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Storage Virtualization: Q&As

What does storage virtualisation do for me?

Storage virtualisation is a technique used throughout IT environments to simplify what tends to be a relatively complex underlying infrastructure.

The idea is to separate the logical presentation of a resource from its physical implementation — presenting a simplified, seamless virtual view
of the resource to applications and administrators.

Where should storage virtualisation live?

The software that virtualises storage can be run in a variety of locations.
Generally, the three most common locations are on a server, on a storage
device or in the storage network.

The storage network is receiving the most focus because it has the advantage of being able to support any connected server platform and any connected
storage device. The next question that usually follows is...

Should I choose an in-band or out of band solution?

Some vendors want to make a big deal about the technical path they took to implement virtualisation. The more important question is “as a customer, what results do you expect to achieve from virtualisation?”

The answer will guide you to an implementation. Today, only in-band implementations have the ability to deliver this full set of virtualisation value. The smart thing to do is first decide what results you are looking for and then evaluate the solution based on how well they match your goals.

How can I avoid vendor lock-in?

The best way to avoid vendor lockin is to virtualise the complete disk experience. If a vendor can get you to integrate your disaster recovery procedures to his proprietary replication services, or get you to load his proprietary multi-path device driver on all of your servers, or train all your
administrators on his proprietary management interface, he knows your
switching costs will be high — and you are locked in.

If, however, you choose to virtualise your complete disk experience, you give yourself complete flexibility of choice in what underlying disk hardware you choose. And that flexibility will often result in lower
overall costs.


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