1 Better Virtualization Outcomes with Citrix Essentials for XenServer and NetApp Storage An ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES (EMA ) White Paper Prepared for Citrix and NetApp August 2009 IT MANAGEMENT RESEARCH,
2 Table of Contents Executive Summary...1 Virtualization Benefits of Comprehensive Storage Server Consolidation Reduce Hardware Costs Flexibility and Agility Reduce Downtime Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity...2 Better Virtualization Outcomes with Citrix Essentials for XenServer and NetApp...3 NetApp Benefits for XenDesktop and XenApp...4 Case Study: Citrix and NetApp in the Real World...4 EMA Perspective...5
3 Executive Summary Virtualization delivers many benefits for cost reduction, resource efficiency, and flexibility. However, a comprehensive, centralized storage system is critical to achieving the leading goals of server virtualization, including: Server Consolidation Offloading backup, snapshot, provisioning, etc. onto storage devices reduces server load and allows higher consolidation ratios. Reduce Hardware Costs Eliminating local disks reduces server and power costs, while thin provisioning, image cloning, and data de-duplication reduce storage costs. Flexibility and Agility Central storage, thin provisioning, and image cloning allow ondemand provisioning and migration in response to business needs. Reduce Downtime Offloading storage activity reduces offline time for maintenance (e.g., backups), while live migration can virtually eliminate downtime. Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Centralized storage and cross-site replication allows fast disaster recovery to new systems or entirely new sites. Citrix virtualization and NetApp storage adds substantial and measurable value, drives specific and measurable success, and provides many valuable, unique functions Citrix and NetApp deliver comprehensive, integrated functions for server virtualization and centralized storage management, to deliver these benefits for the Citrix Delivery Center and Citrix Cloud Center solutions, including Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenDesktop, and Citrix XenApp. Guy M. Turner, Inc. exemplifies these benefits, with their disaster-proof XenServer/NetApp infrastructure, consolidating multiple servers, eliminating potential downtime costs of $150,000 per day, improving user experience, accelerating response to business requests, and cutting support costs, all at a third of the cost of alternative solutions. ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES (EMA ) analysts believe the combination of Citrix virtualization and NetApp storage adds substantial and measurable value, drives specific and measurable success, and provides many valuable, unique functions that will help organizations to achieve the leading benefits of virtualization. Virtualization Benefits of Comprehensive Storage EMA research consistently shows that virtualization delivers many benefits for cost reduction, resource efficiency, and flexibility. Indeed, 90% of enterprises report measurable cost savings, and 93% report they are achieving multiple objectives simultaneously 1. However, the best results require more than simply deploying a hypervisor. Of the top 5 virtualization outcomes in EMA research 2, it is clear that all benefit from integration with comprehensive, highly-functional, centralized storage: 1 See EMA Research Report, Virtualization and Management: Trends, Forecasts, and Recommendations, 2 Virtualization and Management: Trends, Forecasts, and Recommendations
4 The top 5 virtualization outcomes all benefit from integration with comprehensive, highlyfunctional, centralized storage 1. Server Consolidation Comprehensive storage devices are able to take over storage-related processing (e.g., storage provisioning, backup migration and replication, image clone management, snapshot management, etc.) with minimal or no use of server resources. This can dramatically reduce server load, which in turn improves resource headroom, allowing a higher server density to improve server consolidation ratios. 2. Reduce Hardware Costs Centralized storage allows servers to use diskless blades, reducing the per-server hardware cost, and reducing power and cooling costs. With a lower processing burden for storage-related processing, less expensive servers (including reclaimed or disused servers) can handle the same workload. With efficiencies like thin provisioning, image cloning, and data de-duplication, overall storage requirement is further reduced, along with associated costs of storage hardware. 3. Flexibility and Agility Central storage allows virtual servers to run on any connected physical server by removing dependencies on local (direct-attached) storage, so workloads can be relocated on-demand using live migration to accommodate variable and peak workloads, ensuring agile response to business needs. Storage efficiency techniques like thin provisioning and image cloning provide additional flexibility benefits, such as faster image deployment in response to demands for new systems and applications. 4. Reduce Downtime Advanced storage systems that can independently manage snapshot, backup, restore, image clone, migration, archive, and storage provisioning activities reduce the amount of time a virtual machine must be offline or inaccessible to users for backup and maintenance. They also reduce Mean-Time- To-Repair (MTTR) by allowing more regular and reliable backups with minimal user disruption, and allowing faster restores in case of data loss or system failure. 5. Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Centralized storage allows workloads to be quickly relocated and restarted, allowing rapid recovery from an individual system failure. Automated cross-site replication allows the same rapid recovery from even larger disasters such as fire, weather events, geological disruptions, criminal acts, or epidemics transparent to the workload itself. This allows fast disaster recovery, and better business continuity.
