White Paper. Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions. 89 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor. New York, NY

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1 89 Fifth Avenue, 7th Floor New York, NY White Paper Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions August 2013

2 Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2013 Edison Group, Inc. New York. Edison Group offers no warranty either expressed or implied on the information contained herein and shall be held harmless for errors resulting from its use. All products are trademarks of their respective owners. First Publication: August 2013 Produced by: Abby Christopher, Analyst; Barry Cohen, Editor-in-Chief; Manny Frishberg, Editor

3 Table of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Benefits of the Right Primary Storage for Virtualization... 2 Key Criteria for Choosing a Primary Storage Solution for Virtualization... 3 Importance of Choosing the Right Storage Solution... 3 Why HP Storage for Virtualization?... 5 HP MSA Storage... 5 HP MSA 2040 Feature Highlights... 6 HP MSA 2000 Highlights... 6 Conclusion... 7 Resources... 8

4 Executive Summary A Techaisle survey published earlier this year showed that 38 percent of small and midsize businesses (SMBs) count their virtualization projects as only partial successes. 1 Successful virtualization projects depend heavily on the underlying storage subsystem that supports the virtual servers. To increase the success of virtualization projects, it is critical to appropriately size a storage subsystem for both performance and capacity, as well as evaluating the data protection scheme for virtual machines (VMs). As small to midsized businesses grow, IT must deliver core applications and services such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, ERP, and others to more users, customers and strategic partners. Quick, reliable access to these applications is critical. Although many storage vendors claim that their entry-level products support virtualization, not all primary storage solutions are alike. Specific features for virtualization can drive big benefits in virtualized environments. Moving from direct attached storage to shared storage arrays can and should be easy, and will ultimately contribute significantly to the efficiency and performance of virtualization projects. This paper is intended for non-it professionals and IT generalists at SMBs who influence, recommend, and/or make the final decision on IT investments. Target organizations are beginning to outgrow their traditional IT infrastructure and need guidance on setting long-term IT strategies, especially around selecting the best primary storage solution. This paper focuses on SMB storage solutions for virtualization environments. 1 3 Reasons SMB Virtualization Projects Fail, Kevin Casey Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 1

5 Benefits of the Right Primary Storage for Virtualization In traditional IT environments, applications are installed on physical servers. This approach creates captive resources such as compute and storage dedicated to single workloads. This architecture is quickly giving way to virtualized IT where the resources are pooled and more efficiently allocated to the applications as needed. The evolution of hypervisors, a software application which removes the lines between physical IT resources, has been the key driver of the wide adoption and success of this new IT strategy. While traditional IT strategies have leveraged individual servers with their own dedicated storage resources, newer virtualized approaches require the transition to shared storage. Shared storage ensures application availability in the event of a server or infrastructure failure. Overall, SMB IT organizations seek the following benefits by adopting server virtualization: More efficient utilization of resources, servers, storage and supporting infrastructure. Simplicity of management derived from centralization. IT flexibility and agility to react to changing business requirements. Reduced overall risk of application downtime and data loss. Shared storage also offers other significant benefits: Improved performance and availability. Virtual machines (VMs) on different host servers can dynamically leverage a single storage pool. VMs can be migrated seamlessly and transparently from one host to another without service interruption. Some server processing and traffic can be offloaded to the storage array. Consolidated backups and other data protections schemes are centralized. Integrated disaster recovery functionality simplifies setup and testing. Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 2

6 By investing in the right primary storage for virtualization, SMBs can dramatically improve access time, availability, scalability and storage efficiency leading to lower costs and an overall successful virtualization project. Key Criteria for Choosing a Primary Storage Solution for Virtualization In a virtualized environment, SMB customers need to deploy the right IT infrastructure. There are a handful of key criteria for choosing the right primary storage solution to support a virtualized environment, one that will meet the expanding IT needs of SMBs: Cost, efficiency, and value. Simple deployment and management. High availability and predictable I/O performance. Scalability and flexibility. Full hypervisor integration. These criteria will all impact the level of success and benefits that a customer experiences when virtualizing. Importance of Choosing the Right Storage Solution Choosing the right primary storage solution is critical to ensuring a successful transition from traditional to virtualized IT. A mistake in storage solution selection can cost an SMB time and money, and possibly put the overall availability of the company s applications at risk. Having affordable, yet reliable and highly available storage is critical in a virtual environment, because many virtual hosts share the same storage. While it is important to have storage that is always available, it is just as important to have storage that can handle the unpredictable and dynamic workloads common in a virtual environment. The workloads presented to a storage array are highly randomized in a virtual environment, as VMs across multiple hosts are all generating workloads on a single shared storage device. As a result, storage bottlenecks can impact the performance of all VM workloads. In order to prevent such bottlenecks, it is important to choose a primary storage solution that delivers efficiency and high performance. Tracking and predicting peak and steady-state workload levels will ensure that SMBs can size and model the new virtualized workloads appropriately. This is especially important because in the new virtualized environment, these workloads will be housed centrally, rather than being distributed. Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 3

