Yes, this week is VMworld in Cannes, so many of us bloggers will be commenting on the developments and announcements that always are associated with these industry events.
Today's post is chock-full of detail.
Forrestor released a useful survey "Storage Choices In Virtual Environments" that provides a great deal of insight as to exactly where is VMware in enterprise deployments.
First Things First
Excuse, me, but I just have to get the obligatory comments out of the way.
From the EMC press release:
According to the survey 48 percent of respondents chose EMC as their brand of networked storage for virtual servers – nearly two times more prominent than the next closest storage provider.
The next closest vendor was used by only 25 percent of survey respondents. Additionally, 63 percent of the respondents prefer to buy from a single storage vendor which illustrates that buyers show a preference for working with a single storage vendor.
For customers using Fibre Channel to support their virtual server environments, EMC was used by 51 percent of respondents, more than two times greater than the next vendor.
My take? When VMware becomes a critical part of the enterprise IT landscape, people are turning to EMC first.
Some people assume that's a given, and point to our ownership stake in VMware. Sorry to disappoint, but there's no free ride on this one -- It's one of the most level vendor playing fields in the industry, based on my experience.
EMC has to earn each and every implementation win just like every other storage player.
Enough said for now ...
Now, Let's Dig In
I found the survey responses very enlightening, as they speak directly to the state-of-the-state in VMWare deployments.
The first -- and most obvious question was "what phase are you in?". 78% of respondents said "production". Clearly, we're way past the tire-kicking stage on this technology.
The second question gives a bit more insight around workloads. If you look at the chart, you'll see some serious workloads starting to show up, like Oracle, DW, email and a few others. Not surprising, but good confirmation of what we've been seeing here for a while.
The third question ("which technology are you using?") drew a somewhat predictable 98% for VMware, and 17% for the next closest: Hyper-V. Of course, multiple responses were accepted. From what I see, there's a lot of Hyper-V eval going on, but not a lot of production these days.
And, Now, For What's Important
Perhaps the most insightful question was the "what's important to you?" question.
The number #1 priority was "maintaining high performance" which was ranked in the top 3 by over 50% of the respondents.
Now, that makes utter pragmatic sense to me. Consolidate a bunch of physical servers onto a virtualized one, and if you don't deliver the same performance as before, users complain bitterly and things become more problematic if you're trying to accelerate VMware deployments.
Sure, you need fast storage -- hence the preference for native FC in many of these environments. Indeed, when Chad speaks of the value of EFDs (enterprise flash drives) as providing "I/O dedupe" in highly virtualized environments, he's got an interesting point, even if it's down the road for most people.
I think EMC does extremely well along these lines -- even without EFDs!
But there's more -- customers need tools that correlate virtualized applications with virtual machines and their storage resources -- and that's where EMC has invested heavily to provide the tools to discover, correlate and pinpoint potential performance problems.
The number #2 priority was "completing backups on time", which over 20% of the respondents listed as either their first or second priority.
Again, no surprise. Consolidate a bunch of physical server backup jobs onto a virtualized one, and you now have a bigger backup challenge than before.
I think EMC is doing well for customers on this topic. First, EMC Avamar is still a white-hot product in VMware environments, providing "can't be beat" deduplication and integration. We complement that with our DL3D line of disk libraries, as well as NetWorker for combining different styles of data protection.
Perhaps the most important EMC offer here is DPA -- Data Protection Advisor -- powerful management software. I think making the backup administrator's job easier and more efficient in a virtualized environment is a big win.
And There's More ...
It's a pretty good writeup, and probably worth the download.
I found one specific finding quite interesting: the fact that 63% of the respondents had selected a single storage vendor to work with. Now, we all know about the continual back-and-forth discussion around single vs. multivendor environments, but I guess in this particular case results matter most.
The storage protocol discussion was interesting as well. I do have to point out that EMC came in #1 not only for FC (as expected), but for iSCSI and NFS as well.
The Best Advice?
My eye zeroed in on this closing quote:
Demand more from your storage vendor in a virtual server environment. Pick a vendor
that offers thin provisioning, has deduplication on the road map, and has documented best
practices in virtual environments.
Server virtualization is likely to be a large and critical partof your overall computing environment, and storage success will help it grow and flourish.
Ifyou’re a large organization, with 50 terabytes (TB) or more of data in the virtual environment,
then you will likely need dedicated arrays for that workload. If so, make sure you pick storage
from a vendor that offers the best set of capabilities to enable virtualization success, even
if it means diverging from the vendors you use currently. The benefits of specialization are
likely to outweigh those of consistency, especially as the virtualization environment grows.
If you’re a smaller shop, with 20 TB to 100 TB of total storage capacity, then consistency and
functional convergence make more sense.
I think that's perhaps the most interesting insight here -- customers are starting to think about their VMware environments as their next-gen IT platform.
And it's showing no signs of slowing down ...