Managing storage for virtual environments can be a difficult task. Virtualizing servers requires storage administrators to understand both the storage and the virtualization infrastructure. Furthermore, virtualization randomizes sequential I/O, which can cause a lag in performance. This makes the ability to properly size storage and report storage statistics for virtual environments critical to the efficiency of the infrastructure.
Performance monitoring, for example, can help administrators pinpoint the location of a host of problems, while using the right management tools for aspects such as capacity planning can help alleviate those pain points before they even happen. Meanwhile, best practices for managing storage in virtual environments can vary depending on the hypervisor, many of which have their own built-in management capabilities.
There is also storage hardware and software technology still new to the market that aims to make management of virtual server environments even easier. Products like VM-aware storage are built specifically to close the gap between the storage and hypervisor, while hyper-converged infrastructures ease installation by packaging the hypervisor and storage in one box.
To help you determine the best way to proceed with data storage management in your virtual environment, we've compiled some best practices, including an overview of storage technologies for VMs, top storage management tools and advice based on an environment's hypervisor type.
Storage technology options for VMs
Today's storage vendors recognize the unique provisioning and performance challenges 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.
A hyper-converged infrastructure product includes storage, servers and networking in nodes and could make virtual server storage provisioning a bit easier. Continue Reading
Converged infrastructure options pre-configure storage and server components to make installation easier on the administrator. Continue Reading
Vendors are crafting storage systems specifically engineered for virtual server environments with an approach that's fundamentally different from SAN or NAS. Continue Reading
VM-aware storage promises easier provisioning, simple scalability and better performance in virtual environments by communicating directly with the hypervisor. Continue Reading
With so many different architecture options, it's important to keep these four considerations in mind before settling on a storage technology for your virtual environment. Continue Reading
Managing storage for virtual environments: Best practices
Among the difficulties storage administrators can encounter when managing storage for virtual environments are capacity and bottleneck issues. The following tips and best practices can help work around these challenges and run a more efficient virtual infrastructure.
Expert David Davis explains how storage administrators can avoid some common obstacles in managing virtual server storage. Continue Reading
Virtual server storage operations can have a profound effect on the storage network. Here are 10 ways to help ensure that your storage yields its best I/O for the virtual machines (VMs) it supports. Continue Reading
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Top tools for virtual server storage management
When it comes to storage capacity and performance in virtual environments, storage administrators have a number of choices available to them. Some tools, such as those for automated tiering or deduplication, might be built into the storage itself and can help maintain top-notch performance. And there are third-party vendor tools that can provide reports on a per-VM basis. The links below provide examples of some of the most helpful tools available from a variety of vendors.
Because virtual servers are easy to create, delete and move, and their storage needs grow rapidly and unexpectedly, you need to stay on top of storage capacity planning issues. Continue Reading
Poor provisioning and a lack of effective capacity management tools lead to underused storage systems for virtual environments, but new tools can make storage efficiency a reality. Continue Reading
Virtualization and storage management still present challenges, but nowadays server virtualization provides tighter integration and more effective management tools. Continue Reading
Learn how resource management tools and network and application integration help managers reduce complexity when supporting a large number of VMs. Continue Reading
Using performance metrics to enhance storage for virtual environments
Performance monitoring is an essential aspect of managing storage for virtual environments. Recently, more storage performance monitoring tools designed specifically for virtual server environments have been hitting the market. These tools can report statistics on a per-VM or per-application basis to help administrators avoid performance problems or easily locate them. The content that follows outlines some of the different performance monitoring approaches for virtual environments.
Infrastructure performance monitoring is important when it comes to managing storage for virtualized data centers. New tools are combining monitoring with analytics. Continue Reading
Storage performance monitoring is moving from siloed tools toward overall system-health offerings. But some proven tools are needed in complex virtual environments. Continue Reading
Virtualization admins will have less of an opportunity to blame storage for unidentifiable problems thanks to the advent of hypervisor-aware storage. Continue Reading
Storage performance monitoring ensures you're warned of low storage capacity and that you’re up to date on storage usage trends for virtual environments. Continue Reading
Hypervisor-specific data storage management
The latest versions of VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V added new management features and also made improvements to existing ones. From the content below, learn what management features the various hypervisors provide and how to best work with them.
The latest version of Windows Server includes Storage QoS, which allows policies to be set on a per-VM basis to regulate the consumption of IOPS. Continue Reading
In this podcast, find out how Citrix XenServer storage management functionality compares with other virtual environments. Continue Reading
VMware vSphere 5 storage enhancements include the vSphere Storage Appliance, expansion of the file system and increased integration with VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness. Continue Reading