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5 Ways to stay within budget in upgrading to flash storage
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5 Ways to stay within budget in upgrading to flash storage 

Here are five ways to help you stay within budget as you evaluate upgrading to flash storage.

1. Understand the workload I/O profile of your production applications. Storage architects need to gather intelligence about the unique characteristics of their application workloads in a given environment.  The concept is to extract and analyze statistics on production workloads from the storage infrastructure to establish an I/O baseline profile.  From there, you can project I/O growth trends. By capturing all of the attributes of the production environment, highly accurate workload models can be created which enable storage infrastructure managers to stress test storage product offerings using THEIR specific workloads.

2. Create workload models based on the workload I/O profiles.  Workload models represent storage traffic as it enters the storage array.  The profile will represent random vs. sequential data, reads vs. writes, distributions of blocks sizes, distributions of files sizes, queue depths, data content types, access patterns, and other key metrics that comprise the storage traffic. 

3. The workload models can then be combined with a load generation appliance and used to generate workloads against any potential storage system or configuration.  Once these workloads are executed against the storage system(s), you can determine the I/O performance characteristics and limitations of any given storage platform. This allows storage planners to size their deployments without over or under provisioning.  It also enables the projection of when more resources, like network bandwidth, storage IOPs, etc., will be needed to maintain SLAs and whether or how much flash storage will be cost-effective.

4. Flash storage offers very high performance, but it is most cost-effective when used with inline deduplication and compression, which dramatically lowers the cost per GB.  Unfortunately, these technologies impact application performance – in some cases by a factor of 2X or more.  You need to fully understand their performance impact before making the purchase decision.  Every storage vendor has a different implementation and uses different algorithms.  Accurately measuring the performance of deduplication and compression depends on generating data content patterns sufficient to stress a storage array.  Ensure your load generation appliance can generate compressed and deduped content. 

5. Use flash performance validation solutions that have easy to use reporting and analysis tools.  This means being able to easily understand and compare IOPS, latency and throughput across a variety of your specific application workloads.  The ability to automate the testing and report generation process, without any custom scripting, is critical. 

Performance validation appliances enable infrastructure planners to bring more automation into the storage performance planning and validation process. These purpose-built appliances can be used to help organizations pre-determine if flash storage is truly justified and test all configurations prior to making production deployment decisions.

About the Author:

Len Rosenthal joined storage performance validation leader Load DynamiX in July 2013 and is responsible for worldwide marketing.  Prior to Load DynamiX, he held executive positions at Virtual Instruments, Panasas and QLogic and held senior marketing management roles at Inktomi, SGI, and HP. Len earned an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School, a BSEE from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS Econ from Penn’s Wharton Business School.  For more information about Load DynamiX, please visit www.LoadDynamiX.com         

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