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Are there other considerations beyond just storage? Servers, for instance?

Let me look at it from a server virtualization perspective. The idea behind server virtualization is...

Let me look at it from a server virtualization perspective. The idea behind server virtualization is to create multiple logical "machines" on a single physical server. Suppose I have a single physical server and I create 20 virtual machines on top of that. If the server only has one or two HBAs, and all of the storage is connected through those HBAs, there will be a serious I/O bottleneck at the storage controller. So bad in fact that IT folks had to reconsider the number of virtual machines they could apply to a server. This started to impact the server virtualization side. Without storage virtualization, the industry has been addressing such bottlenecks using N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), which essentially divides the HBA into logical pieces that can be coupled to each virtual machine, eliminating the storage bottleneck.

More on storage virtualization
Storage virtualization: Where and how

Choosing a storage virtualization approach

Integrating storage and server virtualization
Server virtualization vendors, like VMware, are becoming more sensitive to the storage needs of their virtual machines and are incorporating storage-centric features, such as virtual consolidated backup, or VCB, designed to make backups work across virtual machines without licensing and installing a unique copy of the backup software (e.g., EMC Legato) on each virtual machine. So a lot of work is being done to bring these two environments together, but this work is still in its infancy.

Check out the entire Storage Virtualization FAQ guide.

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