Perception vs. Reality in Storage Performance

I’m sure we have all heard the saying that perception is reality, however this doesn’t mean it’s correct reality. In other words, it can be a false reality; the perceived notion doesn’t in of itself make it true.


A recent tweet response from Duncan Epping

I believe this assertion from Duncan is on the money. I talk to many customers that claim storage performance isn’t a problem. I then look at their storage latency and it averages around 20ms or more, even though we would most likely agree that 20ms is slow, the customer can seem perfectly happy with the current results.

This dichotomy I find fascinating as I think it also relates to the smartphone industry. For example, when I upgraded to the iPhone 6, I immediately noticed a performance increase; however after several weeks of use, I wasn’t aware of the performance increase, as I became accustom to the new effect. It wasn't until I picked up my daughters iPhone 4S and started using it, when I then realized again the app performance and usability that I gained from going with the newest device.

The old saying that you don’t know what you’re missing until you try it, can also apply when talking storage, and application latency.

Frank Denneman’s latest post on knowing the application I/O workload characteristics is one of the most difficult challenges I believe in today’s virtual datacenter. The true utopia as a virtual admin is to understand the full workload pattern over the application lifecycle as his post delves into. This is IMHO is an area where there is a false perception. Many believe that they understand their workloads, at least until something goes awry and it challenges them to think otherwise. There are a ton of reasons for this, i.e.. No good tools, App Dev. and/or Stakeholder communication disconnects, etc. As an application owner, how do you know what the app is capable of delivering? Do you know the perception of your end users or have they now accepted a false reality? 

Whether it’s a false perception or false reality the end result is the same. The admin doesn’t know what they are missing or has a capable tool to help them determine the actual reality and thus correct or challenge his or her perception.

It’s my hope that in 2015 more of us will test and challenge our perceptions, so that we can have a more accurate reality. Who knows what you may be missing!!!