Today DCIG is very excited to announce the availability of its updated DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide that weights, scores and ranks over 90 features on more than 50 midrange arrays from 18 different storage providers. However the reason that DCIG believes users will find this guide even more helpful and insightful than the prior DCIG 2010 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide is that it does more than just look at the newest midrange array models and evaluate the latest and greatest features on each one. It takes an in-depth look into how well each midrange array integrates with VMware and supports its vStorage APIs.
From DCIG’s perspective, as 2012 approaches there has been a fundamental shift since 2010 in how most organizations approach purchasing a midrange storage array. While the emphasis on hardware characteristics is still an important consideration, features such as thin provisioning, replication, integration with new vStorage APIs and the ability to scale-out are increasing in significance.
The statistics surrounding the adoption rate and growth of server virtualization in general and VMware specifically over the last few years are staggering. Consider:
- Over 19,000 customers, partners, press and analysts attended the 2011 VMworld conference.
- A new VM is created somewhere in the world every 6 seconds.
- 10 million VMs existed at the end of 2010.
- VMware customers will have crossed the 50 percent virtualization mark by the end of 2011.
But as server virtualization in general and VMware vSphere specifically continue on this explosive growth rate it puts tremendous pressure on the backend storage infrastructure. As more VMs are created organizations must grow and manage their backend storage infrastructure in a dynamic, flexible manner to keep up with this growth.
To do so each VMware deployment requires a backend storage infrastructure that is manageable and scalable in both storage capacity and performance. In response to these needs, new VMware vStorage APIs included in vSphere 4.0 and vSphere 5.0 dramatically improve both the storage management experience for organizations and the performance that midrange arrays should be able to deliver.
Yet realizing these improvements in how midrange arrays are managed and perform in virtualized environments only occurs if the storage provider takes advantage of these vStorage APIs and implements them on their respective midrange arrays.
It is for this reason that the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide put a heightened focus on both the midrange array’s vSphere integration and its array management software. The level of vSphere integration as covered in this Buyer’s Guide should provide organizations a high level of insight into how well positioned each midrange array is to optimally host and manage the growing number of VMware virtual machines (VMs) that exist in their environment.
This is not to imply that a midrange array’s hardware or storage networking connections should be ignored. If anything, the importance of deploying a reliable, robust midrange array has increased, not decreased, with the advent of storage virtualization.
Midrange arrays are likely hosting the data for many more applications than before they were virtualized so any type of hardware failure has a more dramatic impact on the environment. So in this respect, the type of hardware a midrange arrays offers and how well a midrange array accounts for “routine” events like HDD rebuilds should still be carefully considered.
It is in this context that DCIG is pleased to present its DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide. As prior Buyer’s Guides have done, it puts at the fingertips of organizations a Buyer’s Guide that provides them with a comprehensive list of midrange arrays that can assist them in this all-important buying decision while removing much of the mystery around how midrange arrays are configured and which ones are suitable for which purposes.
This DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide accomplishes the following objectives:
- Provides an objective, third party evaluation of midrange arrays that evaluates and scores their features from an end user’s viewpoint
- Includes recommendations on how to best use this Buyer’s Guide
- Scores and ranks the features on each midrange array based upon the criteria that matter most to end users so they can quickly know which midrange arrays are the most appropriate for them to use and under what conditions
- Provides data sheets for 53 midrange arrays from 18 different storage providers so end users can do quick comparisons of the features that are supported and not supported on each midrange array
- Provides insight into which features on a midrange array will result in improved performance
- Provide insights into what features midrange arrays offer to optimize their VMware integration
- Gives any organization the ability to request competitive bids from different providers of midrange arrays that are “apples-to-apples” comparisons
In terms of how users intend to leverage this Buyer’s Guide, Gareth Segree, a systems engineer with The Gleaner Company Limited., says, “The Gleaner Company was looking to upgrade its SAN and the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide was the primary resource that it used to evaluate available solutions. We even used the Buyer’s Guide to evaluate midrange arrays that were unfamiliar to us but appeared to meet our requirements.“