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  • Which enterprise data backup software is right for your business?

    Explore whether backup software for the whole enterprise or environment-specific data protection is the better bet for your organization. The cloud can be an option, as well. Continue Reading

  • VMware VVOLs helps with provisioning storage

    Sick of dealing with LUNs and NAS mount points? Virtual machine-aware storage and VMware Virtual Volumes can save you.

    Storage vendors today recognize the unique challenges with provisioning storage while delivering performance that virtualizing servers puts on storage systems. And that means administrators no longer need to stick with a traditional SAN or NAS to satisfy those requirements. Technologies such as VM-aware storage and converged infrastructures are examples of storage for virtual environments today that make integration and performance less problematic for administrators. And VVOLs can turn legacy storage arrays into VM-aware systems.

    VM-aware storage places a hypervisor integration software layer on top of a conventional storage array, integrating the storage with the underlying virtualization platform. As with hyper-converged systems, the hardware vendor must support the hypervisor you are using.

    Hyper-converged systems are specifically designed for use with virtual servers. All the major components -- CPU, storage, network and so on -- are certified to work with one another and to be compatible with the hypervisor vendor's software. The storage is preconfigured to provide optimal performance.

    VVOLs were added to the vSphere 6. They allow for provisioning storage and for data to be managed at the virtual machine level, but they require support from hardware array vendors.

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  • Software-defined technology sizzles; where's the beef?

    Hyper-converged and software-defined storage are alternatives to traditional array-based storage systems. Before you junk your legacy systems, learn how these new systems are different from each other and from the storage you've grown accustomed to using.

    Products in both categories are designed to make it easier to implement new technology, usually in virtual environments. Hyper-converged systems combine storage, compute and hypervisors in one box. The bundled model makes it easier to install and manage. However, the bundled appliances do not allow you to scale those resources independently. Also, because most hyper-converged systems support only one hypervisor, that could limit flexibility. Hyper-convergence can also change the roles of administrators inside an IT team, breaking down silos. That change can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.

    Software-defined storage is an umbrella for many types of storage rather than a specific category. Common types of software-defined storage include virtual appliances and other products for virtual environments. Other applications that virtualize or manage storage across disparate hardware -- including off-the-shelf commodity systems -- also fall into the software-defined storage category. Software-defined storage can be bundled or packaged on an appliance. Buying software only adds flexibility and usually costs less than an appliance, but appliances come precertified and tested by the vendors to reduce risk.

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