The Benefits of Storage Virtualization

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The Benefits of Storage Virtualization

Storage virtualization abstracts the space in physical hardware to software-defined storage which can be accessed by any end-user device. It allows multiple storage devices to appear as one single volume, and improves the efficiency of managing data.

Virtualization can be achieved through two ways: host-based and network based. Host-based virtualization (typically used in HCI systems and cloud storage) utilizes software to control traffic. In essence, the host, or a hyperconverged system consisting of several hosts, displays virtual drives to guest machines in any configuration, whether they be virtual machines within an enterprise or PCs that connect to file servers or servers that use cloud storage for data. The host makes use of software to convert the logical address of every block of data stored on physical disks into an offset within a larger logical drive.

Network-based virtualization is an entirely different approach, by shifting the complexity of the storage controller to a different layer than the virtualization hardware. This is often requiring additional components, such as a network switch, to handle the increased I/O load. However, it can reduce costs while improving performance.

The layer that is above the virtualization hardware permits backup and recovery to be done without the virtualization having an impact on it. It can also make it easier for IT teams to remotely solve problems which can help increase the resolution time. It also assists with scaling by removing the dependency between the location of the files that are accessible at the file level and the location the physical location they are stored on physical disks. This can help with optimizing storage use in server consolidation, as well as performing non-disruptive file transfer.

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