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.
Virtualization is a disruptive technology in every sense of the word. By abstracting and simplifying physical resources, virtualization enables dynamic utilization. But this â€œtranslationâ€ from physical to virtual disrupts the assumptions that enable performance and flexibility of physical devices such as storage arrays.
Storage arrays are big, expensive, and difficult to manage. Plus, concentrating storage in a single device puts everything at risk if there is an outage. So why buy a storage array at all? Arrays do a few things very well, and this often makes up for the difference, on balance.
I talk to dozens of companies every week, and every one says the same thing: â€œOur product is compatible with VMware!â€ But not everyone’s definition of â€œcompatibleâ€ is the same, and some are not compatible with the requirements of production data centers. Therefore, I present to you my spectrum of compatibility for VMware.
The time has come to take sides on the core question of storage for virtual servers: Do you want storage intelligence to live in the hypervisor or the array? Most administrators are already lining up on one side or the other, unintentionally casting their vote while the rest flounder. But the storage industry must wake up and embrace the divide.