Infinite I/O

Why you might not need a new storage array

Posted by Sheryl Koenigsberg on Nov 11, 2014

Inevitably, storage arrays slow down over time.

What begins as a screaming fast solution can get bogged down, either from more workloads than it was scoped to handle, pressure from the consolidation of virtualized workloads, or additional applications or users.

The Hardware Trap


There are several options for you if your storage is slow:

  • Add more drives to your storage arrays.  This can be an inexpensive solution, but adding shelves of drives can increase complexity, as well as power and cooling costs. Eventually storage systems hit a maximum drive count and need to be upgraded.
  • Put SSDs into existing storage systems.   This can add high performance media quickly, but can also exacerbate the problem, as there is a significant amount of overhead associated with efficiently supporting flash devices.
  • Put flash devices into the specific servers that have performance-sensitive applications. This option can address known performance bottlenecks, but it often requires significant manual configuration (like placing certain database tables on a particular device).  

Eventually, most organizations start investigating whether they should replace their array.  Not unsurprisingly, array vendors (both the industry stalwarts and the new entrants) support this option, offering trade-in value for existing arrays and promising orders of magnitude better performance than previous models.  However, these vendors don’t usually remind you of the operational costs of a new array: data migration, learning new snapshot and replication tools, rewriting scripts and reports, and retraining staff.

Enter Software-only Storage Acceleration


At Infinio, we’ve developed an alternative to buying a new storage array – or even the less severe options of buying more drives, SSDs, or flash devices. Our software, one of the leading “storage acceleration” solutions, enables you to leverage the memory, CPU, and networking resources on your application servers to take some of the burden off of storage systems.

With storage acceleration, a significant portion of I/O requests never reach the storage system; instead they are processed on host servers. This means you can continue using your existing storage systems, while your overall storage performance gets better. You can keep your storage systems longer, and delay the costs associated with data migration and operational changes that come with a new array.

When you start to think about what storage acceleration can do for your current infrastructure, you may find several additional benefits: for example, an increase in the number of applications you can support (which can speed virtualization adoption or support business expansion plans) and an improvement in user experience (which can speed VDI adoption).


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Topics: Talking Tech