirements of each virtual machine.

Highlights from the Virtualization Survey Results

In addition to discovering that the majority of companies viewed ease of management and performance as key factors in choosing a virtualized storage environment, the survey also revealed the following:

  • Over half of the companies surveyed have a SAN with either dedicated or shared arrays for virtual hosts;
  • Of all of the companies, close to half deployed a Fibre Channel SAN for their virtualized environment;
  • 44 percent of respondents still use standard existing backup software; and
  • 57 percent feel that cost is a barrier to entry for virtualized storage, while another 35 percent believe training is a prohibitive factor.

Implementing the Pillar Axiom in a virtual environment enables users to reduce virtual and storage deployment times, simplify overall server and storage management, and lower training costs, all while gaining as much as three times the disk utilization rate of competing storage systems.

Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, one of the fastest growing casinos in California and features Las Vegas style slots and table games is an example of an organization that saw the benefits of implementing the Pillar Axiom in its virtual environment. Recently, Chukchansi began expanding its resort and with Pillars help, quickly realized the benefits of virtualizing its data centers.

With such a large gaming facility at Chukchansi comes a large volume of data crossing our storage systems daily, and virtualization was the only way to effectively increase efficiency in our data centers, said Dennis Peterson, director of information technology for Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. Pairing the Pillar Axiom with our virtual servers allows us to project a decrease in costs associated with power and cooling, and lower the number of required storage systems, all while increasing our overall storage capacity and utilization. Additionally, we expect the Axiom will help us reduce our IT CAPEX and OPEX costs, while providing exceptional levels of performance and reliability in our data center.

The virtualization of servers is affecting organizations' storage environments, their policies for provisioning capacity, and their storage management practices. When deployed incorrectly, companies' storage environments can suffer a number of 'unintended consequences' that quickly minimize or overwhelm the original value associated with server virtualization," said Richard Villars, Vice President of Storage Systems research at IDC. "Solutions like Pillar's Axiom that provide flexible, rapid, and efficient allocation of tiered storage while enabling nondisruptive application movement will play a key role in helping companies make better use of their virtualized IT environments."

For more information on Pillars work in VMware environments, please turn here.

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SYS-CON's Virtualization News Desk trawls the news sources of the world for the latest details of virtualization technologies, products, and market trends, and provides breaking news updates from the Virtualization Conference & Expo.

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