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Software-defined storage: Making sense of the data storage technology

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Can storage hypervisors bring high availability to the cloud?

Learn how the advanced functionality of a storage hypervisor provides a cloud infrastructure with high availability.

Can storage hypervisors play a role in bringing high availability to the cloud?

A storage hypervisor provides high availability of storage services to cloud infrastructures because it can be deployed across multiple hypervisor servers and still provide a single point of storage management.

Storage hypervisors enable data center administrators to virtualize storage assets regardless if they are SAN-attached disks or disks internal to hypervisor hosts. Since storage hypervisors run inside virtual machines (VMs), they're typically installed across multiple hypervisor hosts to provide high availability of storage services and load balancing of data center storage workloads. Moreover, some storage hypervisors -- such as Virsto Storage Hypervisor, Datacore SANsymphony-V and HP LeftHand -- deliver many of the advanced storage features and functionality available in standalone, high-end storage arrays, albeit at a much lower cost.

One of the major value propositions of storage hypervisor technologies is that they enable application and storage administrators to use low-cost commodity disks to build a highly scalable, centralized pool of storage that can rapidly provision storage resources to service new and existing VMs. Furthermore, since many storage hypervisors are hypervisor-agnostic, managed service providers can leverage storage hypervisors to support the varied VM workload requirements of their client base.

To increase data resiliency and availability, some storage hypervisor products have RAID-like data synchronization capabilities across multiple disk drives within the same server and across multiple hypervisor hosts to insulate data centers from potential multiple drive failures. When combined with advanced storage management features such as data snapshotting and off-site replication, data center planners can build in additional levels of high availability and application resiliency to meet the most stringent cloud-based application service-level agreements.

About the expert:
Colm Keegan is an analyst at Texas-based firm Storage Switzerland LLC and has been in the IT industry for 22 years. His focus is on enterprise storage, backup and disaster recovery.

This was first published in May 2013

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Essential Guide

Software-defined storage: Making sense of the data storage technology

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