Essential Guide

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Managing storage for virtual environments: A complete guide

Explore the top tips and tools for virtual server storage management and get hypervisor-specific management advice.

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.

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 the top third-party tools and data storage management advice based on an environment's hypervisor type.

Top Tips

1. 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.


2. 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.

Performance monitoring

3. 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.

Hypervisor considerations

4. Hypervisor-specific data storage management

More management tools have added support for Microsoft Hyper-V, and the latest version of VMware vSphere made improvements to existing features. From the content below, learn what management features the various hypervisors provide and how to best work with them.