March 21, 2014

The I/O Blender Part 1: Ye Olde Storage I/O Path

In the good old days, I/O was predictable

This old-fashioned, predictable storage I/O path was deterministic and decipherable: The server, the switch, and the array all had enough information to do their jobs effectively and efficiently.

The I/O Blender Part 2: What Does Virtualization Do?

Virtualization disrupts the I/O path, invalidating the core assumptions that make storage arrays work

Virtualization is a disruptive technology in every sense of the word. By abstracting and simplifying physical resources, virtualization enables dynamic utilization. But this “translation” from physical to virtual disrupts the assumptions that enable performance and flexibility of physical devices such as storage arrays.

The I/O Blender Part 3: Behold the Power of the Demultiplexer

VMware vVol is a necessary step to promote virtual disks to "full citizen" status

Virtualization has disrupted the I/O path, reducing the value of enterprise storage arrays. But all is not lost: An effort is afoot to make things right by increasing communication between hypervisor and array and demultiplexing data before it is stored.