Best Practices: Finding the logic in volume managers


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MYTH 4: LVM is for Unix servers only.
The culprit here is Windows. I know there are a lot of folks (including those at Microsoft) who are trying to change this view, but there are plenty of people who still believe they should use LVMs for Unix variants and leave everything for Windows and Windows-like platforms to the array.

Unix vendors have been bundling LVMs with their operating systems for a very long time. But many Windows users aren't aware that an LVM is bundled (yes, bundled) by Microsoft in their Windows server builds. This LVM (which is an OEM version of Veritas Volume Manager) may not provide you with the bells and whistles of a fully licensed version, but it offers plenty of benefits. I also see a lot of Linux environments that don't make use of the LVM bundled with distributions such as Red Hat and SUSE. They should.

MYTH 5: Only commercial LVMs are effective.
This myth is probably the result of a marketing spin that Veritas (now Symantec) tried with its Volume Manager product. For the record, I'm a big fan of Veritas Volume Manager. But it's also a licensed commercial product. (The good news is that vendors like Microsoft and now Hewlett-Packard have started offering it with their OS distributions.)

These days, almost every operating system comes with an LVM package. IBM's AIX and HP's HP-UX have LVMs (and they do call it LVM). Sun Microsystems ships Solaris with

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Solaris Volume Manager (SVM) and Sun's ZFS has its own variant. With a few exceptions, nearly all Unix environments prefer to use LVM for root disk mirroring as opposed to hardware RAID. LVM in Unix environments is almost a given, but it doesn't have to stop there.

Symantec's Veritas Volume Manager is a good option if you have a very diverse operating system environment, need single software access across all of your servers and can afford it. It's a powerful package that's bundled with Dynamic MultiPathing (DMP), one of the best multivendor multipathing packages out there.

This was first published in October 2007

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