Storage virtualization can keep enterprises immune to vendor lock-in and associated costs. Because virtualized storage is agnostic with respect to vendors and technology, IT administrators have the freedom to choose the best solution for their organization. This also encourages healthy competition in the storage appliance industry, bringing added benefits over time in the form of technological advances and fine-tunings.
Storage Virtualization Defined
Storage virtualization is the aggregation of multiple physical storage devices (such as RAID arrays, SATA/SAN disks, high speed disks, and tape drives) of various interface protocols (such as SCSI, iSCSI, Fibre Channel [FC], and FC over Ethernet [FCoE]) into a single pool from which virtual storage volumes can be centrally created and provisioned, appearing as locally attached logical devices to their host server.
When storage from the virtual pool is allocated to an application server within a centralized console, the server is forced into thinking that an actual SCSI storage device has been plugged into it. This might appear as a new drive or a newly mountable physical device. Virtualization is like a shield that protects application servers from being affected by heterogeneous storage components such as arrays, disks, controllers, NICs, HBAs, and tape drives running behind the scenes.
The Value of Storage Virtualization
Virtualization is valuable because it simplifies and streamlines operations, minimizing costs at every level of an organization. For C-level executives storage virtualization can substantially increase return on investment (ROI) and reduce total cost of ownership (TCO). For systems operators, the benefit is the light at the end of their workload tunnel. For end users, the boon is the ability to remain blissfully unaware of what's going on behind the scenes while reliably having someplace to dump their data.
Without virtualization, the long-term cost of managing and maintaining a traditional data storage infrastructure outweigh the cost of acquiring and installing storage. Analysts calculate that the available pool of qualified personnel is insufficient to address the anticipated massive surge in data growth. The sheer volume of storage will continue to grow at a rate that organizations will have difficulty keeping up without virtualization.
Gartner Research reports that without virtualization, one person can only manage up to 300GB of data. In an optimal virtualized environment, that amount jumps to more than 2TB. Virtualization makes it much easier for IT administrators to manage storage, including adding and maintaining storage devices. Instead of expending huge chunks of time on hardware modifications — physically attaching, moving around, and configuring devices — they can effortlessly assign, un-assign, or reassign virtual volumes from a central location. Dynamic modifications of access permissions to virtual volumes can be made on the fly. Online and transparent migration of storage devices enables easy maintenance and upgrades without shutting down applications. This gives the IT staff more time to do all of the other tasks on their plates, optimizing efficiency.
Once your storage is virtualized, protection becomes much easier. Storage virtualization can enhance tape backup reliability, accelerate backup operations, and streamline and consolidate tape management operations. Seamless integration into any storage environment allows organizations to smoothly transition to disk-based backup with no major disruptions or changes to storage infrastructures or policies. Hardware independence provides freedom from expensive vendor lock-in and the ability to seamlessly transition between physical and virtual environments. This allows organizations to make the most of their investments while scaling back-up operations, improving data protection and recovery, and reducing costs.
Call your XIOSS account manager today to see how a storage virtualization solution might help drive down costs and create efficiencies for your organization!