By imbuing its InServ Storage Server with more advanced functionality and integrating it more tightly with VMware Inc.s ESX Server, 3PARdata Inc. has developed a combination of technologies it says will help VMware users provision servers more rapidly.
3PAR of Fremont, Calif., has added both bare metal provisioning and its Dynamic Optimization software, which helps align application and business requirements with data service levels on demand non-disruptively, to its Inserv Storage Server storage array.
It then integrated the entire package with VMwares Vmotion, which allows all working processes to continue throughout a migration to a new host.
One of the goals of this technology partnership is to provide a better way of addressing service levels at the volume level and the application processing level that arent available without this combination of technologies. Another is flexibility.
“Its the idea of being very nimble in your environment in terms of being able to react to change,” said Craig Nunes, 3PARs vice president of marketing.
Adding Dynamic Optimization and integrating with Vmotion provides 3PARs main customer base—service providers, financial institutions and Internet companies—with the ability to use the capacity in their storage arrays more flexibly while being able to provision more servers more quickly.
“Its a lot more on-the-fly flexible,” said Anne McFarland, director of infrastructure architectures and solutions at The Clipper Group Inc. of Wellesley, Mass.
“If you were an Internet company with sudden spikes of capacity requirements, for example, it would give you the ability to react more flexibly.”
Adding bare metal provisioning allows users who want to provision new ESX servers to do so with very little capacity, at low cost, and very quickly.
“We make a read-only copy, called the Golden Image, of the software stack, and then as you provision new ESX servers, its simply making a writable snap of that read-only golden image and provisioning that writable copy to a given server,” Nunes said.
The offering is provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, whether the user is deploying thin provisioning on the 3PAR side or provisioning virtual machines on the VMware side. Server resources are granularly provisioned from a virtual processing pool with VMware ESX Server, Nunes said.
“You have a highly accrued utilization rate because now on both sides—server and storage—youre only paying for what youre using, and now you can much more quickly respond in provisioning servers. Its a powerful combination and a matched set,” he said.
More efficient utilization also is a major goal of this solution.
“On the capacity side, we see folks go from 25 to 30 percemt utilized capacity to 80 to 100 percent, and on the server side, we see underutilized servers in the 5 to 15 percent range, particularly in Windows and Linux environments, going to 805 utilization,” Nunes said.
Combining 3PARs capabilities with those of VMware to create a pay-as-you-go model of efficiently provisioning servers is a smart move, in keeping with the trend toward utility computing, McFarland said.
“There is a broad change going on toward utility computing,” she said. “The ability to use IT assets more efficiently and be able to charge back for that usage and track that usage is valuable, and 3PAR and VMware seem to be part of that move.”