While having a datacenter discussion with a client yesterday, I was reminded that ‘it all starts with storage’. After thinking a bit more about that statement, it began to really make a lot of sense. Thinking back to various client planning sessions for various solutions, much of the requirements, bottlenecks, cost and sometimes mystery revolved around storage. Computer processing, memory and networking are relatively easy to configure since most clients understand their importance as part of a quality solution.
While most clients have readily adopted newer specs for servers in terms of multiple cores, bigger RAM chips and faster networking configurations, some of those same customers have been late to the shared Storage game. It always surprises me to find clients running local storage for virtual environments. In my opinion, any virtualization solution that does not have some shared storage underneath it is half baked. No matter what the budget or skill level, there is a SAN for you.
It is probably equally important to match the SAN to the solution. Under buying a quality SAN solution to use as the foundation for your virtualization strategy is probably going to result in a less than desirable experience. vSphere, XenServer and Hyper-V will all require a decent SAN to sparkle in any environment.
Whether your architecting or evaluating a virtualization solution, don’t forget that it all starts with storage. :)