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What data storage virtualization looks like today

Data storage virtualization comes in many different forms today -- most of which give administrators features beyond simply aggregating capacity.

Introduction

Today's storage virtualization looks very different than it used to.

Storage virtualization aggregates capacity in a given environment under a software layer, which allows capacity to be centrally managed and often provides additional storage features. Storage virtualization isn't new -- vendors such as DataCore with SANsymphony, IBM with its SAN Volume Controller (now rebranded as IBM Spectrum) and Hitachi Data Systems with its arrays have been aggregating capacity for years. But some analysts and IT professionals would argue that the types of data storage virtualization currently available do more than simply pool capacity.

Two examples are software-defined storage -- a technology based on storage virtualization, but that often gives storage other value-added features -- and hyper-converged storage. While the main allure of hyper-convergence is easy deployment and management because components are shipped preconfigured, data storage virtualization is at work inside many systems. A final example is vSphere Virtual Volumes, a young technology that allows administrators to reserve capacity with specified performance and a feature set to which virtual machines (VMs) can be automatically provisioned.

This guide offers an in-depth look at some of the newest types of storage virtualization and their benefits, and will help you to determine whether these technologies are right for your environment.

1Getting started-

The data storage virtualization low-down

Storage virtualization can take different forms, but, at a basic level, its function is to abstract capacity from underlying hardware. There are several advantages to using the technology. First, aggregating capacity means better use can be made of available space. Second, performance can be drastically improved. Additionally, data storage virtualization can allow for more flexible disaster recovery.

Feature

Virtualization unlocks the benefits of pooled data storage capacity

At the most basic level, all types of storage virtualization aggregate hardware storage capacity to allow administrators to reduce overhead and improve management. Continue Reading

Answer

Examining the performance benefit of virtualized storage

Expert Jon Toigo explains why data storage virtualization is a good place to start if you're looking to boost performance in your environment. Continue Reading

Tip

How storage virtualization improves DR

Virtualizing storage means disaster recovery features can be extended to all the capacity in an environment. Continue Reading

Tip

Five ways to virtualize your storage

From the array to the operating system, data storage virtualization can be achieved at several different layers in the data center. Continue Reading

Tip

Keep these tips in mind when virtualizing your storage

It's likely that organizations looking to virtualize storage are already working with virtualized environments. Learn how to avoid conflicts with multiple virtualization layers. Continue Reading

2SDS aggregation-

The software-defined storage approach

From VMware VSAN to DataCore SANsymphony, many vendors offer what they label software-defined storage (SDS) products. The problem: The definition of software-defined storage isn't so cut and dry. What we do know is that most SDS products use software to pool capacity and to surface the underlying features of storage arrays. To many analysts, that's one of the most popular types of storage virtualization today.

Feature

Software-defined storage is on the rise

The software-defined storage market is catching on, but complexity issues are keeping pure SDS from being as prevalent as it could be. Continue Reading

Opinion

SDS products are more than just software

When too much attention is paid to the software aspect of SDS over its other benefits, the technology can get lost in the data storage virtualization shuffle. Continue Reading

Opinion

Software-defined storage doesn't lessen hardware's role

Software-defined storage products are supposed to be the answer to tightly linked hardware-software combos that lock into specific vendors. But are they? Continue Reading

Answer

Examining the differences between SDS and data storage virtualization

Storage virtualization and software-defined storage can both pool capacity, but SDS may be able to add more value to your environment. Continue Reading

Feature

Software-defined storage gains traction

A survey shows that more than 40% of respondents virtualize at least some of their storage, but the rest express some concerns. Continue Reading

3Hyper-convergence-

Hyper-converged infrastructure and virtualization

Hyper-converged systems package storage, compute, networking and virtualization in one box. Many IT professionals look at hyper-convergence as a way to ease deployment and management in their data centers. But hyper-converged systems are based on the same abstraction as storage virtualization -- the software is abstracted from the hardware to allow for the ease of management and provisioning that users enjoy.

Opinion

Defining hyper-convergence isn't always easy

Is the debate over the definition of hyper-converged infrastructure confusing? Take a look at your workloads and how evolving HCI products can fit your needs. Continue Reading

Feature

Converging storage and virtualization draws benefits

Hyper-converged systems offer administrators speedy deployment, centralized management and a way to save on operational costs. Continue Reading

Feature

How storage vendors paved the way for hyper-convergence

According to analyst George Crump, data storage virtualization vendors were the first to use technology that is the basis for hyper-converged systems today. Continue Reading

Tip

What hyper-converged infrastructure really is

Hyper-convergence means that storage, virtualization, networking and compute can be sold in one unit with software providing an overall management layer. Continue Reading

Feature

Frequently asked questions on software-only HCI

Using hyper-converged software as the basis of a DIY HCI platform can bring great benefits to the right kind of IT operation. But before choosing to go down the self-built HCI path, you need to consider costs, support and implementation. Continue Reading

4VVOLs-

Virtual Volumes as a form of virtualization

Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) are a vSphere 6 feature many observers consider one of the newest types of data storage virtualization technology. VVOLs allow capacity to be aggregated into what can be thought of as containers to which VMs can be matched based on the amount of capacity and performance they need. By doing so, virtual volumes have created a much more efficient way to provision storage in virtual environments.

Opinion

VVOLs adoption is ready to grow after not meeting hype

After a slow start on the market, are VVOLs ready to finally meet initial expectations? To understand VMware VVOLS adoption, evaluate risk-averse companies and their high hopes for the technology. Continue Reading

Tip

Dive into VMware VVOL technology

The VMware VVOL feature has specific requirements and is made up of different components. Learn more about this technology through five quick tips. Continue Reading

Answer

Understanding the basics of VMware's VVOLs

VVOLs allow administrators to set policies that precisely match VMs to the performance and features they require. Continue Reading

Tip

Four ways Virtual Volumes can benefit your environment

In addition to enhanced performance, VVOLs can expose applications to shared storage features that they may not have had access to. Continue Reading

Tip

What to know about VMware Virtual Volumes

Analyst Arun Taneja explains how VVOLs work alongside other vSphere features, and why further development is still needed. Continue Reading

5Terms to know-

Glossary

Need a refresher course on some key storage virtualization terms? We've included a glossary below.

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