News

3/30/2010
11:20 AM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Get To Know The Storage I/O Chain

Storage performance problems are often circular challenges. You fix one bottleneck and you expose another one. You can't really fix storage I/O, all you can do is get it to the point that people stop blaming storage for the performance problems in the data center. Getting there requires knowing the storage I/O chain.

Storage performance problems are often circular challenges. You fix one bottleneck and you expose another one. You can't really fix storage I/O, all you can do is get it to the point that people stop blaming storage for the performance problems in the data center. Getting there requires knowing the storage I/O chain.This is the sequence of components that start at the application and work their way down to the physical storage device. And this is a challenge automated tiering systems (ATS) face. These are solutions provided by vendors to attempt to solve storage I/O performance problems. They typically will move data based on the access frequency of that data. The more often the data is accessed the faster tier of storage the data is placed on, eventually landing on solid state disk (SSD).

The less accessed that data is the slower tier of storage that data is placed on, eventually landing on SATA based high capacity hard drives. There is little doubt that ATS will play an important role in the evolution of data center storage and the optimization of that resource. It is however just one component of the storage strategy, especially when it comes to performance.

Each component in the I/O chain needs to be measured and monitored to see if it can justify the investment that ATS and/or SSD are able to give it. Can the application generate enough simultaneous requests? Can the server process all those requests and get them on the NIC fast enough? Can that data travel across the connecting framework, through the switches maintain performance until it reaches the controllers in the storage system? Any break along this chain may obviate the value of ATS.

Ideally you want to upgrade just the right components to just the right level of performance to fix those issues. Determining what components should be upgraded and to what level requires tools to make those decisions. Interestingly most performance upgrades in data centers are more of a "cross your fingers and hope this fixes the problem" type of solution. Just throwing hardware at the problem leads to massive under-utilization and wasted resources.

Tools are needed that can monitor storage I/O performance from the application through the server (virtual or physical), through the HBA card, through the storage infrastructure and on to the storage system. This may even require physical tapping of the environment to get the exact performance benchmarks you need to make those decisions. While investments in these sorts of tools means an investment of precious IT budget dollars, when done as a first step it can avoid unnecessary upgrades and make sure that those upgrades you do implement will perform exactly as expected.

Track us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/storageswiss

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Word Vuln Went Unnoticed for 17 Years: Report
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/14/2017
Companies Blindly Believe They've Locked Down Users' Mobile Use
Dawn Kawamoto, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/14/2017
121 Pieces of Malware Flagged on NSA Employee's Home Computer
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/16/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Managing Cyber-Risk
An online breach could have a huge impact on your organization. Here are some strategies for measuring and managing that risk.
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Cloud Security's Changing Landscape
[Strategic Security Report] Cloud Security's Changing Landscape
Cloud services are increasingly becoming the platform for mission-critical apps and data. Heres how enterprises are adapting their security strategies!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.