ESG Lab Video Summary: NexGen Storage: Delivering QoS with VMware vSphere 6 VVols
ESG Lab Analyst Mike Leone discusses ESG's recent hands-on testing of the NexGen Storage N5 Hybrid Flash Arrays

Aug 05, 2015

ESG Lab Analyst Mike Leone discusses ESG's recent hands-on testing of the NexGen Storage N5 Hybrid Flash Arrays —with a focus on how the vendor delivers predictable and prioritized performance in virtualized environments

For more information, please read the related ESG Lab Review: NexGen Storage.

Video Transcript

I'm ESG Lab Analyst, Mike Leone. For the next few minutes I'll recap the results of our recent hands-on testing of the Nexgen storage N5 hybrid flash array with a focus on how the vendor delivers predictable and prioritized performance in virtualized environments. With data growing at an increasing rate, organizations are looking for any way possible to consolidate their IT infrastructures. Virtualization technology has helped to accelerate that consolidation but new challenges related to provisioning, management, support, and performance have presented themselves.

For storage performance specifically, virtualized environments present an interesting challenge with multiple applications consisting of different workloads and different performance requirements all accessing the same underlying storage. A lot of organizations try to address this potential problem by over-provisioning storage, but that can get expensive pretty quickly, and it works more like a Band-Aid approach rather than a permanent future-proof solution.

VMware virtual volumes, or VVols, look to address this performance challenge by turning the focus to the virtualized application as opposed to the physical infrastructure. As part of vSphere 6, VVols provide VM-aware VASA-enabled storage that provide granular control of VMs to help improve utilization, provisioning, and management. VM storage policies can be automatically adjusted at real-time based on things like capacity, performance, and availability requirements making the storage just as agile as the VMs themselves 

NexGen N5 hybrid flash arrays deliver cost effective, fast performance from mixed application workloads in consolidated and virtualized environments. And they do this by combining PCIe flash, SaaS disk drives and storage quality of service to give organizations predictable and prioritized performance for their virtualized mission critical applications.

We tested the functionality of NexGen's QoS to show how you can achieve predictable performance for mission critical applications. We ran three virtualized application workloads and injected a 4th to see the impact it would have on the other three. The key takeaway here was that performance of the mission critical application went unhindered during the injection.  When the same scenario was tested on a traditional hybrid storage array without QoS, the three primary workloads saw degradations of as much as 30%.

We also tested the performance impact of changing a QoS policy on the fly. As you can see, the result is a real-time change in performance leading to a consistent experience for IOPS and latency. And it's important to mention that the change happens without the need for storage Vmotion or long migrations.

We audited performance benchmarks run by NexGen to quantify the VM density and ROI organizations can expect when they're leveraging NexGen's QoS.  When we compared NexGen to a leading mid-range array, we saw an increase of more than 4x in VM density as a result of NexGen's PCIe flash integration and a 5-fold increase in VM density performance when we added in QoS. 

For the final phase of testing, we assessed how VVols are integrated with the NexGen storage product, taking SAN and NAS-attached storage and turning it into VMware storage. NexGen's taken the benefits of VVols, specifically the simplicity of provisioning and managing storage on a per VM basis, and applied NexGen's industry proven storage quality of service and service levels. Using VMware vSphere we configured a VVol data store and VM storage policy and then mapped that storage policy to a NexGen storage QoS policy. Then we created a new VM and applied the newly created VM storage policy with NexGen QoS. Once deployed we navigated to the VMware vSphere user interface and the summary tab showed the newly created VM as well as a VM storage policy window that had the selected VM storage policy for that particular VM.

So why does all this matter? By leveraging its purpose-built software architecture to address value driven data management priorities, NexGen's simplifying the operational model of virtualized infrastructures through QoS and policy-based management so organizations can better align their business priorities and SLAs with their business. NexGen has integrated with VMware vSphere 6 and VVols to offer the ability to assign NexGen's QoS directly to individual VMs stored in VVols. This enables organizations to define business storage priorities associated with specific virtualized applications and manage those priorities on a per-VM basis.

That said, the combination of NexGen's storage and QoS capabilities with the application centered VVol framework will offer organizations the flexibility, agility, and granularity required to manage a growing virtualized infrastructure. If you're looking to dynamically manage application performance based on well-defined QoS policies that better align customer expectations with application performance SLAs, ESG Lab suggests taking a look at NexGen storage. If you'd like to learn more. read the full report on ESG's website.