Later this year, many of the established storage players will finally be adding Storage QoS (Quality of Service) functionality to their systems. Though startups such as SolidFire and NexGen Storage (and some platforms such as IBM's XIV) have been touting this functionality for a few years now, most storage systems today currently lack Storage QoS. If your primary storage vendor does not have Storage QoS on its roadmap, now is the time to start demanding it.
Normally, when I bring up the topic of Storage QoS with All-Flash Array startups or other high-end array vendors, the typical response I get is "We don't need Storage QoS. Our system is so fast - there are IOPS for everyone!" While this statement may or may not be true (it isn't!), even if a system had a seemingly infinite amount of performance, this would only solve part of the problem with storage performance provisioning. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you evaluate Storage QoS:
For the vast majority of Forrester customers who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Henry Baltazar and I'm the new analyst covering Storage for the I&O team. I've covered the Storage industry for over 15 years and spent the first 9 years of my career as a Technical Analyst at eWEEK/PCWeek Labs, where I was responsible for benchmarking storage systems, servers and Network Operating Systems.
During my lab days, I tested hundreds of different products and was fortunate to witness the development and maturation of a number of key innovations such as data deduplication, WAN optimization and scale-out storage. In the technology space "Better, Faster, Cheaper - Pick Two" used to be the design goal for many innovators, and I've seen many technologies struggle to attain two, let alone three of these goals, especially in the first few product iterations. For example, while iSCSI was able to challenge Fibre Channel on the basis of being cheaper - despite being around for over a decade many storage professionals are still not convinced that iSCSI is faster or better.
Looking at storage technologies today, relative to processors and networking, storage has not held up its end of the bargain. Storage needs to improve in all three vectors to either push innovation forward, or avoid being viewed as a bottleneck in the infrastructure. At Forrester I will be looking at a number of areas of innovation which should drive enterprise storage capabilities to new heights including: