Industry Analysis: How to Address Shared Storage Cost-Effectively

Virtual Storage Appliance For Distributed Sites

Shared storage, whether it be networked attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN), has become an essential component of any IT environment - large or small. While the cost of shared storage technology has dropped significantly over the last 10 years the costs of physical storage solutions are still prohibitive in achieving remote site redundancy. In addition to high Capex and Opex costs, the complexity of implementing and managing physical storage solutions can be daunting for even the most seasoned IT professionals.

Shared storage, whether it be networked attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN), has become an essential component of any IT environment - large or small. While the cost of shared storage technology has dropped significantly over the last 10 years the costs of physical storage solutions are still prohibitive in achieving remote site redundancy. In addition to high Capex and Opex costs, the complexity of implementing and managing physical storage solutions can be daunting for even the most seasoned IT professionals.

In most instances the storage capacity available internal to the physical hosts will suffice for supporting on-site applications. The challenge for organizations managing multiple remote sites is that physical storage solutions require high capital investment for acquisition, deployment, management and maintenance. These physical solutions re-introduce complexity into virtualized environments and are a single point that introduces higher risk of extended downtime.

StorMagic's SvSAN is a virtual storage appliance (VSA), designed for VMware ESXi environments, which through its intuitive vCenter based interface leverages internal server disk and direct attached storage and presents them as shared data storage pools. 

Utilizing iSCSI, the SvSAN presents the shared storage to both servers in the ESX cluster while maintaining a synchronous, active-active mirror across the cluster for redundancy and high availability. With its support for vMotion, application administrators can dynamically migrate virtual server workloads to new vm’s while retaining access to the data in the SvSAN shared datastore.

In addition to obviating the need to purchase a SAN, SvSAN is the only VSA that doesn’t require a third server locally to manage fail-over across an ESXi cluster. This provides additional hard dollar cost savings and further simplifies infrastructure management. 

SvSAN can be deployed in a single site, however, the major benefits of the solution are seen across multi-site deployments. The SvSan can be monitored and managed from a single remote VMware vcenter, enabling centralized management of all virtualized server and storage resources. StorMagic claims the simplicity of the SvSAN interface enables storage administrators to create and share data stores across vms in about 15 minutes and with scripted deployment functionality can achieve this across multiple distributed sites overnight with minimal impact on IT resources.

While SvSAN could certainly be an attractive option for small to medium sized businesses, it holds particular appeal to large corporations that need to contain costs to support storage deployments in multiple remote sites. Even modestly priced SAN and NAS devices could represent a significant capital outlay if they need to be procured in very large quantities. 

IT managers are continually being chastised by senior management for spending too much on storage. In fact, with average storage utilization rates hovering between 30-60%, it is not surprising that IT organizations are being told to hold the line on spending and use the storage that’s already on the floor. StorMagic’s software approach for reclaiming stranded islands of disk may just be the prescription businesses need to satisfy management edicts while meeting the shared storage requirements of growing VMware environments in remote sites. 

StorMagic’s SvSAN is best suited in multi-site environments where simple remote site redundancy is important but can be used selectively in large data center environments to satisfy more modest application storage requirements. The SvSAN can also be used as the central storage management platform for SMBs that need a reliable shared storage pool for VMware based applications. In short, StorMagic’s offering can be viably used wherever there is an untapped surplus of storage.

Author: Anonymous

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