Saturday, 17 January 2009

NFS 25 Years old and still going strong

NAS with NFS is a perfect storage medium to run your Vmware Virtual Machines on, it is fully supported by Vmware on there HCL and is when benchmarked against FC about 20-25% slower on response time, this is a percentage that when you look at the large percentage of consolidated workload being run in a Vmware environment i.e. Domain Controllers, File Servers, IIS etc this 20-25% figure is nothing to be sniffed if you are willing to push the boundary and move away from comfort zones that have existed previously in Fibre Channel for lower end production workloads and all of your test and DEV environment.

The benefits of using NFS when you look at the overall cost of your storage configuration, taking cost from the actual ESX host requirements for connectivity through to the actual spinning disk to run VM's and it starts to look in the current climate an exceptionally good infrastructure to use and cut costs on physical infrastructure. Also emerging as I have talked about are SAN Appliances or Disk heads which are basically using commodity tin to pool connected storage i.e. SUN Fishworks, EMC Celerra and Lefthand Networks (now HP) . The appliances are also making there way into running within a Virtual Machine environment and consolidating even further.

The sensible winners this year will those that don't knee jerk when designing solutions such as Virtualised environment. When looking at the overall architecture of ESX and Vcenter it's flexibility and functionality gives you the options to move the bar higher when we are out of this mess that the financial geniuses of this world have made for us.

NAS may start to gain respect by architects and techies in the virtualisation space in 2009 because they have no options, it will gain respect with the purse string holders BUT anyone responsible for proposing solutions needs to make them aware of the caveats and differences in technology that we could get away with budget wise 1-2 years ago. They need to raise that
moving towards the end of the year and into 2010 using the great portability options in VMware such as Storage Vmotion to great affect by moving back to storage that is faster and cheaper IS possible and its not just a one way street.

2009 is going to be a tough year financially for organisations, I myself face the same contraints when planning virtualisation needs in 2009 for my organisation as most organisations are for Infrastructure need. I'll be honest I wouldnt have even bothered to look at NAS a year ago, why would I, I could quite easily obtain budget to deploy machines on FC and SATA. However Something that gives me great comfort is that VMware ESX is quite capable scaled and designed and will provide great performance and I have great confidence that VMware labs have made sure this is the case by working with Vendors and doing the hard work for lazy architects like me :) In theory I do the easy bit and make sure that the business need is still suitable to the underlying foundations built for me.


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