News
10/7/2009
02:50 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Understanding Storage Performance

For most storage managers improving storage performance is an endless loop of upgrades that are taken until the problem goes away. Understanding where to look and how to configure the environment is often a series of "best guesses" instead of a thorough understanding of it. In today's economy best guesses are not allowed. Making the right move, the first time, is critical.

For most storage managers improving storage performance is an endless loop of upgrades that are taken until the problem goes away. Understanding where to look and how to configure the environment is often a series of "best guesses" instead of a thorough understanding of it. In today's economy best guesses are not allowed. Making the right move, the first time, is critical.The first step, as always, is to understand the nature of the problem. Do you really have a storage performance issue or do you have a bad application? Nearly everything you do to the storage infrastructure to improve performance is going to cost money and in some cases a lot of money. Before you spend that money you want to make sure you will see a difference. Unfortunately confirming that an application really could take advantage of more storage performance is sometimes hard to prove. You can start with some of the steps we discuss in our "Visual SSD Readiness" guide where we talk about using utilities like PerfMon to determine if the application is building up enough storage I/O requests to validate a higher drive count or if the performance issue is more of a response time issue and needs to be addressed by adding faster drives or solid state disk technology.

Beyond these basic system utilities there are tools available from companies like Confio and Tek-Tools that can analyze storage performance from the application itself, through the server, through the network and on to the storage. Creating a complete picture has great value when trying to prove that the application is truly in need of greater storage performance or if better programming can be applied.

Once it is determined that the application could take advantage of improved storage performance there are several areas to look at; wider storage bandwidth, faster storage controllers and of course faster and higher speed drives. While there is no correct order to follow in bandwidth upgrades, in most cases the first attempt is to add more and higher speed drives. This can have unpredictable results. Instead performance has to be examined holistically.

In most cases storage bandwidth is not the problem, most SANs today are at 4GB and will slowly be migrating to 8GB or 10GB FCoE over the next few years. As we discuss in "What's Causing the Storage IO Bottleneck?" the storage controllers themselves can also be the performance bottleneck either through too much processor load managing the array or through bandwidth into and out of the controller head. Finally of course there are the drive mechanics themselves. As mentioned earlier, based on queue depth or response time, adding more or faster drives can solve the problem.

Over the next few entries we will take a deeper dive into each of these issues. For now know that understanding storage performance is more than just throwing drives at the problem and that evaluating the whole storage infrastructure is required to address storage performance without breaking the budget.

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

Subscribe to our RSS feed.

George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-1421
Published: 2014-11-25
mountall 1.54, as used in Ubuntu 14.10, does not properly handle the umask when using the mount utility, which allows local users to bypass intended access restrictions via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-3605
Published: 2014-11-25
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: CVE-2014-6407. Reason: This candidate is a reservation duplicate of CVE-2014-6407. Notes: All CVE users should reference CVE-2014-6407 instead of this candidate. All references and descriptions in this candidate have been removed to pre...

CVE-2014-6093
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM WebSphere Portal 7.0.x before 7.0.0.2 CF29, 8.0.x through 8.0.0.1 CF14, and 8.5.x before 8.5.0 CF02 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-6196
Published: 2014-11-25
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in IBM Web Experience Factory (WEF) 6.1.5 through 8.5.0.1, as used in WebSphere Dashboard Framework (WDF) and Lotus Widget Factory (LWF), allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML by leveraging a Dojo builder error in an unspecified WebSp...

CVE-2014-7247
Published: 2014-11-25
Unspecified vulnerability in JustSystems Ichitaro 2008 through 2011; Ichitaro Government 6, 7, 2008, 2009, and 2010; Ichitaro Pro; Ichitaro Pro 2; Ichitaro 2011 Sou; Ichitaro 2012 Shou; Ichitaro 2013 Gen; and Ichitaro 2014 Tetsu allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted file.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?