Virtualization: What are you getting for your money? (Part 3)

Editor's Note: Following is the third in a series of tips about storage virtualization taken from a white paper by Robert Nieboer of StorageTek. This document is frequently requested by searchStorage discussion forum users.

Virtualization: What are you getting for your money? (Part 3)
By Robert Nieboer

Although network vendors are not likely to implement virtualization only on a network device, it is the most likely scenario. For the purposes of this tip, the definition of a network device is a kind of hybrid storage domain manager, intelligent router or intelligent switch on a platform that is capable of executing the storage virtualization. Presentation services are done at the network level, with logical devices mapped to external storage devices. There is no control over external storage devices other than allocation.

In a number of ways, the network is the most logical place to implement storage virtualization. It is neither a server, nor a storage device, so in existing between these two environments, it may be the most "open" implementation of virtualization. It is the implementation of storage virtualization most likely to support any server, any operating system, any application, any storage device type and any storage vendor.

Maybe the most compelling reason to locate storage virtualization in the network is that then it would exist within the natural data path for all I/O activity.


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in "seeing" all the storage devices and device types, it is a practical foundation for policy-based management intelligence.

Questions to ask of vendors implementing virtualization in the network:

  • What servers, operating systems and applications are supported at the server level?
  • What kinds of storage devices are supported?
  • Can they be any vendors? Any storage devices?
  • What I/O bandwidth limitations are there?
  • Is there a maximum amount of storage supported in this storage network? If so, what is it?
  • Will this implementation support serverless backup and/or migration?

* View this white paper in its entirety.

* Check out the searchStorage Featured Topic on Virtualization.

* Browse links to other virtualization resources.

About the author: Rob Nieboer is a corporate evangelist for StorageTek, and is currently responsible for global industry analyst relations for the company. Rob's background includes some 34 years as an IT practitioner, with the last 17 years focused on storage. His career with StorageTek has included responsibilities for systems engineering, systems engineering management, worldwide tape and library marketing, regional marketing, and strategy.

This was first published in October 2001

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