Perhaps not and you don’t wear running shoes with your dress suit as well, unless you are a Justin Timberlake fan.
Usually we have at least 2-3 types of shoes (could be more and one may have more than one of each type). Each for what it is meant for and based on what type of foot we have. There is no shoe that works for all type of feet, one that we can use for running, for wearing with suits and for our casual wear. If at all there were one, it would compromise on all fronts and risk your health.
Well, this is not a fashion or health related blog. So you know where I am going from here….
I think this applies to the Storage Infrastructure as well. A Storage product (or any product for that matter) that is laser focused on a task can bring in efficiencies that can’t be brought in by any General-purpose storage (or product). You can use a Swiss army knife type of storage for everything in your datacenter but if you are doing that then you are using a product that is compromising on all fronts, forcing you to be conservative, over-provision and spend more in both Capex & Opex trying to fit square peg in a round hole.
One of the arguments in favor of using Swiss army knife type or a General Purpose Storage is that you can save training costs, have the same set of processes across all applications and reduce management costs. Now, whether or not the management costs get reduced can be debated but the TCO is definitely high for these type of solutions.
On the other side, the argument against a specialized product is that, “we don’t want to manage another platform”. But what if the specialized product was smart and adapted to changing needs by itself and required no management?
Tintri’s VMstore is one such product, which is Smart and built specifically for Virtualized workloads with a Flash First File system. It sees at the right level of abstraction (vDisks/VMs), learns the behavior of applications running inside the VMs, adapts to their needs and requires Zero day-to day Management. Deploying a specialized product like the Tintri VMstore that requires Zero Management time, not only brings in efficiencies and newer functionalities but it also ends up saving time and management costs.
As an example, let’s say that the IT team spent 20 Hours in managing the storage infrastructure in a week. Usually, it is much more than that in terms of man-hours, especially if the team has more than one individual but let’s keep it simple for now. So out of the 20 Hours, lets say 70% was spent on storage for Virtual Infrastructure (a simple assumption based on 70% environment being virtualized), which makes it 14 Hours in total. If an additional platform adds to the total man-hours then one will have to weigh the benefits it brings to the table Vs the management overhead. But what if the product brings in a lot benefit to the table and needs zero management? Suddenly the number of hours spent on managing the storage drops from 20 Hrs to 6Hrs. The end result is that you are saving a lot of time that can be spent on doing stuff that aligns to the business needs and not in managing the infrastructure.
Adding in a new product to your datacenter does not always mean more training and more management overhead. A specialized product not only bring in focus and therefore better functionality and less compromises, it also brings in operational efficiency especially if it is Smart enough to See, Learn and Adapt.
So, don’t use a General Purpose Storage for Virtualized Workloads just like you won’t wear your dress shoes when going for a run 😉