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Storage virtualization types, advantages and disadvantages

Virtualization is not a new technology but it has recently become a popular method for making data center management and operations an efficient and effective data center. Storage virtualization is one of the seven types of virtualization and it is extensively being used by IT companies and organizations.

Types

Storage virtualization has two main types that are dependent on the implementation method.

  1. Host-based storage virtualization

In this type of storage virtualization, software such as Logical Volume Manager (LVM) is used on the hosts. LVM is used for mapping of the physical disks to the storage logical pools. A pool of disks can also be created with this software which can then be allocated to servers. SAN, NAS and direct attached storage can be used for the provisioning of the disk.

Abstraction creation of storage devices has been here for a very long time. The configuration of storage systems can be done in any RAID type i.e. 0, 1 and 10, etc.  Once the configuration is done, the logical volume can be created. These volumes are then assigned to servers which view them as disks. The host is shown data on a single disk but in reality, it can be spread over multiple physical disks.

  1. Appliance-based storage virtualization

For those who require disk pools that contain multiple storage arrays, appliance-based storage virtualization is used. In this type, there is a control node, comprising of more than two servers, that controls the allocation of storage from devices to servers. Appliance storage virtualization has a lot of similarities with logical volume manager’s volume group. There is only one stark difference between them and that is their scale.

Advantages

Given below are the advantages of using storage virtualization:

  1. With this virtualization technology, you can utilize more than one storage array type with your company’s SAN. Migrations can be made with ease and agility because servers cannot differentiate between storage array types. This scale of virtualization comes with high availability, fast speed of migration and minimum possible downtime thanks to its software mirroring feature.
  2. Management of data centers become an extremely easy task with this virtualization type. With storage virtualization, enterprise-level organizations and medium level businesses can benefit greatly as the cost and complexities associated with manageability are greatly reduced. A single console operated by one or two employees instead of an entire team managing the multiple arrays is a blessing.

Disadvantages

Like every technology, storage virtualization also has a few disadvantages that are listed below:

  1. When we talk about a single console responsible for management of all your storage then, in theory, this can sound as the most ideal situation but in reality, this single console can become a horror story when software upgradation is required on the storage controlling node. A failover node might hang because of an upgrade fail which in turn can create problems for the apps that utilize provisioned storage.
  2. There is also the issue of scaling capacity in this virtualization. A storage software might not be scalable for allocation of a certain amount of virtual disks but this issue can be catered by increasing the limit via more servers.

Conclusion

Even with its disadvantages that are mentioned above, the advantages of storage virtualization cannot be ignored. Benefits associated with appliance storage virtualization range from increasing capacities, the creation of robust environments and high level of efficiency.

If you are looking for a reliable solution then free virtual appliances is perfect for your company. SA provides its users with high performance and free round the clock support. It also has built-in gateways for connection with public clouds. This allows efficient implementation of a Disaster Recovery plan. This solution is economical and provides the clients with 3-2-1 backup rule. It is scalable and a fully customizable solution with no requirements of any antivirus program, anti-malware or external backup. You can even extend the capacity of Hyperconvergence Appliance with SA.


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