Server virtualization is being deployed by a growing number of organizations to lower costs, improve resource utilization, provide non-disruptive upgrades, and increase availability. Each benefit is fundamentally enabled by de-coupling servers, applications, and data from specific physical assets. Storage virtualization takes those very same benefits and extends them from servers to the underlying storage domain—bringing IT organizations one step closer to the ideal of a completely virtualized IT infrastructure. But while the benefits of a completely virtualized infrastructure are obvious to most IT managers, performance and manageability are real concerns.
The Dell PowerVault MD36X0f is a modular data storage system with balanced mixed workload performance and a rich set of application aware management tools. The MD36X0f uses the latest 6 Gbps Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) interface for the back-end connection to disk drives and a flexible set of front-end server connectivity options. The high performance 8 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) host attach option provides connectivity for applications with high performance and availability requirements. SAS, which has traditionally been used for an affordable connection to entry level disk arrays (often referred to as “just a bunch of disks,” or JBOD), is also supported for high speed, low cost host connectivity.
This ESG Lab report explores the capabilities of a Dell PowerVault MD36X0f Series storage system deployed in a consolidated virtual server environment with a focus on the value of predictably balanced mixed application performance and application aware storage management plug-ins.