The three steps to becoming a data centre superhero

Many people are looking towards a summer filled with superhero movies, but saving the day is an all-too-familiar feat for today’s storage IT admins. They might not have superpowers, but they have a storage system to manage and face a daily battle when it comes to latency and performance issues.

The IT admin is the first point of call when it comes to troubleshooting errors, increasing performance and reducing downtime. Keeping a data centre running smoothly is very much the job of an IT hero.

The biggest challenge admins face is that conventional storage is ill-equipped to deal with virtualisation because it is built for physical workloads. Today, about 75% of all workloads in modern day data centers are virtualised and this number is only expected to grow.

> See also: Why all industries should consider modernising their data centres

If companies have gone virtual but storage is still using LUNs and volumes, it will drive IT admins virtually insane. Any superhero needs to be able to offer speed, order and performance – and it’s no different for an IT admin in the data center.


Just like a superhero, IT admins need to offer guaranteed performance and speed. Heroes don’t show up at the end once the fight is over: they’re there to save the day in the nick of time, and not a moment too late.

When it comes to running a data centre, performance and speed are essential and the last thing employees want is to be tied down with latency concerns. But managing and provisioning storage built for physical workloads within a virtual environment is time consuming and complex – even for the most well equipped IT hero.

Conventional storage mixes the needs of multiple virtual machines (VMs), which creates contention. But armed with storage for virtual environments, IT admins can provide each VM with its own lane for predictably fast performance, which is exactly what the IT hero needs.

Without the limitations of traditional, physical first storage, IT admins can operate six times faster. Operating in LUNs and volumes slows the entire process down and can act as a bottleneck when it comes to data center requests.

Architecting, provisioning and maintaining VDI solutions with legacy storage systems requires many hours of administration.

However when you’re drowning in numerous requests, time is very much of the essence. Using traditional SAN or NAS with VDI storage architectures requires multiple datastores for storing base and replica images, OS disk, persistent disk and disposable disk on different storage tiers. This is too much for any IT admin to handle.


What IT admins need is a tool that allows them to manage those critical VMs easily, while eliminating the guesswork of Quality of Service (QoS) settings. The trouble with conventional QoS is it works at the volume level.

Consequently when you set a minimum, a maximum or a worst input output per second (IOPS), you can only do so for an entire LUN or volume and all the dozens of very different VMs inside get the same level of QoS.

By now it’s clear that traditional storage is the nemesis of every IT admin battling through performance and latency issues on a daily basis. Just like any enemy, they need to be removed from the system.

VM vision

Creating order is all any superhero hopes to achieve: removing LUNs and volumes (villains) and operating in a system built for today’s workloads is the first step to a utopian data center. A data center in which admins can provide performance, scalability and speed (while still having time to make a cup of tea) is a dream for most.

> See also: Architecting modern data centres: how to use SDS in hyper-scale environments

Storage which provides each VM with its own I/O lane allows application and optimized performance so IT admins can see right down to the granular level and operate with clear visibility.

The mismatch between traditional storage and virtualisation has caused unstructured data center problems, but with each VM in its I/O lane, an IT admin can quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot any errors.

The key to being a successful storage hero is to know exactly which villains you are dealing with and to manage every individual VM’s needs. IT admins require the correct storage to manage any data center.

To be a hero, an IT admin doesn’t need to fly into burning buildings or foil an evil mastermind’s plans for world domination. All an IT admin needs is to be able to guarantee performance, speed and order. How difficult should that be?

Sourced from Mark Young, Director of Systems Engineering EMEA, Tintri

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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