Bad UI is often accepted in the enterprise. But Erik Ableson argues that bad UIs can be bad for business and operations. In this case, he looks at how the use of color can be misleading for thin provisioning.
Virtualization of server, network, and storage services illuminates the link between physical resources and functional applications. A running virtual machine can instantly move from one server, network adapter, HBA, or LUN to another. And when it happens, traditional components have no idea how to react.
What happens in the telephone game is that a little bit of information gets lost at each step along the path, and at the end of the chain you’ve basically lost all the information. And this happens all the time in computers, especially in data storage. Thin reclamation is the core technical challenge to thin provisioning, and the telephone game is the reason.
One of the biggest problems for thin provisioning is not the provisioning part: It’s fairly easy for a storage array to allocate on request: “I need a block; here’s some data I want you to write.” And the storage array just starts allocating, and allocating. But, the operating system never goes back and says “I don’t need that block anymore.”
Why do we care about thin provisioning? Because storage is not getting cheaper. If you went to buy a disk ten years ago, you’re going to spend about the same as would today, but you’re going to get a lot more capacity – a lot more capacity! The fact that we have terrible utilization of enterprise resources is really not helping us, and it’s not getting any better. It hasn’t improved because they are “doing storage” the same way.
I’ve never been a fan of thin provisioning as a storage management tool. Don’t get me wrong, I love having thin provisioning in my toolkit to overcome the limitations of conventional filesystems. Thin provisioning just gets under my skin when folks try to use it to solve business problems like long deployment time and slow purchasing cycles. If you attended any of the thin provisioning sessions I’ve presented at Storage Decisions, Interop, E-Storm, or elsewhere then you’ve heard my wistful dreaming of real automatic provisioning without the hackery of thin provisioning systems. But perhaps I didn’t mention that actual automatic provisioning actually exists today! It’s one of the many things I love about API-driven cloud storage!
As Compellent, a sponsor for Gestalt IT’s Tech Field Day Seattle, interviewed me for a post on their blog, I thought it would be fun to turn the tables and interview them right back! You will notice some similarity in the questions and answers – this was entirely coincidental, since we did not see each other’s answers prior to submitting them! Following are three questions answered by Compellent Director of Corporate Communications, Liem Nguyen. Read my answers over at Compellent’s Around the Block blog!
The lack of VMware VMFS support in the Drobo is disappointing, but using DroboPro with Hyper-V is much more rewarding. Thin Provisioning is back on the agenda; Hyper-V uses NTFS to store hypervisor guests, making it perfect for use with DroboPro.
The Gestalt IT Field Day was a great success in bringing together a mixture of delegates from varying discplines. Following the presentations from 3Par and Symantec, there was heated debate about the implementation of Thin Provisioning and the ability to reclaim released storage resources. This post covers the basic concepts of Thin Provisioning and more […]
EMC’s Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST) was one of the most welcome annoucements made during the Symmetrix V-Max introduction. It would be a significant modernization of EMC’s Symmetrix line, and would be one of the first unique features of the Symmetrix V-Max line. But many, including me, were disappointed to learn in May that FAST […]