Essential Guide

Taking charge of VM allocation, troubleshooting methods

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Data storage management tools for a virtual server environment

In virtualized server environments, the need to provide greater visibility and ease allocation of storage for virtual servers has spurred data storage management tools from vendors that sell hypervisors, storage arrays and SRM products.

The virtual server environment has clearly changed the data storage management tools landscape. For all the benefits virtualization brings, it also complicates the processes of planning and provisioning storage networks. This has led to third-party applications and new tools in storage arrays and inside hypervisors for managing storage connected to virtualized servers.

The ability to provision virtual servers in minutes has its , but it also creates more changes between hosts and storage arrays, meaning data storage management tools need to do a better job of monitoring those changes.

According to research firms such as Gartner Inc., server virtualization results in reduced storage visibility, management and utilization, and requires storage resource management (SRM) vendors to offer enhanced support of hypervisors. And while this SRM support can come built into arrays, it is increasingly found in third-party SRM tools that provide features such as provisioning and monitoring of virtualized servers and storage across platforms.

Hypervisor vendors VMware Inc., Citrix Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have also addressed data storage management by adding features to their basic hypervisors that make them more SAN- and NAS-friendly.

Read this tutorial to learn more about these three types of data storage management tools for a virtualized server environment.

 Managing virtual servers with disk array-based tools
To improve visibility and management of storage resources in a server virtualization environment, storage array vendors are adding policy-based or virtual provisioning, making storage resource management and reporting tools more aware of virtual machines, and taking steps to improve data protection.

 Storage resource management software adapts for virtual servers 
Third-party application vendors are revamping their SRM products to extend the view of the virtual environment from the virtual machines and servers to the arrays. New enhancements to storage resource management tools include automated allocation processes and monitoring capabilities to ensure configuration changes are made within an organization's policies.

 Hypervisor vendors advancing data storage management capabilities
VMware Inc., Citrix Systems Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are bolstering the storage management capabilities of their virtualization platforms with features like storage virtualization, thin provisioning and hot extension for virtual LUNs.

 VMware virtual servers: One customer's perspective 
With storage managers grappling with how to best manage the storage resources of their virtualized server environments, one VMware administrator said that 48- or 64-bit addressing is on his vSphere wish list.

This was first published in April 2010

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Essential Guide

Taking charge of VM allocation, troubleshooting methods

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