5 Better Virtualization Outcomes with Citrix Essentials for XenServer and NetApp Citrix and NetApp have partnered to provide a comprehensive solution that incorporates both server virtualization and storage management, to achieve these key objectives. Citrix Essentials for XenServer is a server virtualization solution that incorporates management of both virtual servers and centralized storage. The StorageLink component of Citrix Essentials has specific integration with NetApp storage devices, providing a critical link that exposes NetApp storage management functions directly within the XenCenter console, including: Citrix and NetApp have partnered to provide a comprehensive solution to achieve key virtualization objectives. Thin provisioning allocating only as much storage space as a new system or application actually needs, and when it is needed, instead of allocating a large fixed storage volume immediately, reduces overall storage requirements, lowers storage costs, and improves provisioning flexibility. Dynamic allocation provisioning, resizing, and relocating storage volumes as needed (provided by NetApp s FlexVol technology), allows more efficient allocation of storage resources, and improves the flexibility and mobility of virtual machines and workloads. De-duplication storing data and content items (e.g. shared documents, shared DLLs, or entire common image components) once only, instead of many times, dramatically reduces storage requirements and associated costs (even with VM sprawl driving up server and/or desktop images), and makes backup and replication faster and more efficient. High Availability seamless recovery from failures using shared storage arrays, high availability software, and real-time data replication (provided by NetApp RAID-DP and Citrix Essentials HA), maintains uptime even in the case of system or data failures, allowing seamless continuity of business processing. Backup/Restore offloading backup activity from the server to the storage device using NetApp Snapshots means servers need to do less work, allowing greater consolidation, and less downtime (or slowdown) caused by server-based backup processing. In addition, the NetApp Management console provides access to more advanced storage management features, including: Disaster Recovery high-speed data and backup replication (including to offsite facilities) as provided by NetApp SnapMirror allows rapid recovery of data, and failover to an alternative site in case of disaster, all without adding to server workloads. These capabilities directly contribute to the top 5 virtualization goals. Without them, more (and more powerful) servers are needed; storage requirements are higher; mobility of workloads is reduced; backup and recovery is slower; the risk of outages increases; provisioning is slower; and applications are unavailable for longer. Further, NetApp guarantees improved storage efficiency for Citrix environments, promising a 50% storage reduction when using both NetApp controllers and storage devices. 3 3 For details refer to NetApp s website, NetApp Virtualization Guarantee Program, retrieved August 2009.
