Advantages & Types of Storage Virtualization
Virtualization is an extensive technical term that applies to the servers, desktops and storage. It involves abstraction where different aspects of a system, whether it's a server, desktop, or hard disk, are no longer required when the system has been virtualized. Different layers are added to handle the transactions instead of the previously significant components. Storage virtualization includes virtualizing storage, perceptibly. This doesn't mean that the physical storage is no longer needed; rather, it's a process that simply migrates data to a network, host, or array. Virtualization helps in the centralized management of the files, increased utilization, better visibility, and non-disruptive data migration. Virtualization can also abstract the spindle count, allowing for the faster IO by migrating the data and spreading it across the additional spindles.
Advantages of Storage Virtualization
With virtualization, you need not to get worried about where the data is physically allocated. To the user, simply retrieving a virtually stored file is much like retrieving a file on the local computer. Some technologies optimize the performance by migrating data strategically based upon the utilization. For instance, a frequently used file might be stored on a high performance flash storage system while rarely used files will be placed simply on a slower array. The end-user is ignorant of the actual location, however may notice a performance boost while working with the virtualized storage due to this optimization.
Thin provision is often employed with the storage virtualization. This is where the less space is allotted, enabling you to better manage the ability to meet the real utilization necessities rather than providing additional storage that goes unused.
Centralized management making use of a single central virtualizing controller enables you to manage, allocate, and view storage from a single interface. In addition, downtime is minimized, and oftentimes eliminated. In fact, it's possible to migrate the data without downtime using automation and software RAID mirrors.
Types of Storage Virtualization
In general, two types of storage technologies are there: block-level and file-level and three methods are used, network-based, host-based, and array-based.
• Block-Level - This type of virtualization works before the file system exists. It replaces controllers and takes over at the disk level.
• File-Level - The server that uses the storage must have software installed on it in order to enable file-level usage.
• Host-Based Storage Virtualization - The host operating system must have a driver installed to intercept and redirect IO requests.
• Network-Based Storage Virtualization - With network-based storage, a fiber channel switch is placed between the host and storage. This switch virtualizes and redirects all IO requests. Operating systems are not a factor with network-based storage. However, the switch and storage arrays must be compatible with one another.
• Array-Based Storage Virtualization - With array-based virtualization a single master array handles all the IO requests for all arrays in the system. This type of storage virtualization allows for the seamless centralized management and data migration.
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