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Vol. 6 No. 10 December 2007

Storage Bin 2.0: Virtualization challenges

Backing up and recovering data from virtual machines is easier said than done. Last month, I used this space to discuss the pervasiveness of virtual machines (VMs) in the data center and how they change practically everything. For many, VMs are a no-brainer value proposition. But let's not forget that the devil is in the details. If you use VMs within a Fibre Channel (FC) network, you may have a bit of a problem. FC is a Layer 2 protocol and every VM in a physical server shares a common World Wide Name (WWN). That's like everyone in your firm sharing the same phone number or email address--everyone sees everything. FC host bus adapter (HBA) vendors fixed this problem through N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), which lets you assign a different WWN to each VM. However, you have to upgrade all of your HBA drivers. No big deal, right? Wrong. iSCSI and NFS don't have this problem because these protocols are IP based and you can assign different IP addresses to your VMs. Some of the biggest challenges in data centers revolve around ...

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Features in this issue

  • Talking up server virtualization, security at SNW

  • VTL data management issues

    As disk libraries become the primary backup target for near-term data recoveries, storage managers are exploring new ways to exploit tape's high capacity, low cost and mobility. Disk is the best medium for fast backups and recoveries, and many companies have turned to virtual tape libraries as a way to put disk in their backup process. On the surface, it may seem easy to implement a VTL, but there are many subtle operational issues that must be dealt with to ensure that your data can be recovered quickly when needed.

  • Snapshot: Will you adopt LTO-4?

Columns in this issue