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Fujitsu Forum 2010 - In pursuit of further TCO reductions in server virtualization environments.

Mainichi communications: May 13, 2010*

Fujitsu is holding its annual event "Fujitsu Forum 2010" at Tokyo International Forum from May 13th to May 14th.
The schedule includes 111 seminars and around 150 different demonstrations. One of the planned presentation themes is something The MYCOM Journal Enterprise channel has been focusing on; cloud computing supported by Fujitsu's storage solutions.

In this article, we introduce a virtualization solution demonstration that achieves further cost reductions through disk resource virtualization. Fujitsu's server solution optimizes CPU and memory resource use by introducing a virtualization environment for significant cost reduction. The solution suggested by Fujitsu at this event aims to enable further cost reductions through disk resource virtualization as well as server resource virtualization.
At the demo booth, three different sized solutions are displayed as well as how operation management software operates.

Going one-step ahead by reducing TCO through storage capacity virtualization

In recent years, enterprise server infrastructures have been facing the problem of excessive investment caused by high-spec hardware and underutilized CPU and memory resources. To accommodate this issue and enable dynamic cost reductions resource use optimization through server environment utilization became considered as the effective solution. Fujitsu then translated this onto its server products, for example by applying "VMware"'s "VSphere 4" server software with No.1 introduction experience to its "PRIMERGY" IA servers. This achieved efficient CPU and memory resource utilization and power consumption reductions.

Server virtualization has a great effect on enterprise cost reductions. However with traditional systems, there still remained an issue. The storage systems still required the same amount of resources as before even after virtualization was introduced. As a next step to server virtualization, "disk capacity virtualization" is now demanding attention. The mechanism of this solution is about achieving disk use optimization by managing physical disks as a pool and making unused space shareable between multiple servers.
According to the Fujitsu presenter, disk capacity virtualization has the following benefits:

  • Investment optimization: No need to have excessive disk space for future use as disk capacity can be added anytime on an as needed basis.
  • Simple capacity design: Strict and detailed capacity design is not required as a large amount of disk space can be deployed virtually.
  • Simple expansion: Capacity expansion is enabled without system halt as disk addition can be processed without changing server settings.
Slide01
Slide02

An example of before (left) and after (right) virtualization. Reduces wasted resources dynamically as disk capacity can be deployed on an as needed basis.

Fujitsu's three virtualization solutions

Nevertheless, there still remained a concern whether the cost of disk capacity virtualization was worth the resulting total cost reductions. In general, it's difficult to achieve pay off with systems smaller than a certain level. But Fujitsu offers three virtualization solutions selectable depending on system size and operational requirements. They provide the optimal disk capacity virtualization matched to customers' system environments.

For small system environments, a disk capacity virtualization solution using VMware vSphere 4's standard function is offered. With this solution, only disk capacity used by a virtualization server (VMware vSphere 4) can be the virtualization target. However, it provides a good cost benefit as no additional purchase of hardware or software is required.

For mid-to-large size systems and systems where virtual and physical servers coexist, Fujitsu offers a solution using its ETERNUS DX400/DX8000 series disk storage systems. ETERNUS DX400/DX8000 series enables logical volume virtualization with Thin Provisioning technology that virtualizes disk volumes. This capability allows for non-stop physical disk addition and volume expansion, achieving optimal disk usage matched to a range of operational requirements.

For large system environments, such as data centers, virtualization storage embodying a virtualization integration technology that consolidates multiple storage devices is offered. It enables large scale disk capacity virtualization by configuring virtual volumes using multiple disk storage systems. This product is not yet on sale but will be officially released in the near future.

In addition to the above three solutions, Fujitsu provides storage management software "ETERNUS SF Storage Cruiser". This software supports stable and efficient storage operations with visualization of the configuration and operational status for the entire storage system including virtualized disk drives. This not only enables time-series analysis usage transition monitoring, but it also offers an alarm function that notifies when physical disks need to be expanded. This is based on disk pool usage information available to ETERNUS DX400/DX8000 series users.

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demo02

Storage management software "ETERNUS SF Storage Cruiser" offers resource use condition visualization and an alert function that notifies of capacity shortages.

At the Fujitsu Forum 2010 demonstration booth, a PC server "PRIMERGY BX900" with VMware vSphere 4, "ETERNUS DX400 series" with Thin Provisioning technology, are both operational and being displayed. As a reference, a running virtualization storage system will be demonstrated with explanation about its mechanism and how it enables TCO reductions. In addition, details on configurations and status of the running virtualization storage can be observed using ETERNUS SF Storage Cruiser.

*Translation of an article printed in Mainichi Communications Inc's MYCOM journal, published on May 14th, 2010. The content of this article was correct at the time of publication.

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