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|Performance tuning and scalability|
|Scaling a storage system also means addressing performance bottlenecks. This list highlights potential spots where performance bottlenecks can occur. Keep in mind that this entire stack is a tightly coupled chain--a change in any of the links will be felt throughout the|
Virtualization scales beyond the array
Virtualization provides additional flexibility in a storage infrastructure. It allows you to scale beyond a single storage array with seamless data mobility. Data replication and migrations can be performed across multiple storage systems (including heterogeneous environments) using a single interface. It is, however, an evolving technology and one has to pay careful attention while designing a solution. Virtualization standards (such as the Fabric Application Interface Standard) haven't been widely adopted, so a storage team may have to perform provisioning manually using individual point tools. But virtualization is here to stay, and as it matures some of its current limitations will be overcome, allowing the effortless provisioning of virtualized storage.
An array's architectural limitations are a key limiting factor when attempting to scale that array--hitting that wall essentially means that there are no longer any scalability options remaining. Virtualization allows users to mask the limitations and move data onto other storage subsystems without costly downtime. This enables performance and capacity-hungry applications to be satisfied from the virtual storage pool and, conversely, apps whose I/O and capacity requirements are reduced can be scaled down to slower, cheaper storage.
A growing list of vendors tout some type of virtualization in their arrays or other products. Products such as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s StorageWorks XP series, Hitachi Data Systems' TagmaStore Universal Storage Platform and Sun Microsystems Inc.'s StorEdge 6920 provide in-band virtualization in the array itself. That basically means all virtualization of existing storage is performed by the new array in a manner that's totally transparent to the network or host.
This was first published in June 2006