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PACE your Server Storage I/O decision making, its about application requirements

PACE your Server Storage I/O decision making, its about application requirements

Storage I/O trends

PACE your Server Storage I/O decision-making, it's about application requirements

Regardless of if you are looking for physical, software defined virtual, cloud or container storage, block, file or object, primary, secondary or protection copies, standalone, converged, hyper-converged, cluster in a box or other forms of storage and packaging, when it comes to server storage I/O decision-making, it's about the applications.

I often see people deciding on the best storage before the questions of requirements, needs and wants are even mentioned. Sure the technology is important, so to are the techniques and trends including using new things in new ways, as well as old things in new ways. There are lots of buzzwords on the storage scene these days. But don't even think about buying in until you truly understand your business' storage needs.

However when it comes down to it, unless you have a unique need, most environments server and storage I/O resources exist to protect preserve and serve applications and their information or data. Recently I did a couple of articles over at Network Computing; these are tied to server and storage I/O decision-making balancing technology buzzwords with business and application requirements.

PACE and common applications characteristics

PACE your server storage decisions

A themes I mention in the above two articles as well as elsewhere on server, storage I/O and applications is PACE. That is, application Performance Availability Capacity Economics (PACE). Different applications will have various attributes, in general, as well as how they are used. For example database transaction activity vs. reporting or analytics, logs and journals vs. redo logs, indices, tables, indices, import/export, scratch and temp space. PACE (figure 2.7) describes the applications and data characters and needs.

Server Storage I/O PACE
Common Application Pace Attributes

All applications have PACE attributes

  • Those PACE attributes vary by application and usage
  • Some applications and their data are more active vs. others
  • PACE characteristics will vary within different parts of an application

Think of an applications along with associated data PACE as its personality or how it behaves, what it does, how it does it and when along with value, benefit or cost along with Quality of Service (QoS) attributes. Understanding the applications in different environments, data value and associated PACE attributes is essential for making informed server, storage I/O decisions from configuration, to acquisitions or upgrades, when, where, why and how to protect, or performance optimization along with capacity planning, reporting and troubleshooting, not to mention addressing budget concerns.

Primary PACE attributes for active and inactive applications and data:
P – Performance and activity (how things get used)
A – Availability and durability (resiliency and protection)
C – Capacity and space (what things use or occupy)
E - Energy and Economics (people, budgets and other barriers)

Some applications need more performance (server computer, or storage and network I/O) while others need space capacity (storage, memory, network or I/O connectivity). Likewise, some applications have different availability needs (data protection, durability, security, resiliency, backup, BC, DR) that determine various tools, technologies and techniques to use. Budgets are also a concern which for some applications meaning enabling more performance per cost while others are focused on maximizing space capacity and protection level per cost. PACE attributes also define or influence policies for QoS (performance, availability, capacity), as well as thresholds, limits, quotas, retention and disposition among others.

Where to read, watch and learn more

Storage I/O trends

What this all means and wrap up

The best storage will be the one that meets or exceeds your application requirements instead of the solution that meets somebody else's needs or wants.

Ok, nuff said


Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.