When Roland Etcheverry joined chemical company Champion Technologies two years ago, he looked around and realized he needed to remake the company’s storage environment. He had done this twice before at other companies, so he knew he wanted a storage area network (SAN) to tie the various locations to the corporate data center, as well as to a separate disaster recovery site, each with about 7TB of capacity. He also knew he wanted to utilize storage virtualisation.
At its most basic, storage virtualisation makes scores of separate hard drives look to be one big storage pool. IT staffers spend less time managing storage devices, since some chores can be centralized. Virtualisation also increases the efficiency of storage, letting files be stored wherever there is room, rather than have some drives go underutilised. And IT can add or replace drives without requiring downtime to reconfigure the network and affected servers: The virtualisation software does that for you. Backup and mirroring are also much faster because only changed data needs to be copied; this eliminates the need for scheduled storage management downtime, Etcheverry notes.