What is the difference between virtualization switches and virtual SANs?

The word "virtualization" is thrown around so much that it's hard to always know what it means...

The word "virtualization" is thrown around so much that it's hard to always know what it means. A virtual switch is usually a large, high port count director-class product, which can logically partition some number of its physical ports to create one or more logical switches within the physical director. Each virtual switch can then function as an independent switch on different fabrics or on the same fabric. Partitioning a switch can help to segregate traffic. It's similar to partitioning a server where one physical server runs multiple virtual machines -- a VMware environment is one common example. [For more relevant product details, see the All-In-One Buying Guide to Storage Virtualization.]

The other idea is a virtual storage area network (SAN) where it is possible to create multiple subnetworks or subfabrics that are physically interconnected, but logically isolated. This is similar to a network virtual LAN where the LANs are physically connected, but virtually isolated to keep local traffic local and keep network or management traffic from propagating out over the network unnecessarily. In practice, a virtual SAN can also combine separate physical fabrics (SAN islands) into a single logical SAN, which can often improve SAN resource utilization.

Listen to the SAN FAQ audiocast here.

Go back to the beginning of the Storage Area Network FAQ Guide.

 

Next Steps

Virtual SAN purchase considerations

This was first published in January 2007

Dig deeper on Virtualization Strategy

Pro+

Features

Enjoy the benefits of Pro+ membership, learn more and join.

0 comments

Oldest 

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchSolidStateStorage

SearchCloudStorage

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchDataBackup

SearchStorage

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVirtualDesktop

Close