I’ve been on a bit of a analyst report trend as of late. Hopefully you were able to download the report ESG Confirms: Virtualize the Array in order to Best Support the Cloud, the IDC Report: Accelerating Converged Infrastructure with FlexPod, and were able to review the results of the Wikibon research entitled, EMC and NetApp lead in VMware Storage Integration Functionality.
Today I’d like to share with you Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments, by Andrew Reichman with Vanessa Alvarez, Robert Whiteley, and Eric Chi of Forrester Research Inc., an independent research firm that produces objective, high-quality analysis of technology markets.
One of the truly interesting aspects of this report is this is the second time Forrester has conducted research andpublishedresults on this subject. Because of the historical record we are offered a few points ofinterest that we don’t normally receive in analysts reports.
- First, we can review the results of Forrester’s work from 2009. This method provides us with the best possible meansto gauge the accuracy of their current research.
- Next, these reports provide us an unbiased means to identify and measure storage related trends that have emerged with the adoption of cloud computing and virtual infrastructures.
Let’s take a look at the historical and current data in hopes of identifying trends or changes in the virtual datacenter….
Top Storage Related Challenges
The 2009 compete title of the 2009 is ‘Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments: most firms go conservative but still struggle with performance and efficiency’ and based on the results in the top storage challenges poll, I think it’s fair to say the subtitle was rather appropriate.
Based on the data collected in the 2011 report, we can see that customer challenges have shifted and today there is a greater emphasis on controlling storage costs. Ironically, these results remind me of another research report that I shared with you in the post IDC says your data will grow and grow and grow…
Storage Protocols For Virtualization
The data provided in the 2009 report probably comes as no surprise, Fibre Channel dominated storage connectivity with 82% of respondents stating it was the protocol of choice for use in the virtual infrastructure.
The 2011 data strongly suggests that customers are changing their preferences around storage protocols. While Fibre Channel has lost some share it still remains the most deployed protocol; however, the use of NFS has leap-frogged iSCSI to be rated as the 2nd most commonly deployed storage protocol supporting server virtualization. With greater than a 50% increase in the number of customers deploying NFS, it appears the value NFS brings to the cloud may have some substance beyond claims of vendors.
Storage Vendors Hosting Virtual Infrastructures
Upon reviewing the 2009 report there’s no surprises, EMC clearly dominated the survey with 48% share. At the time of this survey, EMC had nearly doubled the share of IBM, the vendor ranked as the second most widely used storage vendor with virtual infrastructures.
It only takes a quick glance at the 2011 report to see the results are significantly different from 2009. While EMC retained their leadership position, it is interesting to note their share has declined from 48% to 44%. There’s also a new storage vendor ranked as the second most deployed with server virtualization; it’s NetApp with 38% share! Much like the changes observed with NFS in storage protocols results, NetApp has leap-frogged into this position fueled by a 50% increase in the number of customers identifying NetApp as their platform of choice.
What Should You Make of This Data?
I believe a review of the content contained within the Forrester report from 2009 demonstrates a high degree of accuracy with their analysis and results. With any indicator, we truly never know the accuracy of the data until we gain the benefit of hindsight; yet as I stated earlier, past results are the best predictor of future outcomes. Based on the findings published in 2011, I think we can confidently state that customers are looking at storage differently. Reducing storage costs and the ease of deploying on NFS and NetApp are by far the largest changes in the findings in these reports over the past two years.
I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t share the complete title of the 2011 report; ‘Storage Choices For Virtual Server Environments: single-source your storage vendor and explore NFS as the storage protocol to support growing virtual server environments.’
If you’ve read this blog for any period of time then you likely know my opinion on results like the ones contained within the Forrester reports. When you include the other reports mentioned in this post I think you get a rather clear picture of the innovation NetApp brings to cloud computing and virtual infrastructures; unmatched simplicity and storage savings combined with industry leading integrations, performance, and availability enable game changers to advance their data centers.
It was good reading the details. On the virtualization front, to me it seems that the Hypervisor vendors (Vmware etc) are inching towards allowing usage of plain Jbods instead of networked storage. Vsphere5 for example now has mirroring for every IO , which probably competes with the snapMirror functionality in the filers. It is now a matter of time before dedupe also gets built into the ESX/ESXi ….given that, with the 2 key functionalities of filers being brought into the hypervisor, how is Netapp planning to address this issue?
Nice article, thanks for the information.