By Jim Bahn, Senior Director, Product Marketing
Maybe I’ve been in the data storage business too long, but I remember the bad old days when customers routinely avoided deploying new storage products. Their fear was “how will this new technology perform, and will it perform reliably?” Even new firmware releases were met with resistance. I won’t name names, but when I worked at a storage vendor we were always concerned when a major new array was announced. We knew we’d have a bad sales quarter because no one wanted to be a pioneer.
But that was a while ago. It’s tempting to claim that the storage industry has stabilized, so changes are less risky, but that’s not always true as the rate of innovation has dramatically accelerated over the past decade. If anything, the adoption of new solutions has hastened, with Software Defined, virtualization, converged, flash, capacity growth, cloud, big data, containers, new management techniques and lots more. So, what’s changed to help enable this fast pace of change? From my point of view, vendors are getting smarter and they are simply getting better at delivering Quality on day one.
A significant part of delivering Quality is better testing and performance validation. VI’s Load DynamiX platform is used by leading vendors, for QA, performance engineering, and customer support, to improve product scalability, reliability, and to accelerate time-to-market, at the same time, reducing risk. They use the Load DynamiX platform to model real-world application workloads and generate these workloads at extreme scale. They get unsurpassed modeling and load gen capability to validate modern storage systems with tremendous realism.
When I decided to write about this trend, it occurred to me that a better way to tell this story would be to get a vendor to tell it. So, I asked our field team for comments from a leading storage vendor, and you don’t get any more “leading” than Dell EMC. Bob DeCrescenzo, Senior Vice President and General Manager of VMAX, Storage Division of Dell EMC, says “We have been using Load DynamiX in Dell EMC VMAX performance engineering labs to complement our internal benchmarking utilities. We have found that Load DynamiX provides a simple and straightforward way to run tests to obtain representative performance numbers. Moreover, real customer workloads exhibit variation over time, IO bursts, IO activity skew within and across volumes. Load DynamiX gives extensive controls over test definitions to create real life-like test profiles either by modifying synthetic workloads or by allowing a replay of workload files collected from existing arrays. We are able to replay customer workloads in our labs to troubleshoot and improve our system performance.”
That says it pretty well. They get an automated test platform that gives them the ability to simulate real customer workloads, realistically, at huge scale. So, they can in turn give better guidance to their field teams and customers, concerning how an array will handle workloads and how much growth can be accommodated in both scale-up and scale-out architectures. They accelerate the pace of change, with less risk. Everyone wins.