Part of Wikibon’s 2012 vSphere 5 User Survey

When it comes to storage protocols, VMware has been the rising tide that lifts all boats. In general, VMware has tried to take an agnostic approach to connectivity options (see VMware’s Storage Protocol Comparison). When customers first adopted VMware they tended to carry forward the skill set and storage networks from physical environments into virtual configurations. In a recent survey, Wikibon asked VMware customers about the storage protocols that they used, more than half (59%) of respondents listed multiple protocols. FC was both the top choice overall and also the leader (58%) for single protocol environments. While this was the first time that Wikibon had asked about VMware protocols, the results are similar to a survey published by Chad Sakac in 2011.

Figure 1 – 2012 vSphere 5 Respondents by Storage Protocol Source: Wikibon 2012, from Survey July 2012, n=158
Figure 1 – 2012 vSphere 5 Respondents by Storage Protocol
Source: Wikibon 2012, from Survey July 2012, n=158
Figure 2 – 2012 vSphere 5 Respondents by Storage Protocol Source: Wikibon 2012, from Survey July 2012, n=158
Figure 2 – 2012 vSphere 5 Respondents by Storage Protocol
Source: Wikibon 2012, from Survey July 2012, n=158

The macro-trends say that unstructured data is growing at a tremendous rate, and while NFS has and expects respectable growth, it does not appear that FC is fading in usage by VMware customers. Wikibon users were also asked to forecast usage of NFS usage for VMware environments over the next 1-3 years:

  • 12% Increase Greatly,
  • 40% Increase Slightly,
  • 39% No Change,
  • 9% Decrease.

Action Item: Virtualization is helping to drive users to deploy solutions based on application requirements and solutions rather where the protocol decision is less prominent. While the growth of 10Gb Ethernet and fate of FC will take many years to play out, VMware users can be confident in deploying solutions across the spectrum of connectivity options.