Colocation: Managed Storage

I attended a sales pitch today of managed fiber connected EMC storage.  The idea is really good.  Rent some space in their colocation and they provide centralized managed storage.  The offering is two tiered, either shared or dedicated storage.

Shared storage
This of course is the lowest cost to the client.  Give them your needs and they will carve out space for the data on their EMCs.  Only requirement is that the servers connecting to them have fiber cards.  Downfalls are as follows:

  • shared connectivity to colocation fiber switches
  • shared EMC controller between clients
  • pooled storage on bigger drives

This all affects the speed that each client recieves.  If a differnt customer is running high throughput, it will reduce the speed the controller can process as well as the read write speed of the shared drives.  The colocation keeps the data secure by using Cisco MDS fiber switches, encryption, and LUN masking.  This offering would be great for a startup company doing file sharing or VMWare servers needing storage.  It would definitely beat the initial price of buying their own fiber switches, EMC, and an employee/contractor to manage them.

Dedicated storage
Price jumps up high here, along with a few more service offerings.  If you already have Cisco fiber SAN switches, the colocation provider will manage them.  If not, they will allow connectivity to their switches using dedicated VSANs for your equipment, as well as encryption.  Dedicated spindles and also a dedicated controller will definitely speed up the read write operations on the unit.  Here, there is no need for LUN masking since it will only be your data on there.  Just with anything else, the costs increases with the number of spindles and or disk space needed.

To end, centralized storage offerings at the colocation is a great service to see coming out.  It will definitely help the smaller guys or startups get going.  Depending on your size, the cost of buying a dedicated system and fiber switches from EMC is a huge undertaking.  Especially with about a 5 year refresh being needed on the EMC.  Who knows, I am sure there are also some colocations providing ISCSI using Ethernet storage.

Note:  Replication of the data can be provided between EMCs within thier nationwide colocations.

~ by Kevin Goodman on November 3, 2008.

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