Fundamentals: Virtualization Lets You Store More

Aug 22, 2012


Virtual Storage, Real Options

Companies with small IT teams and tight budgets don't have to give up on the storage virtualization options that tend to show up in high-end storage arrays. A host of software products that run on standard x86 servers and enable thin provisioning, replication, storage acceleration and other features are available. That puts benefits such as higher disk utilization, improved storage performance, and better business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities within the reach of just about every IT shop.

This report will look at software that transforms off-the-shelf servers into storage appliances, as well as examine options available for storage hypervisors and virtual storage appliances. It will also look at the use of solid-state drives to accelerate storage performance, as well as lower-cost hybrid arrays that mix flash-based storage and traditional spinning disks.

Improved disaster recovery and business continuity are available to small and medium businesses via host-based replication. Host-based replication software ensures that data written to a primary server is also written to a secondary server in a separate location, such as a remote office. It also lets companies use any available storage for disaster recovery, unlike high-end arrays that require a similar array model at each site. We'll also look at replication capabilities built into VMware's hypervisor and in certain Microsoft applications, including Exchange and SQL Server.

In addition, some vendors have made RAID, a basic form of storage virtualization, more flexible via software that lets administrators use different disk types while still getting maximum capacity. We'll take a look at that and also provide an overview of Storage Spaces, a new feature in Windows Server 2012 that lets administrators create dynamically expandable storage pools. (S5540812)

Research Report