The company that I work for has decided to get all of the virtualization system engineers together in order to discuss best practices and to help standardize how we setup customer systems. This week was the first week and we started off talking about something we have dealt with since we started installing virtualization solutions.
Most of our customers come to us because they know we will provide a great solution that will keep their business running without them having to be full time IT people. Most of these companies have small (if any) IT staff. So back to the title… should their SAN (for virtualization) be thick or thin provisioned? We all know the pro’s of thin, but what about the customer who never logs into their SAN to see how things are going ? What happens when they run that defrag without knowing, or upload a bunch of new data ?
Most of the time when we thin provision, we end up over provisioning as well… here is where the problem enters. If we over provision an HP P4000 SAN (or probably any SAN for that matter) and it becomes full it will shutdown, which will take down all of the virtual servers on the SAN. So instead of thin provisioning at a SAN level we are considering thick provisioning LUN’s all into a standard size (500GB, or 1TB, or 2TB) and then presenting those LUNs to VMware (or Xenserver). At that point we would thin provision at the Virtual machine level.
What we feel that this will add is more visibility to the true utilization of their SAN. Most of the small IT staff’s that we work with use the VMware or Xen Center Client a lot, and have visibility to how full their datastores are getting by using the VMware or xen clients. And they dont want to have to check multiple places to see how much free space they have.
So I pose the question to you, my peers, what is good or bad about this idea? What do you do? How would you handle a situation where the customer expects it to “just work” without monitoring 10 different devices because they are the CFO and not the IT person?
Thank you for your comments in advance, and I will continue to post other topics that our group discusses down the road.