Mark III Systems Blog

Could you please send me a comprestimate?


I thought I'd start off our blog with a post about storage, which continues to be one of our top areas of interest from our clients.  If you are even remotely tied into the IBM storage ecosystem, you know all about Real-time Compression by now.  If you don't, Real-time Compression (or RTC for short) is a unique IBM technology, backed by 35+ patents, that allows a user to compress primary storage with no performance impact to hosts and applications.

Because there is no performance impact, it allows users to use RTC technology on the most performance intensive applications and, in doing so, use it with the most expensive backend storage available within the enterprise ("Tier 1").  By utilizing RTC with the most expensive backend storage, you really have the ability to build an incredible financial case to contain capital spending on physical storage, all without impacting performance (which is the key).  Being in this industry, we're so used to trade-offs when discussing technology that RTC is always somewhat of a shocker when presented to someone for the first time.

What kind of data can RTC be used to compress? 

You can deploy RTC as a NAS-based appliance to contain unstructured, file-based data OR you can use RTC native with the IBM SAN Volume Controller Virtualization Engine or Storwize V7000 to compress block-based storage.  As you're probably aware, the fact that SVC/V7000 can virtualize external storage means that you can really use RTC with almost any kind of existing SAN storage that you want, as long as it's on the SVC/V7000's large interoperability matrix.

What kind of applications will generate the most compelling financial case?

In my experience, RTC will almost always will bring you a positive ROI, but the most compelling cases are generated when using RTC with highly transactional applications, like Oracle, VMware, SQL, etc.  This is because the storage associated with these applications are typically the most expensive within the overall storage infrastructure, so the the cost case will look that much more appealing.

Can I project how well my data will compress before I actually purchase RTC? 

Yes!  You can use the Comprestimator to estimate how well your data will compress (within a very small margin of error) before you actually decide to invest in RTC.  This is something that we recommend all our potential RTC clients run (with our assistance, if requested), just to make sure that they are happy with the results before jumping in.

Below, I've pasted in a real-world Comprestimator output that was run on an actual Oracle on RHEL deployment on the IBM Storwize V7000 storage system.  This Oracle deployment had not yet been compressed, and we were looking to understand what kind of impact turning on RTC would make.  As you can see, Comprestimator projected that there will likely be greater than an 80% capacity savings, which was well beyond our conservative expectations!