Simplifying Storage Chargeback/Showback with Tintri – Part 2 (Capacity)

In the first post of this three part series, we discussed the challenges around Storage Chargeback and Showback in traditional environments. This post will focus on the Capacity based Model for Chargeback/Showback and how Tintri brings in more accuracy and value add to the model.

As we all know (by now – refer my other blog posts), Tintri doesn’t use a LUN/Volume abstraction layer like traditional storage platforms. LUNs/Volumes were designed for physical environments and we just continued to use them for virtualized environments since there was no innovation done by storage vendors specifically for virtualized deployments (until now). Tintri uses vDisks (think VMDKs, VVOLS, VHDs etc.) as the abstraction layer in the storage platform. Using vDisks as the abstraction layer, allows it to see at the right level of abstraction without the added complexity or layers of LUNs/Volumes. What this means to a Service Provider (Internal IT or Public) is that now they can not just look at what is provisioned to a VM or used inside the VM but the overall Capacity Footprint of a VM. The overall Capacity Footprint of a VM not just consists of the Live Data but also space used for other things like Data Protection.

In the example below, I have highlighted the VM Demo-A. As you can see that in the Tintri GUI, you not only see the provisioned space but also the actual used space by the VM in the Used GiB column. Double clicking the VM shows us various graphs for the VM and in this case I have selected the ‘Space’ Graph that shows us exactly how a 50GiB VM is using 134.5GiBs. We breakdown the 134.5 GiBs into Live Data, Hypervisor Snapshots and Tintri Snapshots to give a complete picture of the Capacity Footprint of the VM.

Capacity Showback

Tintri GUI Screenshot showing the Capacity Footprint of a VM

This is not only important because it allows the IT/Service Provider to charge for the right amount of storage consumed by the tenant, therefore increasing the accuracy and predictability around Storage consumption but also because now the IT/Service Provider can provide more insight and value add.

Chargeback/Showback models can be complex. Here we take a very simplistic example –

  • If we consider the cost of 1 GB of storage as $3
    • With a traditional storage the chargeback would be 50GB x $3 = $150
    • Whereas the actual cost of the VM Demo-A is 134.5 GB x $3 = $403.5
      • So either the Service Provider is taking a hit here or is including this cost as a buffer in the overall costing per GB, making it less competitive
    • As a value add, IT/Service Provider can show the various buckets in which the capacity is being utilized in order for the Tenant to reduce its cost
      • So in case of the VM Demo-A the breakup would be –
        • Cost of Storing Live Data – 45GB x $3 = $135
        • Cost of Data Protection – $3 x (9.29GB+80GB) = $267.87
      • With this information in hand, the tenant can take a decision on deleting some of the older snapshot copies to reduce the cost of running the VM from a capacity standpoint

As we can see in this example, Tintri brings in more simplicity and accuracy with a Capacity based chargeback/showback model . In the next post, I will discuss the performance based model and how Tintri can help with implementing something that is potentially more accurate than a typical IOPs based model.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers..

@storarch

Simplifying Storage Chargeback/Showback with Tintri- Part 1

Enterprises today are moving towards a Private Cloud based model for running their IT Infrastructure or they are looking at Public Cloud for some of their select workloads. One of the key requirements of deploying a Private Cloud or consuming the public cloud is Chargeback or Showback.chargeback

As we know, with Chargeback, the IT Department/Service Provider hands over a formal bill to the Line of Businesses (LOB)/Customer to recover costs of delivering the service to them whereas with Showback, there is no exchange of any Bills or money.With Showback, IT just tries to introduce a culture of Cost Awareness, Cost Justification, Capacity Planning and Awareness. The model chosen by different enterprises depends on policies and objectives that different Enterprises have.

Chargeback/Showback – The Storage Challenge

Both Chargeback and Showback require some definitive metrics at various levels based on which the overall cost can be measured for delivering a service. Here the discussion will focus on the Data Storage side of the equation.

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Why Tintri’s milestone of 200,000 VMs and 16PB of Storage is bigger than you think?

Yesterday we announced a significant milestone of 200,000 VMs deployed on Tintri with close to 16PB addressed by these VMs.

