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Ditch the LUN!


I couldn’t be any happier to see this post. ESPECIALLY given who’s posting it. John Martin is a Principal Technologist for…. NetApp ANZ (Aus/New Zealand).

So many quotes:

“Unfortunately, the efficiencies brought by virtualization at the server layer weren’t matched by traditional storage approaches.”

“Now SANs are great, but they were never designed for virtualization”

“As a result, they’re dedicated, expensive, often over-engineered, and rarely flexible.”

In the end, he’s suggesting NFS – which is a good idea where you can use it. It allows for no LUN’s, you can extend OR SHRINK it as needed, without extents. It is thin provisioned by default (though, design and monitor for that!). The only real downsides I find typically are that a) it’s not MPIO capable, so if you have 2+ links in your SAN, plan for that and/or design for LACP end to end or something, and b) it often seems to be the red-headed step child even for VMware – usually VAAI and other features come to block before they come to NFS.

But basically – don’t use LUN’s.  Put your VM’s inside of a VM container.  Make them portable and storage agnostic.  Use the storage to replicate or snapshot your VM volume, but not individual disks on your VM’s, and your life will be a LOT easier in the long run!  It’s just too hard to be nimble and migrate your VM’s to Private Cloud, your cloud, Public cloud, DR to another site with different hardware or a different generation, merge with another company, etc, if you’re hung up on what type of block object you’re going to wrap your disks in – usually because your DBA think he’ll get better performance in a silo rather than by aggregating and using the total of the resources.  It’s not the 20th century…

Looking forward to his next post, but I can imagine what it reads like.

Categories: NetApp, Storage, VMware, vSphere
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  1. September 11, 2014 at 11:58 PM

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