SMEs Bask in Hybrid Storage Benefits of Virtual Environments

By Gina Roos  |  Posted 2013-09-12 Email Print this article Print

IT professionals at small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly using hybrid storage products to improve performance and management in virtualized environments, according to the findings of a new survey conducted by Imation, a data storage and information security company. Titled "State of Storage in Virtual Environments: Insights From the Midmarket," the study also finds that companies that make greater commitments to virtualizing their environments typically see a higher return in terms of storage optimization, performance and operational capabilities. As more storage providers deliver products and software solutions that can be used by companies of all sizes, value-added resellers (VARs) and other solution providers, particularly those that garner the lion's share of their business from the midmarket, will be able to help their customers select the best storage products and strategies for their businesses, while helping them solve their storage performance challenges. This also will translate into more sales of flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs). Channel Insider examines key findings from Imation's survey.

  • "Impressive" Adoption Rates

    Sixty-nine percent of respondents with greater than 250 terabytes (TB) of virtualized storage use or plan to deploy a hybrid storage strategy to meet storage demands of virtual servers. The survey refers to adoption rates of hybrid storage systems as "impressive" because the technology is still relatively new.
  • More Is Always Better

    Companies that have virtualized at least 60 percent of their environment reveal a consolidation ratio (average number of virtual machines per physical server) of 16:1 or greater. In comparison, companies with 20 percent or less of their operations virtualized only achieved an 8:1 ratio or less. A higher consolidation ratio translates into lower costs and complexity.
    2-More Is Always Better
  • More Apps Are Virtualized

    While Websites and databases are common application targets for virtualization, the survey finds that IT professionals are increasing virtualization of more specialized applications, including procurement, accounting and financial management. While this virtualization is occurring at a faster rate at SMEs that have 40 percent or more of their IT infrastructure virtualized, adoption rates are rising at companies with less than 40 percent of their organizations virtualized.
    3-More Apps Are Virtualized
  • Seeking Better Awareness

    Although virtualization tools such as VMware's vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) are said to deliver significant performance and management benefits—speed improvements of up to 80 percent in management operations—80 percent of respondents with less than 20 percent of the data center virtualized didn't have a clue about VAAI. In comparison, about 50 percent of respondents who have virtualized 80 to 100 percent of their environments use VAAI or are considering it.
    4-Seeking Better Awareness
  • Everybody Likes Virtualization

    While it's not uncommon for large enterprises to have strategic deployment of virtualization, the survey finds that midmarket companies are increasingly adopting the technology. The majority of respondents who work at companies with 100 to 1,000 employees have virtualized environments that range from less than 25TB to more than 1 petabyte (PB) of total storage.
    5-Everybody Likes Virtualization
  • What Do IT Professionals Want?

    According to the survey, they want to increase storage capacity and improve performance. The number-one priority of survey respondents centers on improving storage performance via increased storage capacity and the use of hybrid storage. This also entails reducing I/O bottlenecks between virtual machines and storage, improving manageability of virtualized environments and increasing their consolidation ratios.
    6-What Do IT Professionals Want?
  • Virtualization Gobbles Up Flash Storage, SSDs

    Companies of all sizes are increasing their deployment of flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs) under hypervisors to help increase system performance and maintain cost efficiencies—the key drivers behind the virtualization trend. About 35 percent of respondents with greater than 250TB of storage, and more than 15 percent of respondents with less than 250TB of storage in their virtualized environments are adding hybrid storage solutions, including SSDs and hard-disk drives (HDDs).
    7-Virtualization Gobbles Up Flash Storage, SSDs
  • Selecting Vendors by Performance and Price

    Respondents with greater than 250TB of virtualized storage reveal that highest possible performance, price/performance and unified storage systems are the most important factors—in that order—when selecting storage vendors. For respondents with less than 250TB of virtualized storage, price/performance ranks number one, followed by highest possible performance and unified storage systems.
    8-Selecting Vendors by Performance and Price
  • Fibre Channel Rules

    Survey respondents overwhelmingly choose Fibre Channel as their interconnect of choice for virtualized storage. This was followed by iSCSI (35 percent), 1 Gigabit Ethernet (29 percent), 10GbE (24 percent), and several others (all ranked in the single digits).
    9-Fibre Channel Rules
  • VMware Tops Hypervisor Likes for Virtualization

    Sixty-four percent of respondents use VMware VSphere 5 for virtualization, followed by VMware vSphere 4, according to 33 percent of respondents. However, the survey also finds that Microsoft's Hyper-V is gaining ground. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they are using Hyper-V, followed by 18 percent using Citrix Xen.
    10-VMware Tops Hypervisor Likes for Virtualization

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