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Should I Set Benchmarks for My Storage Environment?

Yes, infrastructure benchmarks are an important metric to develop, understand, and maintain in an enterprise environment.

Benchmarks are key tools to determine application-supporting infrastructure design and components, and they provide a stable baseline for root-cause analysis activities. Benchmarking for storage can be more complex, but also more important, than for other infrastructure components, since the data path for large enterprise applications is typically comprised of multiple systems, each with its own contributions to performance, bandwidth, and latency.

Having a repeatable process to create storage environment benchmarks also enables you to maintain a successful tiered-storage environment.

The following steps should help you to successfully create a baseline storage environment benchmark:

  • 1. First, understand and map out your server and storage infrastructure from HBAs to arrays.
  • 2. Create a map of how data is allocated per application and the associated data paths.
  • 3. Create a list of components, including operating system-based logical volumes, host bus adapters, Fibre Channel switches, and arrays. The storage administrator must understand the base configurations and how they affect performance, capacity, and response time.
  • 4. Create a process to load test and gather metrics for each component in the data path.
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