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Lab Insight: Maintaining Application Performance with All Flash Arrays and Storage QoS

Executive Summary for HP 3PAR Priority Optimization Test Validation

Shared infrastructure, both in enterprises and cloud providers, is required in order to achieve the most efficient utilization of resources. With solid-state storage systems now able to deliver significant performance, these systems are often used to consolidate hundreds of virtualized applications.  However, these shared environments present significant challenges for IT and application owners.

Maintaining specific performance levels for applications has always been challenging when using shared infrastructure.  In particular, storage consolidation and the move to virtualized applications have made maintaining storage performance particularly difficult.  Enterprise customers need the ability to manage performance, while cloud and other service providers require these capabilities in order to deliver differentiated service levels.  Centralized IT and Cloud service operations have additional considerations, requiring predictable levels of service consistently, with 24 x 7 operations.  With unpredictable workloads and continual operations, scheduling reduced workloads for data protection or backup operations is not possible.  Thus, modern operations must be able to support multiple primary workloads, with additional data protection operations; while still meeting all performance needs.

Traditional data-center class storage systems have provided Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities; however, these systems are unable to meet application price-performance requirements, particularly in virtualized and cloud computing environments where cost is a significant a consideration.  In IT environments supporting virtual computing and cloud infrastructures, QoS controls must be both flexible and scalable in order to support management domains.

With the transition to solid-state systems for primary storage, IT architects desire systems that provide the controls and automation delivered by their first generation storage products, but with the improved performance delivered by the latest generation of NAND Flash solid state storage.  While many systems designed for flash offer high-performance, many of these storage devices are missing capabilities that are requirements for data-center class storage products.  Data protection and management capabilities are considerations, while also providing the ability to manage and control performance on a per application or customer level.  A critical component missing from many all-flash systems is the ability to manage and control storage quality of service levels.


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January 19, 2015

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