By Tony Afshary, Director of Solutions and Outbound Marketing, LSI
"Going virtual” has become a common term in IT speak today. For those who have embraced virtualization, improved efficiency and higher ROI are often the key drivers. Virtualization, specifically server virtualization, allows for multiple virtual machines, or VMs, to efficiently run on a single server. By consolidating these resources, one can simultaneously simplify their datacenter, reduce their server footprint, and improve the responsiveness of server provisioning.
Like any good solution or invention, however, challenges may introduce themselves. Probably the most obvious example of this is the invention of the vehicle. While it has improved our lives tremendously, the traffic congestion that we must contend with on a daily basis proves to be challenging. Similarly, such is the case of virtualization, datacenters must contend with the performance demands of multiple VMs. As more and more VMs, each with their unique workloads, are added to a physical server, traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are proving that they are unable to keep up and provide data to these VMs quick enough.
So the challenge presents itself. How do I achieve low latency and high performance while optimizing the benefits of virtualization? Flash technology has come to the rescue as a leader in solving the bottleneck issues of virtual environments and accelerating applications. But flash alone is not the answer. Considerations such as cost, data protection and ease of use should be considered as well.
These concerns were not lost on NetApp and LSI. Together, we have brought the performance benefits of intelligent server caching software and PCIe® flash with NetApp Flash Accel’s and the LSI Nytro™ WarpDrive™. Built on years of collaboration and a deep technical partnership, NetApp and LSI offer an out-of-the-box solution to the masses to help meet the challenges of providing data to these VMs quick enough and we do so at the speed of flash.
Accelerating virtual environments with flash is the choice for many, but the thought of moving all data from HDDs to flash might seem to be an expensive and exhaustive undertaking. The beauty of this solution is that it allows you to continue to use your existing HDDs alongside of flash – all with zero reconfiguration and minimal IT intervention. NetApp Flash Accel transparently and intelligently places frequently accessed data, which is typically 20% of your entire database, on the Nytro WarpDrive while the remaining data is written to the HDDs. This allows for an economical mix of both technologies and optimizes $/IOPs as well as $/GB while retaining your existing HDD investment.
You might also wonder about your critical data that resides on the Nytro WarpDrive. Is it protected? Data protection was a critical component to this solution and safeguards that data is permanently protected if for any reason a server goes offline. This is accomplished by making the data coherent, or consistent, with the back-end storage. To maintain coherency, Flash Accel is designed to be aware of any changes made by Data ONTAP and therefore has the ability to keep all blocks on the LSI Nytro WarpDrive in a consistent state.
With a long history of technical collaboration and industry leading technologies, NetApp and LSI have understood the need for a simple and cost-effective approach to achieving the lowest latency for virtual environments. While the introduction of the vehicle, has continued to plague us with sitting in traffic for hours, the NetApp Flash Accel and LSI Nytro WarpDrive have systematically removed the bottlenecks brought on by virtualization, accelerated applications residing on the VMs, and has allowed virtualization to fully realize its true benefits.
For more information on this solutions, please visit us Application Acceleration with NetApp Flash Accel™ and LSI Nytro™ Warp Drive™
Tony Afshary is Director of Solutions and Outbound Marketing for LSI's Accelerated Solutions Division.