Virtualizing Servers? Look At Consolidating Your Storage

Lot’s of virtualization news today. My guess is that most of our readers aren’t asking “if” they should virtualize – the benefits from server virtualization and server consolidation are well-touted.

One by-product of moving to a virtual server environment is the near-mandate for shared storage.  That gives a great opportunity to assess your storage environment and try to get the same consolidation benefits for storage as you plan to achieve from server virtualization.

The undeniable reality is that IT departments are faced with growing storage requirements, and disparate islands of storage, whether server-attached DAS, NAS, FC SAN or traditional iSCSI SANs are hard to grow, protect (e.g. backup/replicate) and manage individually. So storage consolidation isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a real and necessary tactic to reduce the man-hours required for manual storage tasks, to cut power consumption and better protect critical business data. And chances are – you can do it at the same time you’re looking to virtualize.

With that in mind, today we launched the EqualLogic PS5500E, a new hugely-scalable virtualized iSCSI storage array and VMware ESX-integrated snapshots. The PS5500E is aimed squarely at consolidation. The unique storage virtualization and ease-of-use built into all Dell EqualLogic arrays help simplify the consolidation process by automatically handling many otherwise tedious administrative tasks for storage management.

Additionally, the PS5500E, in the context of a larger EqualLogic SAN, provides an easy and cost-effective way for many customers to begin tiering their data stores. In other words, put less frequently accessed application data on highly dense less-expensive, less power-hungry SATA storage pools and put more heavily hit Exchange, SQL and Oracle services on 10K rpm or 15K rpm SAS, but manage it all from a single intuitive SAN management interface. Of course take into account your virtual server workloads when determining your storage tiers; just like in a physical world, not all of your VMs will have equivalent I/O or capacity requirements.  Luckily with an EqualLogic SAN, you can migrate your volumes (and the VMs on them) between pools/tiers online if you want to change your initial configuration.

Check out this video from one of our storage strategists – Travis Vigil – explaining more about the PS5500E.

About the Author: David Graves