When you get to talk to professionals after hours, they start to tell war stories to each other. I listened to more than a few at this year's EMC World. What impressed me was the very high “trust factor” in EMC products and support.
When push comes to shove, storage professionals are reluctant to trade performance or availability for flexibility or ease of use. When a performance or availability problem has to be solved, getting down and dirty, good tools and good support are paramount. Companies like EMC, that have always focused on providing the storage administrator great performance and availability, have created a well-deserved loyal following as a result. This “trust” or loyalty factor is enormously important to EMC’s brand.
Vendors of virtualized storage arrays have emphasized functionality, flexibility, and ease of use. There are lists of capacity-saving features, choices of many protocols, and automation of administration. However, nothing is free: the result is that virtualized storage vendors provide “good-enough” performance with few knobs to turn.
Good-enough performance clearly has a place in the data center, providing lower cost storage. However, if there is any significant probability that storage performance or availability will be an issue, it should be possible to assign these a high performance/availability pool. These should have a focus first and foremost on performance and availability architecture with good monitors, tool-sets and responsive vendor support. In the long run, this approach will be the most cost effective for these types of applications.
Action Item: Always ensure that applications have access to a storage pool or tier that focuses first and foremost on performance and availability.