Virtualization Creating Storage Opportunities for the Channel
IT history can arguably be defined by the movements of bottlenecks. Every time there is an advance in one area it tends to create a bottleneck somewhere else that needs to be addressed by new technologies. There’s no better example of that today than virtualization.
As IT organization get more comfortable with virtualization they are discovering that when 10 to 20 virtual machines start to access shared storage resources application performance starts to diminish. The reason for this is while many of them may have invested in new servers to host those virtual machines, storage was an afterthought. Now many of them are realizing they need new storage systems that were designed from the ground up to support virtual machine environments.
According to Craig Nunes, vice president of marketing for HP Storage, this is creating a significant opportunity for channel partners to sell new storage systems at a time when not only the number of virtual machines per server is steadily increasing, the sheer volume of data that needs to be accessed is ballooning.
To address that opportunity Hewlett-Packard today rolled out this week an HP Get Virtual Guarantee Program that promises to improve server virtualization performance by doubling the number of VMware virtual machines that can be supported on a server that is connected to HP 3PAR storage.
The HP Get Virtual Guarantee Program promises qualified participants a minimum of two times increase in virtual server density by doubling the total virtual machine workload on existing physical servers. If that virtual server density is not achieved, HP will provide participants with the disk capacity and related HP software and support necessary to achieve those guaranteed results. To qualify for the program customers must be running an HP 3PAR Storage System configured with HP 3PAR Optimization Suite Software and HP 3PAR System Reporter Software in addition to VMware vSphere version 4.1 or higher.
Nunes says HP can make this commitment because of the HP 3PAR Gen4 ASIC processor technology that enables automatic load balancing, wide striping and a Mesh-Active clustered architecture that collectively optimize storage performance in virtual machine environments.
Regardless of the storage approach that solution providers ultimately decide to put in front of their customers, storage I/O issues are starting to reach critical mass. Once that they solve that problem, there’s any number of virtualization related opportunities for solution providers, not the least of which is how to manage virtual machines at scale.
But before customers want to hear about how to more effectively manage virtual machines they are going to want someone to solve their virtual machine performance issues. That may require a little bit of diplomacy given the fact that the people responsible for virtualization, servers and storage are not always on the same page in larger organizations. In fact, it’s that lack of coordination that most often created the opportunity for the solution provider in the first place.
In the meantime, solution providers just might want to take an inventory of their customers’ virtualization environments because it really is just a matter of time before they have a significant problem.