I recently read an interesting perspective on Software defined data centers and storage. The blog by David Vallente at Wikibon- entitled Windows Server 2012 Falls Short on Software-Defined Storage (http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Windows_Server_2012_Falls_Short_on_Software-Defined_Storage). David and his team including David Floyer recently did an analysis of Windows Server 2012 and the new features such as OffLoad Data Transfer (ODX) , Storage spaces, SMB 3.0 etc. ( David Floyer’s blog - Windows Server 2012 Falls Short on Software-Defined Storage http://wikibon.org/wiki/v/Windows_Server_2012_Falls_Short_on_Software-Defined_Storage)
The folks at Wikibon have been predicting for some time that ISVs like Microsoft (and Oracle) would increasingly try to grab more storage function and pressure traditional storage models.
In this analysis, Wikibon conducted a number of interviews with customers that had some level of experience with Windows Server 2012. This group represented a range of industries and account sizes. What they found was that Microsoft Windows Server 2012 is an important and successful new release.
He further elaborates that in Wikibon’s view – “specifically as it relates to Windows Server 2012, arrays that integrate with this new platform will provide better tactical ROI in the near term.”
But the potential challenge is in the robustness and maturity of this new functionality and deployment model. As Wikibon further elaborates, its Windows Server 2012 lack of robustness and storage function maturity that cautions them on the true Software-led storage from Microsoft is still a release cycle or two away. Specifically, array-based storage will continue to provide the best ROI for many small and mid-sized Microsoft shops over the next 18-24 months.
In both of these cases, Wikibon’s research found that to the extent an array had the capability to exploit these new features, the value proposition of array-based storage was significantly better than relying solely on a Microsoft-led (Software-led) storage stack ( aka the do it yourself model) . As such, the array-based capability that Wikibon modeled to evaluate the business case demonstrated significantly better value than a Microsoft Software-led approach using commodity disks .
What array did they use in the modeling and analysis? The EMC VNX platform. Wikibon further cautions folks looking at using Windows Server 2012 to ensure that their arrays can exploit the new functionality.
Wikibon highlighted in their analysis that:
- Spending 10% more on disk array hardware that can exploit Windows Server 2012 capabilities can lead to 14% lower overall costs relative to today’s Microsoft Software-led approach using JBOD;
- While server costs will be somewhat lower and largely offset more expensive array costs, the real savings come from infrastructure management costs (i.e. lower people costs).
- By utilizing array-based hardware that can integrate with and exploit Windows Server 2012 function, IT organizations will free up staff time and reduce management complexity by approximately 33%. This can lead to better IT staff productivity and reduction in time spent doing non-differentiated heavy lifting for storage.
Wikibon sums it up:” Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 delivers some compelling function, but critical storage capabilities are lacking, such that true Software-Defined Storage from Microsoft remains elusive. In the near-to-mid term, to achieve maximum efficiency IT organizations must either investigate alternative software-defined offerings or stick with array-based storage solutions that integrate with Windows 2012. Importantly, to the extent these traditional arrays exploit key new features in Windows Server 2012, business value will likely exceed all-Microsoft storage stack approach.”
No surprise here at EMC…. we agree that Windows Server 2012 is very interesting. EMC was the first to announce our intent to deliver support ((June 2012 – http://www.emc.com/about/news/press/2012/20120910-01.htm)
; were the first storage provider to deliver support for SMB 3.0 and our award winning VNX platform was used to showcase the TechEd keynote to show case the ODX functionality. We also are leading the pack with quite a bit of integration with Windows Server 2012 and System Center. Let us not forget our recent announcements around VSPEX support for Windows Server 2012 as wellIn addition to checking out the Wikibon blogs, I would recommend checking out:
Also, there are additional assets that may help you understand the role infrastructure plays when deploying Windows Server 2012 in a Private Cloud Environment. More information can also be found on emc.com
EMC Perspective: The Power of Windows Server 2012 and EMC Infrastructure – http://www.emc.com/collateral/emc-perspective/power-windows-server-2012-emc-infrastruction-ms-pce.pdf
Whitepaper: EMC VNX3 Introduction to SMB 3.0 – http://www.emc.com/collateral/white-papers/h11383-vnxe-introduction-wp.pdf
There is a wealth of opportunities at #EMCworld to learn more about EMC and Windows Server 2012. I am also looking forward to talking with the Wikibon folks at EMCworld to learn more about their analysis.