Virtual server tutorial: Managing a server virtualization environment

This virtual server tutorial evaluates network storage options for virtual servers, describes the VMware vStorage APIs and discusses VMware virtual servers.

While virtual servers seem to have infiltrated almost all data centers, according to our fall 2010 Storage Purchasing Intentions survey -- which pegs the percentage of sites without any server virtualization at approximately 15% -- the industry hasn't been especially quick to resolve issues around storage management for those virtualized servers. And many IT organizations are still grappling over which type of shared storage platform makes the most sense for their virtualized server environments.

To help you understand the range of choices you face for storage management in a virtual server environment, this virtual server tutorial compares the pros and cons of network-attached storage (NAS), Fibre Channel storage-area networks (SANs) and iSCSI SANs to support virtual servers; examines how VMware Inc.'s vStorage APIs work and which storage vendors support them; and offers expert analysis on how VMware's storage support differs from that of Citrix Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp.

Network storage options for virtual servers depend on needs, skill set
For any IT organization to make full use of its server virtualization infrastructure, networked storage is an absolute prerequisite. But which storage platform is the best choice for supporting that infrastructure: NAS, Fibre Channel SAN or iSCSI SAN? In this article, we outline the key advantages and disadvantages of all the network storage options to help guide your decision.

VMware vStorage APIs draw more support from storage vendors
Over the past few years, VMware has rolled out a number of APIs to help ease the storage management burden around its virtual servers. And data storage vendors are stepping forward to support the APIs. Check out our cheat sheet on the available VMware vStorage APIs as to why they're useful and which storage vendors support them in their products.

VMware virtual servers offer advanced shared storage options
Citrix, Microsoft and VMware all offer options for provisioning and managing storage for their virtual servers. In this podcast interview, Marc Staimer, president at Dragon Slayer Consulting, explains what VMware has done to improve on how its products interact with storage, outlines how VMware's storage management support differs from Citrix XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V, and gives advice for how to choose the right storage platform for environments with VMware virtual servers.

This was first published in March 2011

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