by Claudio Polla

Data solving

Resolving the data centre disconnect

Claudio Polla, regional manager, Middle East Africa: Tintri
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There is a disconnect in data centres today. Most IT teams think and work in virtual machines (VM), but storage hasn’t materially changed in decades – it still uses the same constructs (LUNs, volumes, RAID, striping) that were introduced for physical workloads. This disconnect between virtualised applications and physical storage is costing businesses time and money.

VM-aware storage (VAS), specifically built for virtualised applications, strips out the complexity of LUNs and volumes, allowing IT teams to see and manage storage at the VM level. Necessary functions like replication, cloning and analysis are done at the VM level and allow organisations to drastically reduce their spend as well as their precious man-hours… not to mention their sanity.

Many organisations claim to provide VM-aware or VM-centric technology, so it may seem like a challenge to determine which truly are. But, the truth is, answer can be found with simple question: Does the solution use LUNs or volumes at all in its architecture? If the answer is yes, then it isn’t VM-aware storage.

VM-aware storage provides a multiplicity of benefits that commodity all-flash and hyper-converged do not. For example:

See the source of latency across host, network and storage to pinpoint problems
The User Interface shows every virtual machine stored in a data centre. If you search and scroll over any of them, a simple visualisation shows you its latency breakdown across the host, network and storage. The end-to-end visibility of VAS allows users to solve problems in a few clicks.

Guaranteed performance with VM-level Quality of Service (QoS)
All VMs stored on a LUN share performance resources and policies assigned to that LUN. When one of those VMs gets overly demanding or goes rogue, all VMs can suffer from this “noisy neighbor”. With VM-aware storage there are no LUNS and each VM is assigned it’s own lane. Meaning, there’s no conflict or over-provisioning — and no noisy neighbours.

Apply VM-level analytics to identify issues with individual applications
True VM-level analytics allows an IT team to dig into the performance characteristics of an individual VM with precision, eliminating estimations or correlations.

While many storage products wear the VM-aware label, it doesn’t take much to assess their authenticity. If a product’s architecture is built on a foundation of LUNs and volumes, it can never be fully VM-aware. True VAS is built specifically for virtualised applications. It provides visibility across the infrastructure, control over performance and complete analytics at the VM level. If a data centre is experiencing pain — poor performance, complex management and cost over-runs — it can’t be solved with all-flash or hyper-converged alone. Only VAS can eradicate the disconnect between virtualised applications and physical storage.

Tintri products are available from value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited across more than 20 countries in Africa.

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