Traditional storage and over provisioning.

Every day we find ourselves talking about brand spanking new storage technologies but, when I visit customers, I find out a quite different world!

Last week i was in a meeting with a new potential customer (now he owns a traditional SAN environment) and I was a bit surprised by this phrase: “I over provision storage by creating big LUNs so i don’t need to deal with them afterward!“.

Wow! I can translate with: “Over provision is the easiest way to cut my TCO!” Now, after thin and fat LUNs we have Obese LUNs!

Yes, this customer buys more storage then needed because he has not enough resources to manage it and he prefers to allocate “obese LUNs” to have few objects and risks about growing data. The same customer doesn’t use snapshots or any other tools since he finds them very limited and not fit for his day by day work.

I can add more, He is not alone! There are a lot of people frightened by obsolete traditional storage: complex to use, poor and bad implemented features. scary!

Over provisioning is a technique widely used if you haven’t an easy to use storage system capable of thin provisioning and other shiny features. You are forced choose between overprovision or spend a lot of time and money to manage “cold activities”: restripes, LUNs expansions,LUNs migrations, not to talk about copies of data for backup/clone or other issues.

How over provisioning works? it depends, each customer has his own method but, in general, i find the following rules widely used:

  • Try to think about your needs between now and the end of the project or a very long period of time (3 years?) then allocate, at least, 30% more space than needed to be sure!
  • If you are not confident about 30%, look back in your story to find the last migration experience due to lack of storage capacity and add other space!
  • If your application is business or mission critical, and you can’t stop it never (or just when the rest of the world is on holiday!) then double the capacity allocated, no one will stop you!

OK, I’m kidding. But, sometime reality is more realistic than fantasy!

Now this customer is annoyed by his traditional storage vendor, he wants more from the storage, he needs to work with storage and he plans to replicate data among sites. He is looking for something new! He is looking for something new like Compellent! 😉


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