Get Rid of the Guesswork

Building a cloud infrastructure requires careful planning and technologies that give you confidence. Balancing system performance, efficiency, and cost are important to be competitive in the cloud market, and are required for building a profitable Block Storage as a Service offering. If you are using educated guesses, or assumptions around performance and efficiency as you build out your service you are opening yourself up to risk.

So why talk about this now?  Well, because SolidFire has invested in a tool that eliminates the guesswork that is often used to plan for thin provisioning, compression, and deduplication.  We have talked earlier about efficiency and how these storage technologies in concert with SSDs, can be huge game changers in the cloud.  Historically it has been difficult to design these advantages into an infrastructure without debilitating performance impact.  Trying to understand how the storage system itself affects efficiency complicates this even further.  Each cloud service provider is different and efficiency results can vary based on the data stored and the type of thin provisioning, compression, and deduplication a vendor offers.

It’s hard to have any rule of thumb that would expose how much thin provisioning, compression, or deduplication can save. You can imagine that thousands of virtual desktops would compress and dedupe like crazy, but exactly how much? Are you sure they will as much as you hope? You also don’t always know all the details about how a particular vendors feature works, or how it might work when combined with other features. Does dedupe span multiple volumes? How do I account for dedupe in a multi-tenant environment? What segment size does it scan?
SolidFire’s answer to these questions is to stop guessing.

SolidFire developed a command line utility with the ability to look at a specific set of data and say exactly how much SolidFire capacity would be required to store that exact data. eScanner evaluates block devices, files, file trees, or vmdk files and tells you exactly how much of that data is real, how much it would compress, and how much it would deduplicate on a SolidFire storage system. The same utility is also capable of aggregating multiple data sets so you can see how much more effective deduplication gets as you put more data on a SolidFire system. It’s refreshing to be able to deliver clear and direct answers about efficiency, and to set expectations about data reduction rates based on real data.

I’m excited about our recent release of the eScanner utility and really interested to see what feedback we get about the different data sets users scan. I encourage you to download eScanner, run it as widely as you can, and see how much more efficient your data could be stored within a SolidFire system.

-Adam Carter, Director of Product Management

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