6 NetApp Benefits for XenDesktop and XenApp The NetApp storage features enabled by StorageLink are also significant in XenDesktop deployments running on XenServer or Microsoft Hyper-V. Most of the specific benefits apply equally (or even more so) to virtual desktop images as they do to virtual server images. Faster backup and recovery, faster provisioning, and reduced server workload are just as important. Efficiencies achieved by deduplication, thin provisioning, dynamic allocation, and image clone management are even more important in the virtual desktop environment, which typically has hundreds or even thousands of times the images of a server environment. Similarly, the NetApp adapter for StorageLink provides significant benefits for XenApp deployments running on XenServer or Microsoft Hyper-V. For example, deduplication will greatly reduce the storage costs of thousands of copies of identical application components, highly available storage will help to maintain virtual application availability, shared storage will make applications available anywhere a user needs them, and high-speed replication will allow fast disaster recovery for virtual application environments. Case Study: Citrix and NetApp in the Real World EMA spoke with one company that has experienced the benefits of Citrix XenServer and NetApp integration first-hand. Steve Miller is the IT Manager at Guy M. Turner, Inc., a North Carolinabased transportation company. When the company owner learned that a colleague almost lost his business due to a fire, he challenged Miller If we had a fire, what would we do? Could we recover? Could we continue to run the company? 90% of the things you can do in VMware, you can do with XenServer [at] a third of the cost. Comparing apples to apples, the cost was just a lot more with EMC, and Compellant was 3 times as expensive as NetApp. Miller chose Citrix XenServer and NetApp storage to provide a highly available infrastructure for their mission critical systems. We were going to refresh our servers anyway, so instead of going server for server, we decided to put in virtual servers, and establish a DR site. With a sunk cost in a new regional facility in Atlanta, Miller looked at third-party warm sites, and it was just more costeffective to do it in-house. We looked at VMware, says Miller, but 90% of the things you can do in VMware, you can do with XenServer. The things that it didn t do, with us being a small facility, were not a big deal. But it was a third of the cost of VMware. On the storage side, says Miller, it came down to EMC, NetApp, and Compellant. Comparing apples to apples, the cost was just a lot more with EMC, and upfront Compellant was within a couple hundred dollars, but annualized it was 3 times as expensive as NetApp. With an independent downtime cost estimate of $150,000 per day, says Miller, When we presented that to the owner, and the cost of the solution, he just said to do it. It wasn t a hard sell. One immediate benefit was consolidation from 6 servers running financials, document imaging, ERP systems, database servers, file/print servers, and virtual desktops (using Citrix XenApp) down to just 2 physical servers running 6 Citrix XenServer virtual machines. They have reduced
7 cooling and power costs, and cut provisioning time down to 30 minutes, from a best-case scenario of 3 days and a worst case of 2 full weeks. With faster provisioning for servers and storage, easy centralized storage management, and a single administration interface, they have also decreased support effort and cost. More efficient servers with more processing headroom, rapid provisioning for test and development, and easier (and more reliable) restore of lost or accidentally-deleted user data also improves their end-user experience. More importantly, says Miller, they have a disaster-proof infrastructure. We do snapshots every hour, and push those to our Atlanta office. If this was a smoking hole in the ground, we could be back online in about an hour. Before we put this solution in place, it would have taken us 2-3 weeks to get everything back up. EMA Perspective EMA research has shown consistently that server virtualization has multiple objectives and goals. Indeed, organizations that look beyond simply server consolidation routinely achieve many significant outcomes to reduce costs and improve service efficiency. However, inefficient or inadequate storage systems will quickly reduce, or even eliminate, many of the potential benefits of virtualization. As a result, it is difficult and in many cases impossible to achieve the many critical goals of server virtualization without implementing a comprehensive, centralized storage system. Similarly, without integrating advanced storage efficiency technologies like thin provisioning, dynamic allocation, de-duplication, snapshot management, image clone management, high-speed replication, and backup migration, many core virtualization objectives will be at best underachieved, and at worst unachieved. Conversely, the integrated server and storage virtualization management, provided by Citrix and NetApp, provides many valuable and unique functions that will help organizations to achieve the top five benefits of virtualization, and to avoid the most important reasons for failing to achieve those goals. The outcome of Enterprise Management Associates analysis and the real-world example of Guy M. Turner is clear: This unique combination of Citrix virtualization and NetApp storage adds substantial and measurable value, and drives specific and measurable success.
8 About Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Founded in 1996, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is a leading industry analyst firm that specializes in going beyond the surface to provide deep insight across the full spectrum of IT management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solutions to help its clients achieve their goals. Learn more about EMA research, analysis, and consulting services for enterprise IT professionals and IT vendors at or follow EMA on Twitter. This report in whole or in part may not be duplicated, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or retransmitted without prior written permission of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. All opinions and estimates herein constitute our judgement as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. EMA and Enterprise Management Associates are trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. in the United States and other countries. EMA, ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, and the mobius symbol are registered trademarks or common-law trademarks of Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. Corporate Headquarters: 5777 Central Avenue, Suite 105 Boulder, CO Phone: Fax:
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