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GCN : February 2013
Because the characteris- tics of networks, servers and client systems in the physical infrastructure are well understood, matching storage with requirements has become a rela- tively mundane exercise. Not so in the virtualized infrastructure. "Storage is still the Achilles' heel for any virtualization solution," said Paul Schaapman, a solutions architect at CDW-G. "If you don't design it properly, with the right amount of [input/output operations per second] built in to match the demand of the server groups that are going to be put online, then you will get in trouble." Peak demand is what you need to architect for. As agencies vir- tualize servers and desktops and provide shared services across various jurisdictions in the en- terprise, that generates different types of workloads that would normally have their own resources dedicated to them and that are now competing for access to shared resources. That produces very different behaviors than are found in the physical environment, with re- quests for resources colliding in ways completely different from the ways classical design criteria pre- dict. And what that means is that people architecting the virtualized infrastructure have to take a totally different tack from the "naive ap- proach" they used in the physical environment, where they felt they could simply plug in low-cost stor- age capacity as needed. "They've been surprised how much storage has to do with speed and how fast responses are in the virtualized environment and what it means to the reliability of results," said Augie Gonzales, director of product marketing at DataCore Software. "So they've learned that part of the transition from the physical to the virtual world is that success is driven by what kind of shared storage infrastructure you put together for both environments as you are cutting over." Avoiding contentions will be- come even more important as the number of virtual desktops increas- es. At certain times during the day --- for example, in the early morn- ing --- a large number of people will "boot up" their virtual desktops all at once, causing a rush of requests to the servers that provide their desktop images. As virtualization proliferates throughout the enterprise, it cre- ates an increasingly complex envi- ronment that has to be monitored and managed at various levels. It could be, however, that stor- age might be an answer to a lot of performance problems in the virtualized infrastructure. Because applications and workloads that operate within virtual machines are moved from one physical server to another through the virtualized storage infrastructure, it could become the traf c cop mediating such things as dynamic resource scheduling and failover. Sponsored Report VIRTUAL INFRASTRUCTURE If you want virtualization success, look to storage FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to GCN.com/2013VirtualInfra 2. The advance of virtualization puts the focus on infrastructure needs 3. Desktop virtualization has its own infrastructure needs 4. IT skills needed for virtualization are familiar but different 5. The benefits for virtualization are obvious but still need to be sold Other Virtual Infrastructure Report Articles