News
10/9/2009
10:06 AM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Understanding Storage Bandwidth Performance

Storage bandwidth is the connectivity between servers and the storage they are attached to. When it comes to understanding storage bandwidth performance you have two challenges to deal with. The first and most obvious is can the storage get the data to the application or user fast enough? The second and less obvious is can the applications and hardware those applications run on take advantage of that bandwidth?

Storage bandwidth is the connectivity between servers and the storage they are attached to. When it comes to understanding storage bandwidth performance you have two challenges to deal with. The first and most obvious is can the storage get the data to the application or user fast enough? The second and less obvious is can the applications and hardware those applications run on take advantage of that bandwidth?For most data centers we can get more than enough storage bandwidth performance. There is 8GB fibre, 10GB FCoE and 10GB Ethernet. The first step should be to make sure that the application can take advantage of that performance if you upgrade to it, if not then don't. This is one of the reasons why smaller environments are served just fine by iSCSI even on 1GB connections, for them that bandwidth is good enough.

Understanding the speed at which I/O is coming out of the server to the storage connection is key. Again as mentioned in our last entry, some of the built-in utilities with the OSs can give you this information. As the environment gets more complicated, server virtualization for example, then we suggest using tools that can give you a more accurate determination like those from Akorri, Virtual Instruments or Tek-Tools.

In addition to the application, you also need to examine the server hardware itself. Does it have the CPU power and memory size needed to get the data requests to and from the storage network? In most cases the chances are yes. If you have an application that needs high I/O you have already upgraded the server hardware.

In the case of virtualized server environments, can that storage bandwidth be channeled or better allocated? Server virtualization changes the rules. Instead of a single server accessing storage or the network through a single interface, now you have multiple servers all accessing storage simultaneously. As we discussed in our article "Why Quality of Service is Even More Important in a Virtual Environment", optimizing high bandwidth in virtual environments may be better served when priorities can be given to each virtual machine.

When it comes to I/O at the storage system most systems today have multiple connections leading up to the switch infrastructure, or in the case of clustered storage the connections to the switch infrastructure scale as more storage is added. It is important there is plenty of bandwidth to the storage controller since it is likely to receive storage requests from many servers and virtual machines simultaneously. Most storage managers overbuy on storage system bandwidth and it is typically not the primary issue in the performance loop.

The disadvantage to this is that you are often paying for bandwidth that you will never use or at least not until a future date. Ideally, you should be buying just the bandwidth you need today and then upgrading it when you need it. This is one of the deliverables of clustered storage systems like those from 3PAR, Isilon and HP's Lefthand Network's because bandwidth can grow as you need it, providing maximum flexibility and CAPEX optimization.

Clustered storage also plays a big role in addressing the next area of performance concern, the storage controller itself, which we will discuss in our next entry.

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
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
DevOps’ Impact on Application Security
Managing the interdependency between software and infrastructure is a thorny challenge. Often, it’s a “developers are from Mars, systems engineers are from Venus” situation.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2227
Published: 2014-07-25
The default Flash cross-domain policy (crossdomain.xml) in Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Video (formerly AirVision aka AirVision Controller) before 3.0.1 does not restrict access to the application, which allows remote attackers to bypass the Same Origin Policy via a crafted SWF file.

CVE-2014-5027
Published: 2014-07-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Review Board 1.7.x before 1.7.27 and 2.0.x before 2.0.4 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a query parameter to a diff fragment page.

CVE-2014-5100
Published: 2014-07-25
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in Omeka before 2.2.1 allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) add a new super user account via a request to admin/users/add, (2) insert cross-site scripting (XSS) sequences via the api_key_...

CVE-2014-5101
Published: 2014-07-25
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in WeBid 1.1.1 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) TPL_name, (2) TPL_nick, (3) TPL_email, (4) TPL_year, (5) TPL_address, (6) TPL_city, (7) TPL_prov, (8) TPL_zip, (9) TPL_phone, (10) TPL_pp_email, (11) TPL_authn...

CVE-2014-5102
Published: 2014-07-25
SQL injection vulnerability in vBulletin 5.0.4 through 5.1.3 Alpha 5 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the criteria[startswith] parameter to ajax/render/memberlist_items.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Sara Peters hosts a conversation on Botnets and those who fight them.