I stumbled across these blog posts this morning.
These blogs attempt to discuss the details of the NetApp 50% Virtualization Guarantee Program. This program is one of the many means by which NetApp is helping customers reduce their storage spenditures and carbon footprint by reducing the amount of storage required to run their virtual infrastructures.
The blog’s author, Jim Haberkorn, made the point that the guarantee program includes a requirement that compares NetApp RAID-DP against traditional storage systems running RAID 10.
I believe the point Jim is trying to make in his posts is, ‘RAID-DP requires almost half the physical disks as RAID 10 so one should conclude that the NetApp data deduplication technology works poorly and thus the guarantee program is worthless.’
Let’s remove RAID 10 and investigate how well dedupe works
Let us take RAID 10 out of the discussion and review customer experiences with VMware running on dedupe in their production environments. A one-minute search on Google returns the following examples that I would ask you to consider if NetApp can make an impact in reducing your storage footprint.
The results are in
Customers are commonly saving 50% – 80% of their production storage requirements for VMware with NetApp deduplication. These savings were calculated based on the reduction of storage on the NetApp array. There is no comparison of RAID 10 in these calculations, and they best part is all of these arrays are protected from double disk failures with RAID-DP.
The world used to run on RAID 5
I commend Jim for reading the fine print of the NetApp storage savings guarantee program. If your Virtual Infrastructure is running on RAID 5 and you believe you have the appropriate level of data protection than of course this guarantee looks outrageous.
RAID 5 was designed to be the lowest cost of data redundancy for individual servers. This low level of data protection works well if the data being protected is the data for a single server; however, VMware builds multi-node clusters and clouds of hundreds of virtual machines.
Personally I would never deploy more than a single virtual machine on a form of RAID that did not provide protection from a double disk failure. The risk is just not worth the cost savings, but I digress…
Back to the guarantee
So we began discussing that the NetApp guarantee is based around RAID 10 and that Jim felt this requirement into the category of ‘a bait and switch tactic’. I’ll give Jim that NetApp is being very conservative with their guarantee program. NetApp has always been conservative company and that makes an enormous amount of sense from a vendor who provides data storage and protection solutions.
I’d ask you the reader to consider the examples that I have listed above, examples whose savings are factored without any consideration of RAID10, and decide for yourself. Who is more believable customers using dedupe or NetApp competitors who don’t offer dedupe?
Maybe Jim or others who have replied to his blog can state how HP is working to reduce their customers’ storage footprint. While you may not like a conservative guarantee, where’s the guarantee from the rest of the storage industry?