Why Flash Storage Is a Must-Have for Virtualization

In the previous post, we discussed why all-flash storage is no longer a niche product. The dropping price of flash has greatly expanded the use cases for which all-flash arrays are considered a viable option. In addition, storage investments are now largely performance-driven to ensure that modern business applications are properly supported, which tips the scales in favor of flash. Not only does flash storage deliver many times the performance of spinning disks, but flash controllers are optimized to prevent performance bottlenecks. As a result, more organizations are replacing disk storage with all-flash arrays, particularly in highly virtualized environments.

As organizations seek to virtualize more of their servers and desktops, legacy storage infrastructures are often the biggest obstacle. Many organizations struggle to find the right balance of capacity, cost and performance, which is understandable when you consider the random I/O levels that must be supported as more virtual machines (VMs) are deployed.

The random I/O requests generated by servers running mixed workloads are difficult for spinning disks to handle. Hard disk drives are almost constantly rotating back and forth looking for data, adding milliseconds to read/write processes. This uneven workload mix, sometimes referred to as the I/O Blender effect, puts a strain on the storage infrastructure.

Storage performance and capacity issues in virtualized environments are often byproducts of traditional storage infrastructures that were built for more consistent, physical workloads. VMs compete with each other for limited resources, making virtual workloads more difficult to manage.

The storage problems associated with virtualization cannot be effectively addressed by simply adding hard disk drives. In fact, this is more likely to lead to overprovisioning, which just adds cost, waste and management complexity without solving the underlying problems.

All-flash arrays provide a significant return on investment in highly virtualized environments. They eliminate the need to pay for more spinning disks that must be powered and cooled, meeting storage demands without expanding the storage footprint. Flash also enables you to add more VMs per server, creating a more densely packed environment that better utilizes physical server capacity. Fewer hosts means lower costs and additional justification for the investment in all-flash arrays.

EMC’s all-flash solutions for virtual storage infrastructure – XtremIO, VMAX All Flash, and Unity – consolidate variable workloads and deliver predictable performance and scalability, regardless of load conditions. XtremIO uses a balanced, scale-out architecture and uniform resource utilization to support the performance demands of volatile workloads. Using multi-engine scale-up and scale-out architecture, VMAX All Flash delivers high performance and scalability for petabyte-scale virtual environments. Unity seamlessly integrates with VMware and Hyper-V systems to simplify the deployment and management of the virtualized environment.

Traditional disk storage is simply not a viable solution for highly virtual infrastructures. Let us show you how the EMC family of all-flash products supports the modern data center environment so you can maximize application performance and user productivity.