I Want It All, And I Want It Now! Breaking the Iron Triangle of Storage

IRON! A wonderful word that is used just as frequently metaphorically as it is used literally. It denotes an unyielding and robust strength that will not be broken.

  • Ol’ Ironsides
  • The Iron Curtain
  • The Iron Lady
  • The Iron Sheik (Still, hands down, the best wrestler of the ‘80s. If you disagree, I will camel clutch you at GalaxZ!)

However, when it comes to storage, the Iron Triangle of “Fast, Good, and Cheap…Pick Two” has been broken thanks to software-defined storage (SDS) and the menagerie of storage deployment and configuration options that can be tailor fit to your environment.  

SDS is stellar because it provides an approach to data storage where the programming that controls storage-related tasks is decoupled from the physical storage hardware itself. A big piece of this is tiering, which automates the sorting and storage of data to move data files, volumes or blocks between storage tiers according to defined policies. A generic SDS tiering structure will look similar to this:

  • Tier 0 for critical/immediate data needs
  • Tier 1 for primary/regular use data
  • Tier 2 for secondary/occasional use data
  • Tier 3 for archival/cold storage – (Your old pet pictures and Steely Dan MP3s)

When it comes to storage options, we have to start with the old faithful: the “legacy” storage solutions made up of spindles and spindles of spinning platters. Like tears in the rain, these arrays are beginning to fade away due to the decreasing price of all-flash storage. However, as an intermediary step to all-flash arrays, we have often seen teams introduce hybrid storage solutions as a stepping stone before moving to all flash.

Hybrid storage systems blend flash-based solid-state disk and mechanical disk drives in an effort to provide a suitable mix of performance, availability and capacity within a tolerable price range. But, with downward price pressure of its underlying components, all-flash arrays are becoming the go-to option for new on-premises storage deployments.  

The November 2017 IDC WW Enterprise Storage Market reported: “The total All Flash Array (AFA) market generated just shy of $1.6 billion in revenue during the quarter, up 38.1% year over year. The Hybrid Flash Array (HFA) segment of the market continues to be a significant part of the overall market with $2.3 billion in revenue and 19.1% of the total market share.”

Apart from the on-premises options, there are also a multitude of public cloud storage services available from all the major players. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) all offer in-depth object, file and block storage services with the requisite speed and security needed to be safe, secure and scalable.  

Storage is the keystone to your infrastructure. When it’s running well, widgets can be made, orders can be processed and recorded, data is available to employees to perform their daily tasks, and developers can develop, test and deploy applications. Whatever needs to be done done can get done. But when storage is down, everything grinds to a halt.  

Zenoss provides the proactive insight to ensure that does not happen. Whether your storage is on-premises, in the cloud or a hybrid of both, the ZenPack catalog has a ZenPack to monitor your storage infrastructure.  

We recently released a ZenPack for XtremIO, Dell EMC’s high-volume, high-capacity all-flash enterprise storage platform. Apart from the ability to quickly visualize the status, health, performance and capacity of the XtremIO components, the ZenPack also provides built-in service impact and root-cause analysis capabilities for services running on Dell EMC XtremIO, so you can quickly resolve potential problems and minimize downtime.  

When coupled with our Capacity ZenPack, we can examine historical data consumption and current usage patterns by applying forecasting algorithms to provide insight to stay ahead of capacity issues before they occur for your XtremIO array.  

Your storage is a critical pillar to your infrastructure, so don’t be caught off guard when it comes to storage capacity, health and performance.  Zenoss is here to help — ask us for a demo so we can show you how to stay ahead of the curve.