Again, the problem with file virtualization is very similar to those found in block environments. For example, you may need to move data between file systems or servers or NAS devices. This may be the result of a technology replacement or upgrade to support tiered storage, policy-based management or automating features. Another typical need is to handle heterogeneous data replication or data protection in the form of remote mirroring or remote replication or snapshots across different storage technologies. Finally, you may want to pool and aggregate storage resources to improve utilization or enhance performance.
So, who should be using file virtualization? Basically, it's any storage environment with a proliferation of NAS devices, whether it's NFS or Windows file sharing, which actually composes a real majority of storage environments and involves numerous products, such as Network Appliance. Ultimately, if you're running a proliferation of CIFS, NFS or Windows file servers in which you need to move data around, replicate, consolidate or otherwise get your arms around data management, then you're a candidate for file virtualization.
However, you also have to build a business case around file virtualization. The technology and its benefits may be appealing but you also must be able to justify the economic implications. For example, moving 10 terabytes (TB) of data off an existing filer onto a new filer can be more transparently accomplished with file virtualization.Go back to the beginning of the File Virtualization FAQ Guide.
This was first published in June 2007