The Shortcut Guide to Balancing Storage Costs and Performance with Hybrid Storage

by Dan Sullivan


The past several years have witnessed rapid changes in the way IT services are delivered. Virtualization is commonly used to improve the efficiency of both compute and storage services, and the advent of software-defined networking is bringing the benefits of virtualization to network services. A new generation of tools for analyzing large volumes of data are becoming established as common parts of enterprise IT infrastructure. Employees are using their own tablets, smartphones, and laptops for work-related activities, driving the adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure and related services. Although these changes are pushing the established boundaries of different parts of IT operations, they share a common characteristic: These changes place increasing demands on IT service providers to increase levels or application and storage performance or at least maintain existing levels of performance in the face of increasing demand.


The Shortcut Guide to Balancing Storage Costs and Performance with Hybrid Storage is designed to help systems architects, IT managers, and directors understand their options when it comes to deploying flash storage technology in their environment. This guide is divided into four chapters, each of which addresses a relevant aspect of flash technology and hybrid storage.


Chapter 1: Advantages of Hybrid Storage

In this first chapter, the focus is on the advantages of hybrid storage and the need to balance the benefits of flash performance with the additional costs relative to disk storage. The chapter also addresses requirements for effective and efficient hybrid storage deployments.

Chapter 2: Hybrid Storage for Virtualization

IT departments across the globe are under constant pressure to deliver consistent high-quality services and respond to changing demands of dynamic business environments all while cutting or controlling costs. A common approach to meeting these challenges is virtualization. This approach to cutting costs is enabled by the dramatic increase in performance of multi-core CPUs.


If CPU performance were the only critical element to overall virtualization performance, the work life of systems and application administrators would be much easier than it is in reality. The problem is that storage performance is also a key factor to overall application performance in a virtualized environment.


In this chapter, the focus shifts to the benefits of hybrid storage in virtualized environments. In particular, this chapter addresses: mixed-workload server virtualization, VDI, and the benefits of hybrid storage for mixed-workload server virtualization and VDI.

Chapter 3: Hybrid Storage for Database Servers

Databases are critical components of many enterprise applications. For decades, database administrators have struggled to tune database management systems in order to meet business requirements for performance and consistency. Complex software, such as database management systems, is difficult to tune because so many factors contribute to performance. Database systems make heavy use of persistent storage systems for application data as well as supporting data, such as indexes and transaction logs. As a result, the overall performance of a database server is strongly shaped by the performance of the storage system.


This chapter focuses on the storage systems for database servers. In particular, the chapter addresses: business requirements of database servers, performance impact of disk-only storage systems on database performance, and the benefits of hybrid storage for database performance. Hybrid storage systems can help businesses achieve their database performance requirements without incurring excessive costs or significantly disrupting current operations.

Chapter 4: Best Practices for Deploying Hybrid Storage

Hybrid storage offers the combined performance benefits of flash storage along with the cost efficiencies of disk-based storage solutions. Throughout, this guide has considered the advantages of hybrid storage, the use of hybrid storage to improve virtualization performance, and the benefits of hybrid storage in database applications. The benefits of hybrid storage apply to many types of workloads and applications, however, it is important to remember that there are multiple ways of implementing hybrid storage. Chapter 4 turns attention to best practices for deploying hybrid storage.