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Managing storage for virtual servers

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It can still be a struggle at times, but managing storage in virtual server environments is better understood today, with tighter integration and more effective

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management tools.

Storage management has developed into a discipline in its own right, driven by the growth of data and the emergence of standards such as Fibre Channel (FC), iSCSI and NFS, which have enabled the centralization and standardization of storage systems.

As virtualization has become the main technology for server and desktop optimization, storage has been a key component in delivering highly scalable virtualized solutions. Without centralized storage, certain features such as nondisruptive virtual machine (VM) migration wouldn’t have been possible.

However, while storage has provided significant benefits, it also poses new challenges for both storage and virtualization administrators. Virtualization adds another layer of complexity in understanding the relationship between a server and the storage it uses. That layer of abstraction makes it difficult to translate storage-centric concepts such as logical unit numbers (LUNs), RAID groups and disks into virtual objects such as virtual hard disks (VHDs) and virtual machine disks (VMDKs). Storage administrators need to take a new approach when delivering storage to virtual environments.

This was first published in April 2012

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