How to Build the Ideal Storage Solution, Part 3: “Bring Me Your Applications!”

BigOldStorageSystem(BOSS)

In the first part of this series I focused on the hardware used in Coho Data storage solution, and in the second part I described how Coho Data’s software distributed your data across that hardware to provide both performance and data protection. The table has been set, so let’s bring out the main course for which all of this work has been done:

Your storage should fit your applications instead of fitting your applications to your storage!

Now I’m sure many of you are nodding your heads saying “Duh! Tell me something that I didn’t know!”

But raise your hand if you ever scaled back a project because you knew your array would not be able to handle the ideal application deployment. Perhaps you cut out some redundancy that would require more IOPs that your storage could not provide. Or maybe you don’t have enough storage capacity, because the projected deduplication and compression savings came up short. Regardless of why it happens, we IT administrators are far too familiar with the process of taking that fully redundant and feature rich application architecture and whittling it down to the key essentials. We do not cut back these projects because we want to, but because we know that our current infrastructure could not handle the workloads and that the money is not there to refresh the storage with.

Embracing IT Chaos: Buy What You Need When You Need It

Do you know what applications I am going to be deploying two years from now? Neither do I.

Neither does my boss. Neither does anyone else above my boss know. That might sound like we do not have a plan, but the reality is that no one knows exactly what they need to purchase two years from now.

What we do know is the following:

  • IT is a service provider for the rest of the organization.
  • IT enables end-users by delivering these services via applications.
  • Applications reside on infrastructure provided by IT that must be budgeted for.
  • Application needs will change faster than our traditional hardware refresh cycles can accommodate.

We have witnessed how successful IT departments have become application focused by adopting technologies that are flexible enough to handle the ever-changing applications landscape. We virtualized our servers to abstract them from our hardware. We use server blades to provide hypervisors with, because modular components make inevitable hardware upgrades easier. Our networks have converged to reduce costs for both data and storage needs.

Why should storage be any different?

In an application-driven world your storage should be empowering your infrastructure. The ideal storage solution would not require sizing to fit the application, but instead the ideal storage solution would accept whatever storage requirements the application has.

This is what differentiates a Coho Data storage solution from others; Coho Data’s storage is designed to eliminate storage roadblocks from inhibiting application deployments. There is no need to size a LUN, create a volume, provision a RAID group, or configure disk aggregates with a DataStream storage appliance. Your application is provided with the capacity and performance that you specified during the design phase of its deployment. If you need to grow that solution later you simply connect more appliances.

Do You Own a Crystal Ball?

You probably do not, because crystal balls do not work well for foretelling the future. We simply do not know what we will need a few years from now until a few months or maybe up to a year before we actually need it. The ideal storage solution would not require someone to guess as to how much capacity and performance will be needed for the next three years or more. The ideal storage solution is going to accommodate any application with short notice for the administrators.

So instead of paying more with the hope that you storage solution will be “good enough”, why not spend less and get more from a storage solution designed to take your applications as they are? Why not invest in a storage solution that makes the most out of top of the line commodity hardware, uses cutting edge Software Defined Networking for workload distribution and storage bottleneck prevention, and that allows you to scale as needed to fit your application’s needs?

In other words, why not buy a Coho Data storage solution? We have questioned what is needed to build the ideal storage solution, so contact us today and put our work to the test with your application’s needs.

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