Every storage administrator is concerned with system performance. Knowing how a system will run in the data center -- and predicting its limitations in your particular environment -- is absolutely essential for storage managers. Solid performance data can be an invaluable guide for making new acquisitions, allowing money to be allocated for the most beneficial products. Performance testing can analyze system behaviors under different or added load conditions, helping managers plan necessary storage and infrastructure upgrades. Testing can also reveal possible bottlenecks or potential problems in storage systems, significantly aiding in the troubleshooting process.
But make no mistake; performance testing is not easy. Testing procedures often demand a significant commitment of time, talent and physical resources. "Unless you're in the business of doing performance testing, you probably aren't doing performance testing on an everyday basis," says Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO. Companies that cannot manage in-house testing can often turn to third-party consultants or testing firms, but outside assistance can be a costly proposition. No matter which direction you go, storage performance testing can be a daunting challenge that few businesses are equipped to tackle.
The following article outlines the advantages and drawbacks of storage performance testing, offers vendor and user insights into current test products, and examines future directions of test practices.
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