While the merits of storage virtualization have been widely argued in recent years, users are now coming around to the notion that virtualization is a worthy and real technology. According to SearchStorage.com expert Jamie Gruener, "religious wars of where virtualization will reside as a technology are increasingly irrelevant. Some storage administrators want to use host-based approaches, others leverage array-based tools, and today there are a growing number of fabric-and switch-based tools that will do storage virtualization."
Virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console. Storage virtualization is commonly used in a storage area network (SAN). The management of storage devices can be tedious and time-consuming. Storage virtualization helps the storage administrator perform the tasks of backup, archiving, and recovery more easily, and in less time, by disguising the actual complexity of the SAN.
Users can implement virtualization with software applications or by using hardware and software hybrid appliances. The technology can be placed on different levels of a storage area network.
Where the vendors stand:
Despite what Jamie Gruener sees as the future of virtualization, Christopher Poelker explains where each of the vendors think their virtualization products will live. There are three basic types of virtualization each vendor offers. When you decide on a vendor, the best thing to do is make sure you understand which technique they use and what their roadmap is.
Trends and analysis:
More and more virtualization is being defined and actually implemented by storage managers. But before you choose a virtualization product, you may want to take a look at the 10 things you can do with virtualization. Then you can better understand how to choose a good SAN virtualization solution.
More from the Storage Media Group (SearchStorage.com and Storage Magazine) on this topic:
News: IBM, Cisco spruce up SVC
News: Merrill Lynch: Network-based virtualization saves money
News: EMC to build virtualization storage router
News:User refuses to be IBM virtualization guinea pig
News:Adaptec buys storage virtualization vendor Elipsan
Tip: Four trends that are changing virtualization
Expert advice: How virtualization can work for you
Storage magazine extra: Virtualization in the switch? Not so fast
Tip: Top 10 tips on storage management
Advice: How to select a virtualization vendor
Tip: Virtualization in the data center
Tip: The best practices of storage management
Advice: Why and how to virtualize inside a switch
Fast guide to SAN Management: Virtualization
Learn more about virtualization techniques at Storage Management School
Dig Deeper on Storage Network Virtualization