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Die Lun DIE!

I know people think that storagebods are often backward thinking and hidebound by tradition and there is some truth in that. But the reality is that we can’t afford to carry on like this; demands are such that we should grasp anything which makes our lives easier.

However we need some help both with tools and education; in fact we could do with some radical thinking as well; some moves which allow us to break with the past. In fact what I am going to suggest almost negates my previous blog entry here but not entirely.

The LUN must die, die, die….I cannot tell you how much I loathe the LUN as a abstraction now; the continued existence of the LUN offends mine eyes! Why?

Because it allows people to carry on asking for stupid things like multiple 9 gigabyte LUNs for databases and the likes. When we are dealing with terabyte+ databases; this is plain stupid. It also encourage people to believe that they can do a better job of laying out an array than an automated process.

We need to move to a more service oriented provisioning model; where we provision capacity and ask for a IOPS and latency profile appropriate to the service provision. Let the computers work it all out.

This has significant ease of management and removes what has become a fairly pointless abstraction from the world. It means it easier to configure replication, data-protection, snaps and clones and the like. It means that growing an environment becomes simpler as well.

It would make the block world feel at closer to the file world. Actually, it may even allow us to wrap a workload into something which feels like an object; a super-big-object but still an object.

We move to a world where applications can request space programmatically if required.

As we start to move away from an infrastructure which is dominated by the traditional RAID architectures; this makes more sense than the current LUN abstraction.

If I already had one of these forward-looking architectures, say XIV or 3PAR; I’d look at ways of baking this in now..this should be relatively easy for them, certainly a lot easier than some of the more legacy architectures out there. But even the long-in-the-tooth and tired architectures such as VMAX should be able to be provisioned like that.

And then what we need is vendors to push this as the standard for provisioning…yes, you can still do it the old way but it is slower and may well be less performant.

Once you’ve done that….perhaps we can have a serious look at Target Driven Zoning; if you want to move to a Software Defined Data-Centre; enhancements to the existing protocols like this are absolutely key.



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  2. VinceWestin says:

    This is definitely where the storage world is (and needs to be) heading. There can be a lot more automation of such tasks.

    The one challenge this change might have is around parallel I/O. Currently, more active LUNs means that the operating system can have more work outstanding against the storage, which can provide higher throughout for the system. We need to ensure that whatever replaces (or automates) the LUN structure gives enough parallel access to keep that from becoming a bottleneck.

    1. storagebod says:

      indeed, that is an issue and there needs to be something done across the whole stack. It is not a completely insurmountable problem and it may be that it is a 80/20 rule. 80% of the time we can live with much larger constructs but for 20%, we need something which aproximates the current LUN structure.

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