Now, these numbers may not look big on their own, but they become really interesting when you combine it with the fact we have doubled the number of VMs in last 6 months and that capacity numbers are for VMs experiencing sub-ms performance. All of this has come at the cost of incumbent storage providers where Tintri beat Modern & Traditional Storage Vendors in process.

Tintri brought a revolutionary Storage platform in 2011 designed for Flash just to run VMs and vDisks. The idea was to have a storage platform that was designed with Virtualization in mind and not Physical Workloads. To date, Tintri VMstore is the only external, best-of-breed platform that has laser focus on Virtualization. The General Purpose Platforms (Traditional & Modern, Flash & Hybrid) continue to focus on Physical workloads even as the customers are moving towards 100% virtualization.=

Where Tintri continues to have edge across multiple Hypervisors is the vDisk level visibility of workloads as compared to General Purpose Platforms that have no idea about what happens at the Hypervisor layer.

One of the drawbacks of this is the IO blender effect that everyone talks about with no effort to provide any solution except throwing flash at it. Tintri is the only platform that addresses it, delivering high performance, sub-ms response times, vDisk granular isolation, predictability, analytics across the infrastructure and per VM data services.

VMware VVOLs is the step in the right direction but it is just an enabler for one hypervisor and it’ll depend upon a vendor on what functionalities it brings to the storage platforms. With all our experience in managing and understanding VMs, Tintri is committed to bring all the goodness that the customers have experienced on the VMstore and much more to VVOLs. And only Tintri would be able to provide customers a choice of deploying VMs either with VVOLs or with an open implementation like NFS without compromising on functionality.

How will we maintain this growth, as the base gets bigger?

Tintri has a solid roadmap. Our focus on Virtualization allows us to bring better functionality around Virtualization & Cloud, much faster to the market. We don’t have to try to be good for all workloads as other General Purpose Platforms and in process compromise everywhere. We are the best Storage Platform for Virtualization & Cloud and would continue to be so for a long time.

If you want to experience all-flash performance for all your virtualized applications (not just the critical ones) at 1/4th of the cost of an over-provisioned flash array (through over-sold dedup and compression) with all the analytics, auto-tuning, VM granular goodness and isolation that our customers are experiencing, I would encourage you to contact your Tintri Rep or your preferred partner. If you plan to attend VMworld, we are going to have big presence there. You can book a Private meeting with Tintri or attend one of our sessions. See details here.

Cheers..

@storarch

Converged Infrastructures – Trying to Cure the Symptoms not the Disease

Converged Infrastructures (CIs) and Reference Architectures like vBlock from VCE, VSPEX from EMC and FlexPod from NetApp have seen a lot of growth in the last few years. The growth did not come as a surprise to anyone given the perception around CIs solving some of the big IT pain points around Sizing, Architecting, Standardizing and Faster time to market.

The big benefit that Vendors promised with CIs was that it would reduce time required for making infrastructure ready to provide service by reducing or eliminating the time needed in various phases like Architect & Size, Detail Design, Deployment and Test.

Reality

But what was the real need for CIs and reference architectures?

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Reduce the Storage Best Practices to be followed for your Applications by 99%

Yes, you read it right – With Tintri you can reduce the number of Storage Best Practices to be followed for your Applications by 99%. Don’t believe me? Refer our Citrix XenDesktop Best practices documents as an example. There are five papers written by Rob Girard, an ex-Tintri customer who jumped over to Tintri to be a Tintri TME. He knows exactly what it means to be on both sides of the fence (give him a shout on Twitter).

Three things that standout in the papers are that –

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Do you wear dress shoes when going for a Run?

Perhaps not and you don’t wear running shoes with your dress suit as well, unless you are a Justin Timberlake fan.

justin-timberlake

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….

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My favorite part about VSAN…

Right from the day it was introduced by VMware at VMworld 2012, VSAN has attracted me with at least one thing – Simplicity. At that time, it was amazing to see the storage getting enabled in vCenter by just clicking a couple of check boxes. VSAN has seen its supporters and detractors but one thing that everyone agrees on is its simplicity.

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