Jean-Francois Marie (France): The Good News, Mr. Customer, is...

Even if server virtualization market is really mature, there are a still a lot of customers who have not yet made their choice. We used to see about 50% of our market in a decision process. It is quite easy to understand that for many companies, and more specifically in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) segment, it is a huge effort. This is not just about choosing a piece of software to run on a powerful server, but it is a complete reshaping of IT architectures. IT experts have to manage change in such different areas as server, storage, backup, networks, etc.

We still see a lot of specialists telling us that fiber channel is the only good choice – but in this post I will demonstrate that this is not entirely true.

SMEs have an average demand of between 50 and 300 Virtual Machines, and a simple calculation may provide clear guidelines to open minds.

Let’s go for it: let’s assume we run a P2V from 300 systems with 6 RAID 5 protected internal drives at 10krpm. Thus, we have 5 data drives delivering a maximum of 100 IOPS per drive. Many customers see between 5% and 20% of load on their backend disk drives; let’s take an average of 10%.

In summary:
5 x 100 x 10% = 50 IOPS per server
300 x 50 = 15000 IOPS for 300 servers or virtual machines
Any single 8 Gbps Fibre Channel port can handle more than 50,000 IOPS
Any single 10 Gbps Ethernet port can handle easily more than 100,000 IOPS

Aggregation of 1 GbE Ethernet ports can also handle this load. So Fiber Channel is not the only choice – far from it, in fact.

It is the same with NetApp arrays. Even the entry level FAS2040 has this ability and fits the need.  As part of our DNA, any protocol is served equally on any controller, which allows us not to concentrate on plumbing: drives, controller type, network, protocol, etc. We can really build new types of architecture, leading our customers to think differently and make their IT ready for tomorrow.

So it is not just a matter of protocol choice; it is all about data protection.

So in conclusion: The good news, Mr. Customer, is that you really have the choice! Your protocol choice is the criteria, you lead the way and you are not obliged to choose based upon constraints given by some hardware vendors with limited abilities in their systems.

By Jean-Francois Marie, Systems Engineering Technical Leader, NetApp


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