SOURCE: Virtual Instruments

Virtual Instruments

August 23, 2017 09:00 ET

Lack of Testing Putting IT Infrastructures at Risk

Increased need for application and infrastructure teams to collaborate to avoid performance problems highlighted by ESG and Virtual Instruments' research, as only 41 percent of IT professionals will profile workloads and test storage before next storage purchase

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - Aug 23, 2017) - Research conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and co-sponsored by Virtual Instruments, the leader in application-centric infrastructure performance management, and multiple other technology leaders, has found that IT teams are putting their IT infrastructures -- and businesses -- at risk by failing to profile application workloads and test data storage systems before purchase and deployment.

Understanding and assessing application workload profiles before acquiring storage solutions provides critical insight into what's truly needed by application end-users. Without profiling production applications and analyzing their I/O behavior, properly evaluating and sizing storage systems can be extremely difficult as IT teams lack accurate information regarding the storage performance needed to keep them working optimally and to protect against slow-downs and outages. Yet, of the 412 IT professionals surveyed, only 41 percent said that they will profile their workloads before buying their next storage system and 56 percent trust either storage vendors or their VARs to advise them on the right solution. Organizations that are solely depending on vendor recommendations, or partners who are aligned with specific vendors, could leave their IT teams vulnerable. At best, there is a significant likelihood of over-provisioning and wasted financial expenditures, at worst it can mean a new storage solution is unable to keep up with the organization's business requirements and will lead to lost revenues.

A lack of insight into application workload behavior is compounded by a failure to understand how storage solutions will perform until they're put to work. Only 29 percent of the respondents surveyed said they would conduct on-premises load testing themselves before their next storage systems purchase, while another 11 percent indicated they would work with vendors or partners to conduct load testing before deciding on their next storage system purchase. Without understanding how a solution is likely to behave under normal, dynamic, and anticipated peak load conditions, it is much harder to predict whether a solution is correctly configured to manage an organization's unique demands. It is also likely to impact overall performance.

"Assuming that upgrading to flash-based storage will solve all data-related application performance issues is a myth," stated Mark Peters, Practice Director & Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. "Application performance is heavily impacted by the I/O characteristics and patterns employed by the application itself and its interactions with other applications that might be sharing the same, invariably virtualized, infrastructure. How each vendor has designed its all-flash arrays to handle the plethora of different workloads varies greatly. Five-fold performance differences or more are not uncommon for the same identical workload."

In spite of this, the research shows that storage performance and availability are top priorities. Seventy percent of respondents plan to establish service level agreements (SLAs) with their application owners for either performance and/or availability. For performance, specifically, 43 percent of respondents will establish performance-related SLAs. Without utilizing both load testing and monitoring, SLA adherence is practically impossible.

Ninety-four percent of respondents indicated that their organization ensures performance and availability by using monitoring tools. Fifty-four percent prefer to use vendor-independent monitoring tools. This type of solution analyzes performance across the entire infrastructure, making it much easier to spot performance issues and to understand what may be causing them. A slow-down in the storage solution could be triggered by an overloaded application elsewhere in the infrastructure, for example. 

With the performance of both applications and storage so closely linked, it should come as no surprise that the majority (74 percent) of respondents surveyed said their organization's application owners care about storage deployment decisions. Yet, only 16 percent said their application owners are involved in the storage solution deployment process. This is a missed opportunity: collaboration between storage and application teams brings a much better understanding of the overall infrastructure, and each component's effect on its performance.

"This research not only shows CIOs how the gaps in their knowledge may be putting their businesses at risk, but also illuminates the opportunity to increase visibility into their infrastructures," said Len Rosenthal, Chief Marketing Officer at Virtual Instruments. "This new level of understanding enables higher and more consistent IT infrastructure performance, and allows IT executives to reduce over-provisioning and stop wasting valuable capital, ultimately benefiting the organization's bottom line."

"Vendors can also benefit from this research," he added. "The results offer direction as to where they should be focusing their efforts. Vendors that make performance a priority and leverage both load testing and monitoring will set the bar for the rest of the industry."

ESG and Virtual Instruments will be offering a webinar on September 12th, 2017, entitled Storage Performance - Building the Right Foundation for Meeting SLAs, that will discuss the research and new approaches to achieving performance-based SLAs. Register here.

About Virtual Instruments
Virtual Instruments is the leader in application-centric infrastructure performance management. It provides comprehensive infrastructure instrumentation and performance analytics for enterprise data centers. The company's solutions give IT teams deep workload visibility and actionable insights into their end-to-end systems across the hybrid data center. Virtual Instruments empowers companies to maximize the performance, availability and utilization of their production IT infrastructure. Virtual Instruments has over 500 customers, including enterprise IT, cloud service providers and storage vendors. The privately held company is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. For more information, visit https://www.virtualinstruments.com.

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