How to rescue your data centre

When it comes to running a data centre saving the day is an all-too-familiar thought for today’s storage IT admin. Although they don’t have superpowers, IT admins face a daily battle when it comes to latency and performance issues.

The IT admin is the first point of call when it comes to troubleshooting errors, increasing performance and reducing downtime. To be a hero, an IT admin doesn’t need to fly into burning buildings or foil an evil mastermind’s plan for world domination – they have to guarantee performance, speed and order.

The challenge

The biggest challenge admins face is that conventional storage is ill-equipped to deal with virtualisation because it is built for physical workloads. Today, about 75 per cent of all workloads in modern day data centres are virtualised and this number is only expected to grow. If companies have gone virtual but storage is still using LUNs and volumes, it will drive IT admins virtually insane. Any superhero needs to be able to offer speed, order and performance – and it’s no different for an IT admin in the data centre.

Speed and agility

Just like a superhero, IT admins need to offer guaranteed performance and speed. Heroes don’t show up at the end once the fight is over: they’re there to save the day in the nick of time, and not a moment too late. When it comes to running a data centre, performance and speed are essential and the last thing employees want is to be tied down with latency concerns. But managing and provisioning storage built for physical workloads within a virtual environment is time consuming and complex - even for the most well equipped IT hero.

Conventional storage mixes the needs of multiple virtual machines (VMs), which creates contention. But armed with storage for virtual environments, IT admins can provide each VM with its own lane for predictably fast performance, which is exactly what the IT hero needs.

Eliminating LUNs

Without the limitations of traditional, physical first storage, IT admins can operate six times faster. Operating in LUNs and volumes slows the entire process down and can act as a bottleneck when it comes to data centre requests. Architecting, provisioning and maintaining VDI solutions with legacy storage systems requires many hours of administration.

However when you’re drowning in numerous requests, time is very much of the essence. Using traditional SAN or NAS with VDI storage architectures requires multiple datastores for storing base and replica images, OS disk, persistent disk and disposable disk on different storage tiers. This is too much for any IT admin to handle.

Quality of Service

What IT admins need is a tool that allows them to manage those critical VMs easily, while eliminating the guesswork of Quality of Service (QoS) settings. The trouble with conventional QoS is it works at the volume level. Consequently when you set a minimum, a maximum or a worst input output per second (IOPS), you can only do so for an entire LUN or volume and all the dozens of very different VMs inside get the same level of QoS. By now it’s clear that traditional storage is the nemesis of every IT admin battling through performance and latency issues on a daily basis. Just like any enemy, they need to be removed from the system.

VM vision

Creating order is all any superhero hopes to achieve: removing LUNs and volumes (villains) and operating in a system built for today’s workloads is the first step to a utopian data centre. A data centre in which admins can provide performance, scalability and speed (while still having time to make a cup of tea) is a dream for most.

Storage which provides each VM with its own I/O lane allows application and optimised performance so IT admins can see right down to the granular level and operate with clear visibility. The mismatch between traditional storage and virtualisation has caused unstructured data centre problems, but with each VM in its I/O lane, an IT admin can quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot any errors.

Keeping a data centre running smoothly is very much the job of an IT hero. The key is to know exactly which villains you are dealing with and to manage every individual VM’s needs with the correct storage.

Mark Young, Director of Systems Engineering EMEA at Tintri

Image Credit: Welcomia / Shutterstock