Why storage is a lot like toilet paper

toptoiletpaper2I heard a great analogy in the office the other day when we were discussing storage requirements.

“Storage is like toilet paper, everyone needs it. You can either go for cheap stuff that does the job but can cause some pain, or the super soft luxury quilted one.”

This saying couldn’t be closer to the truth in the storage world.

We all need storage, it’s a fact. In this virtualised world, whether your infrastructure is on premise, in the cloud or you are just starting out your virtualisation journey. What type of storage you go for is the billion dollar question.

Here is my list of things to think about when looking at your storage requirements:

  1. IOP’s– This is the fundamental requirement from your storage. You will need to provide the right speed disks to support the applications and workloads you wish to run on it. Getting this wrong could be very costly.
  2. Connectivity – Getting the correct storage fabric is key to performance and support of the infrastructure. iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCoE all have their benefits and pitfalls aswell as their price tag.
  3. Resiliency – Is the storage resilient in its connections, controllers, disk shelves? Can you lose a NIC and continue functioning? Can you lose a controller? Or a disk without it affecting performance?
  4. Scalability – Is your storage going to last? Are you able to expand this solution without the need to pay expensive upgrade costs? Are you able to simply add arrays or shelves of disks when you require?
  5. Vendor support – This is one that should not be overlooked. How quickly can/does the vendor respond to support requests? Let’s face it, without the storage infrastructure you have no data. You need to know the vendor is there to respond, analyse and fix errors within your system.
  6. Features – This is often placed at number one. In reality this is the last thing you should be thinking about. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important the storage has the features you require but all of the above are far more important.

Features the storage array may include are thing such as:

  • Replication
  • Snapshotting
  • Thin provisioning
  • Cloning
  • Integration into virtualisation software

There is a lot to think about. So going back to my original point – like toilet paper they all do the same thing like toilet paper, it’s what you want from it that matters!

Author: Craig Inskip, Infrastructure Consultant

Craig is qualified in numerous technologies and is interested in bringing new technology to our clients. He came to Foundation IT through one of its clients, which gave him a great insight into how things work from both sides of the fence. Outside of work Craig enjoys going to the gym and playing cricket when the weather permits.


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