Run storage as a utility


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Virtualization of IT resources is probably the most significant trend in today's data centers, and within a few years most storage services will be provided on a virtualized infrastructure that runs on highly redundant server farms and storage arrays. Virtualization addresses the age-old problem of managing heterogeneous storage and servers but, more importantly, it enables utility-based computing by providing an easily scalable platform. As a side-effect of increased virtualization and resulting interdependencies, the boundaries between storage and servers will fade, resulting in common teams, management and budgets for server and storage infrastructure.

On the other hand, most storage management tools were designed to manage resources for a single server. With one server hosting multiple virtual server instances, many storage management tools have lost the ability to manage all virtual server instances and provide visibility into the full data path. Fortunately, vendors realize the problem and are working to tightly integrate their applications with VMware, today's leading virtual server software.

Converting from a traditional decentralized IT and storage infrastructure to running IT services and storage like a utility isn't a trivial task; it requires a big shift within the business and IT organization. However, a continuous

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mandate to lower costs and meet compliance requirements will undoubtedly result in an increasing number of organizations opting for centralized storage models with tiered storage offerings. This will enable them to provide storage on a what-is-required basis vs. the wasteful and overprovisioned manner inherent to distributed storage environments.

This was first published in December 2007

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