By StorageAsia Editors | Mar 31, 2011
According to a survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group, IT professionals cited scalability to support rapid virtual machine growth as one of the top three demands on a data storage environment.
With the advent of virtualization and increasing data growth, the ability to scale storage is becoming a critical success factor for enterprises. Storage environments of today must remain agile and responsive to changing business needs, while still maintaining high efficiency and speed.
In addressing data growth, one of the key questions that CIOs need to answer is whether they should 'scale up' or 'scale out' existing storage.
Scale up or scale out?
To make an informed decision, CIOs must first understand the difference between scaling up and scaling out.
Scale up is taking existing storage systems and adding capacity to meet increased demand. Such systems scale by adding multiple storage devices under an overarching storage controller. Apart from storage devices, it does not require any other additional components. The relatively lower cost for implementing scaled up storage makes this an attractive method to add capacity. However, there may be a limit to the scale up capacity depending on how many devices an individual storage controller can attach.
Scale out, on the other hand, solves a capacity problem by adding an additional storage system (node). Scale out storage can be established through clustered storage systems and grid storage. Most importantly, a scale out solution can have many nodes that are interconnected across geographical distances but still continue to be represented as a single system. It also has the potential capability to aggregate IOPS and bandwidth of multiple storage controllers for additional flexibility. The additional nodes also provide greater availability in case one fails.
Striking a good balance
CIOs today don’t really have to choose between the two. A unified architecture will offer them the ability to scale up and scale out efficiently and effectively. Today’s unified storage architecture provide customers with the flexibility to select a solution that best fits their current and future needs.
For a start, CIOs should start by employing more efficient storage practices and management to optimize utilization of existing assets.