One of the unfortunate things about performance bottlenecks is that they can essentially occur at nearly any point in a storage system. Storage arrays, hosts and even the network itself can suffer from performance issues during peak usage hours, which are also often the times where you need reliability the most. By identifying and learning more about some of the key culprits of performance bottlenecks within a storage system, you can make adjustments to your own configuration and put in place certain best practices within your organization that can help you avoid them altogether.

Shrinking Backup Windows

One of the biggest sources of performance bottlenecks has to do with a dramatically increased rate of data growth that many different types and sizes of organizations are seeing within the last few years. It is not uncommon to see a company’s data growth rate exceed 60% or more on an annual basis. All of this additional data requires faster storage I/O, which can certainly be a tricky balance to try to meet.

As a result, many organizations are turning towards automated storage tiering to circumvent these types of bottlenecks. Older data, as well as non-critical applications, are offloaded onto secondary storage tiers to improve I/O of organization critical applications, thus reliving any potential bottlenecks in the process.

Disk Latency

Many organizations have switched to solid-state drives, or SSDs, in an attempt to improve performance and relieve bottlenecks moving forward. SSDs have a number of inherent benefits, like an increase in performance of roughly 300% over traditional hard disk drives. The issue is that by pairing a SSD with a high latency array controller, you’re essentially undoing all of those benefits and are creating a situation that is essentially guaranteed to bottleneck your entire storage system in the process.

To avoid these types of issues, there are two main methods that you can use. If money isn’t a concern, an all-SSD storage array is the easy answer. As that can be prohibitively expensive in certain types of situations, another solution would e to implement a virtualized desktop environment to handle some of the load and get your system back up and running when you need it the most.

The Storage Network

Another one of the many causes of performance bottlenecks is the network itself. If you’re still using older and outdated hardware that can’t handle your performance requirements, you don’t stand a chance of avoiding performance bottlenecks. Your storage network needs to be scalable, meaning that it can grow and change as the needs of your business do the same.