Storage virtualization is a concept that is from computer science that is used when discussing data storage systems that use virtualization tools and techniques. The term virtualization is the process of using traditionally used physical components, such as hardware and storage, and making them available in an online environment. In this sense, virtualization brings together network storage devices and combines and manages them from a central location.
Since storage systems tend to have a complex design that can be difficult and time-consuming to manage, the main purpose of storage virtualization is to reduce the complexity of the storage system by adding better features and capabilities. Therefore, it allows the system administrator to perform tasks such as backing up files quicker and with fewer steps.
There are two main types of formats of storage virtualization. They are:
- File virtualization: This helps to optimize storage use and assist with the mitigation of files.
- Block virtualization: This type is concerned with the removal of barriers when it comes to a physical storage structure and helps to create increased flexibility in the management of the storage system.
The benefits of storage virtualization
An effective storage virtualization system will provide companies with the following benefits:
- Enhanced storage resources.
- The combination of storage services into one centralized area.
- The ability to manage data and mitigate between different drives more easily.
- A reduction of complexity related to storage system development, management and maintenance.
- Scalability and the flexibility to adjust storage needs as required. It helps to ensure that you do not run out of storage space.
- Improved overall performance.
- The ability to seamlessly transition storage management to a virtual environment.
- A reduction of costs when compared to other data storage options.
- It is an environmentally friendly option that requires less power than traditional storage systems.
- It reduces the strain that is placed on administration by simplifying the management function.
- It improves hardware utilization within your organization.
- It helps to make software installation easier.
Things to consider when switching to storage virtualization.
- Business objectives and goals: Examine how storage virtualization can help your business achieve your current goals and objectives.
- Growth: Is storage virtualization a good fit for your company when compared to the anticipated growth of your company? Will it meet your growing needs and can the system be scaled effectively?
- Down time: Can your company effectively manage periodic outages and downtime associated with transitioning to the new set up.
- Current IT situation: While the benefits of storage virtualization are plentiful, companies need to take a step back and assess their current situation from an IT perspective. Do you have the resources to successfully transition to this type of storage system? Does your storage management need to be refined? Do you have the IT staff in place to handle the transition and manage the new system once implemented?
- Cost/Benefit: Implementing a storage virtualization system will require a significant investment. Therefore, companies need to assess if this investment will pay off or if they would be better off sticking with their current system.
Storage virtualization providers
While there is no shortage of virtualization solution companies to consider. Here are some of the industry leaders in the field of virtualization.
- Xen Source
- Open Solaris
Tuesday, February 02, 2010City of Coquitlam rolls out services-oriented storage The need to support growing online services and app and database requirements led Coquitlam, B.C. to deploy storage virtualization from Hitachi Data Systems Canada so it could scale and manage a heterogeneous storage landscape. Where storage virtualization is headed according to IDC Canada