We’ve been talking a lot lately about “The Big Problem” facing virtualization projects, which is the need to virtualize the often-overlooked storage tier when desktops and servers are being virtualized. Many organizations have fallen into the trap of totally overhauling their existing hardware storage infrastructure in order to accommodate large-scale projects, at great expense both financially and in terms of IT efficiency.
One example that stuck out to me was in a recent article by CMIO Magazine in which a New York-based rehab hospital spent $450K and three years implementing a storage disk array to facilitate the use of electronic medical records (EMRs).
The CIO of the hospital was dealing with 500 users with more than 1,000 devices on its network across 15 buildings, spanning a 60-acre campus. One of main problems he was facing was that his 10-person IT staff had 30 projects going on simultaneously and the server-attached storage environment was on its last legs with no real disaster recovery or virtualization capabilities in place. The issues he was trying to solve were to 1) add storage accessibility and restore data; and 2) ease the impact of new deployments on his over-taxed IT staff.
After purchasing a new three-tiered storage system from Compellent for nearly half of a million dollars, did the management of the storage infrastructure get easier? You be the judge:
“During the first year of implementation, Burke installed the initial layer of storage disks (at 4.5 terabytes each), fiber switches, a tape library (which catalogs data during the day) and the tape servers. The second year included the installation of production servers, DR enclosure and an additional 6 terabytes of space. Year 3 installations included the view environments and a contracted reseller to handle the management of the system. The system contains a 30- to 40-server farm with approximately 75 view clusters.”
That sounds like a whole lot of time and effort spent to get the storage infrastructure set up and a whole lot of servers, disks, and switches that now need to be managed by the IT staff.
Storage virtualization software takes advantage of the existing (and what some might consider archaic) storage infrastructure in place, and repurposes it to vastly improve capacity and accessibility. And it takes way less than 3 years to implement too!