7 The amount of data generated, processed, and stored by most organizations will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Many SMBs struggle to plan proactively for the demands that additional growth will put on their infrastructure. According to a report published earlier this year by IDC, from 2011 to 2016, demand for data storage will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 53 percent. 2 In order to ensure optimal application performance and the ability to grow a virtualized environment easily, SMBs should choose a primary storage device that can easily is scalable and capable of meeting current and anticipated needs for capacity and performance. Facing financial constraints, many SMBs do not have big budgets to support their virtualization initiatives. Therefore, it is important to select a storage device that fits within their budget while not requiring compromises on features, performance, or availability. Likewise, since many SMBs manage and maintain their infrastructure using IT generalists, part-time outsourcers or even employees who toggle between their main jobs and IT, storage needs to be as simple and easy to manage as possible. When faced with adding to an IT infrastructure, the temptation may be to solve only today s problems without looking to future application and system requirements. In virtualized environments this can prove disastrous, because insufficient storage performance, data protection and backup can leave SMBs vulnerable to poor-performing virtualized applications, service disruptions, and even the loss of business-critical data. Edison recommends estimating data growth, and obtaining storage that can fulfill current needs as well as scale-up in the future. By systematically tracking data growth, SMBs can make strategic IT investments while allowing for growth in the future. If the process seems daunting, SMBs can consult partners and solutions providers to help them choose the right storage solutions, to help make their virtualization projects successful, and ultimately to ensure that their businesses thrive. 2 Storage for Big Data: Insight Into Usage Patterns, IDC report published in April Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 4

8 Why HP Storage for Virtualization? HP has long been recognized by such research firms as IDC as an industry leader in storage solutions for organizations ranging from SMBs to large multinational enterprises. For SMBs deploying server virtualization solutions, HP can deliver all of the pieces to the virtualization puzzle. HP offers integration tools to simplify management and deployment with its ProLiant servers, and supports a wide range of hypervisors. HP s Insight Control software management tool supports servers, storage, and networking from inside the virtualization management console. HP Storage solutions for virtualization are tightly integrated with leading virtualization software, such as VMware vsphere and Microsoft Hyper-V, and are designed to deliver high-performance, high availability, efficient storage utilization, and simplified management for virtual server environments. HP has a full suite of tape, tape automation, and disk-based data protection systems that support the latest technologies such as deduplication. HP Storage solutions also feature integration with Business Continuity/Data Recovery (BC/DR) tools for virtualization to provide end-to-end data protection. The foundation of any server virtualization deployment is its primary storage infrastructure. Its breadth of products enables HP and its partners to help small and midsize sized businesses invest in the right strategic storage system for any virtualization project. HP Primary Disk Storage for SMB Virtualization Solutions HP MSA Storage The foundation of HP s shared storage solutions is the Modular Smart Array (MSA) product family. The MSA family is comprised of an entry level MSA 2000 and the higher performance MSA Both the MSA 2000 and the MSA 2040 storage systems are designed for and fully integrate with the industry s leading hypervisors to allow SMBs to virtualize and protect their applications cost-effectively. Both the MSA 2000 and the MSA 2040 can expand and scale as SMBs infrastructure needs evolve. When servers and primary storage for virtualization become overloaded or need updating, the HP MSA 2000 or MSA 2040, coupled with hypervisors from leading Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 5

9 vendors, make it easy to move VMs among servers and manage shared storage resources. Both the MSA 2000 and the MSA 2040 also support third-party software, including data protection tools such as VMware vcenter Site Recovery Manager. HP also supports hypervisor integration features such as off-loading, which can improve hypervisor performance and dramatically decrease wait times. HP MSA 2040 Feature Highlights With the MSA 2040, HP is the first vendor to offer an affordable, primary storage system designed for virtualization. The MSA 2040 supports as 8/16 GB Fiber Channel host interconnect technologies. The MSA 2040 supports up to 96 large form-factor (LFF) hard drives or 199 small form-factor (SFF) hard drives to meet expansion requirements as requirements change. Additionally, the MSA 2040 supports solid-state drives (SSDs) delivering enterprise system class I/O performance for the most demanding workloads. As SMBs grow, the HP MSA 2040 can expand to support the number of VMs running per server to help maximize server utilization and minimize VM deployment costs. The performance-optimized controller architecture offers up to four times the performance of other vendors entry-level SAN arrays. HP MSA 2000 Highlights The MSA 2000 provides a lower price point than the performance-oriented MSA 2040 but still delivers the core features needed for SMB virtualization projects. The MSA 2000 offers five dedicated controllers with 8Gb FC, 6GB SAS, 1GB or 10GbE iscsi connectivity options. The MSA 2000 supports up to 149 SFF drives or 96 LFF drives. As requirements grow, MSA 2000 users can easily migrate to the new MSA 2040 architecture using a unique data-in-place upgrade feature, simply moving disk drives into the MSA 2040 chassis, eliminating painful and risky data migrations. Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 6

10 Conclusion HP s MSA 2040 and MSA 2000 storage systems for small and medium-sized businesses offer: Full certification for use with server virtualization software, with many of the same features and advanced integration tools found in high-end or mid-range arrays. High availability: fast, consistent access to data, applications, and services, ensuring productivity, responsiveness, and service reliability for virtualized applications. Scalability and expandability, and high capacity. A low cost/performance ratio. The breadth and depth of the HP portfolio, including the ProLiant server line and higher-end scale-out storage systems, which give SMBs the option to scale their IT infrastructure with HP. Strategic investments in IT, including virtualization projects and the storage infrastructure, play critical roles in the success and growth of small and medium-sized businesses. HP MSA 2040 and MSA ensure that SMBs, their employees and customers have fast and reliable access to applications and services with high availability. These easy-to-use, easy-to-manage storage solutions help SMBs establish credibility and competitiveness in the market. Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 7

11 Resources HP Storage for Virtualization Solutions: HP MSA Storage: HP MSA 2000: HP MSA 2040: 4AA4-6608ENW&doctype=data%20sheet&lc=en&searchquery=&jumpid=reg_r1002_usen_c- 001_title_r0004 HP Solutions for SMBs: 4AA4-8069ENW Edison: Fueling Successful SMB Virtualization with Smart Storage Decisions Page 8

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