What are the advantages of thin provisioning?
Thin provisioning uses disk space more efficiently than thick provisioning. It enables the squeezing of more users onto a particular volume of physical storage, while also avoiding excess capacity. Network administrators are then freed up from maintaining vast amounts of unused disk space. This saves funds in purchasing storage, time in maintaining it, and energy in running it. With less hardware, a thin-provisioned storage solution will take up less physical space and offer an efficient solution for the right clients.
Does thin provisioning affect performance?
A thin-provisioned disk exhibits the same performance as a lazy-zeroed thick-provisioned disk. Lazy zeroing simply means that existing data (binary ones and zeroes) is overwritten without being converted to all zeroes first. Eager zeroing, by contrast, wipes a disk clean when data is deleted (turning it to zeroes) and new data is written on this blank slate. A thick-provisioned eager-zeroing disk will write data faster than a thin-provisioned disk.
Because of overprovisioning, thin provisioning will cause problems when users approach their maximum storage capacity. It’s useful to compare disk provisioning methods to banks. A “thick-provisioned” bank would keep sufficient cash on hand to cover all its deposit accounts. Yet most banks instead choose to operate as “thin provisioned” storage disks would, with only a portion of the cash on hand. When too many depositors seek to withdraw their funds at once, the cash is exhausted, causing a run on the bank. The same issue can occur with thin provisioning. If users seek to write more data than there is physical storage space, the drive will max out and they’ll be unable to save anything. Therefore it’s absolutely crucial that system administrators continuously monitor storage use, adding new capacity when needed.
MSPs need to carefully consider the difference between thick and thin provisioning when deciding what type of storage will best meet their clients’ needs.
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