Thin Provisioning of Your Storage Infrastructure
Thin is in, i.e. thin provisioning for storage infrastructure is in and is a hot topic in the tech world. Many documented studies agree that being fat, especially around the middle, is not healthy. Yes I said fat, which I think is different than overweight. Muscle weighs more than fat, so a very muscular person would be well over the “normal” weight for their height. Weight is different than fat. Too much fat is unhealthy in a number of ways. And, even a person of normal size could have a fat percentage detrimental to their health - clogging up their arteries, reducing the effectiveness of their organs, or contributing to heart failure.
So, again, thin is in, but not just in terms of a person’s physical health. Think about the recent history of manufacturing and technology. There are dozens of examples where going thin has reaped benefits. For example, the ability to make anything thinner, while retaining the expected performance, translates into greater efficiency and increased value. Without getting thin we’d still be using vacuum tubes and relays. F1 race cars would be hundreds of pounds heavier, and digital watches would be huge and weigh about a pound like the first LED watches did back in the 70’s. Disc storage systems can benefit from “thin provisioning.”
Fat vs. Thin Provisioning of Storage Infrastructure
Thin provisioning is another example of how thin beats fat every time. In traditional storage systems, storage space is allocated manually by system admin folks, based on perceived needs of performance or capacity (or sometimes just plain old paranoia – they don’t want to get caught “under-provisioned”).
This not only results in wasted time and productivity from the sys admin, it also REALLY screws up the efficiency of the storage infrastructure. A typical system uses only 25% of its storage capacity, because space has to be over-provisioned to accommodate every possible circumstance. The result is a lot of capacity sitting there idle,for the most part not being used as a system resource at all.
In an article in Storage Magazine, survey results by Glasshouse Technologies reported the following:
"The average site assigned just 75% of their storage to hosts, left 36% of that unavailable to applications and only used 39% of what was usable. So a typical host might have 500 GB of external storage, 375 GB in volume groups, 240 GB in file systems and just 93 GB used." 93GB / 375GB = 24.8% utilization.
What’s behind the problem?
Users over-request capacity
Want to avoid any disruption to their application
- Want to avoid any disruption to their application
Some applications don’t meet growth expectations
Storage is or cannot be reallocated
- Storage is or cannot be reallocated
Administrators buffer users’ requests
Want to avoid future downtime and reconfiguration complexity
- Want to avoid future downtime and reconfiguration complexity
Storage vendors must push capacity
- Entire business model of most storage vendors hinges on selling disk drives (HW and SW revenues)
Only have ‘Dedicate-on-Allocation’ technology
Replication of unwritten data
- Most replication SW mirrors the entire base volume - “Copying nothing to nothing”
HP 3PAR to the rescue
Look at it this way: traditional (fat) provisioning allocates space dictated on manual allocation requests while thin provisioning allocates on actual disc write usage.
HP 3PAR storage systems offer thin provisioning, and it’s not just bolted on, but built into the core of the technology. 3PAR thin provisioning is ASIC based, so no processer or cpu cycles are needed, and operates at line speed so no performance penalty.
And instead of inefficient manual over-allocation by the sys admin, the software in 3PAR utility storage systems allocates the space, and does so only in tiny increments when needed, so nothing is wasted.
Liposuction for your storage environment
Thin provisioning is only part of the 3PAR technology story, but it’s an important ingredient in the value and flexibility that benefits users.
And HP is willing to back up the numbers too with the Get Thin Guarantee.
HP offers guaranteed savings of 50% of your total raw capacity when migrating from traditional “fat” storage to “thin” storage on any HP 3PAR Storage System. Make the move to 3PAR Utility Storage as part of your next tech refresh and halve the amount of storage capacity to store your data – or HP will make up the difference with free disc capacity and related software and support.
For more information about Thin Provisioning of Storage Infrastructure, or any Thin Provisioning Storage Infrastructure questions please visit our HP Solution page or email us directly at email@example.com. And be sure to follow us on Twitter @EnPointeTech and Like our Facebook Fan Page for news and updates across the technology industry.