October 03, 2005, 4:38 PM —
|Storage Virtualization Overview|
Storage virtualization has tremendous potential for simplifying storage administration and reducing costs associated with managing diverse storage assets. The excerpt provided here provides an overview of the core concepts of virtualization.
The data storage industry is one of the most dynamic sectors in information technology today. Due largely to the introduction of high-performance networking between servers and storage assets, storage technology has undergone a rapid transformation as one innovation after another has pushed storage solutions forward. At the same time, the viability of new storage technologies is repeatedly affirmed by the rapid adoption of networked storage by virtually every large enterprise and institution. Businesses, governments, and institutions today depend on information, and information in its unrefined form as data ultimately resides somewhere on storage media. Applying new technologies to safeguard this essential data, facilitate its access, and simplify its management has readily understandable value.
Since the early 1990s, storage innovation has produced a steady stream of new technology solutions, including Fibre Channel, network-attached storage (NAS), server clustering, serverless backup, high-availability dual-pathing, point-in-time data copy (snapshots), shared tape access, storage over distance, iSCSI, CIM (common information model)-based management of storage assets and transports, and storage virtualization. Each of these successive waves of technical advance has been accompanied by disruption to previous practices, vendor contention, over-hyping of what the new solution could actually do, and confusion among customers. Ultimately, however, each step in technical development eventually settles on some useful application, and all the marketing dust finally settles back into place.
No storage networking innovation has caused more confusion in today's market, however, than storage virtualization. In brief, storage virtualization is the logical abstraction of physical storage systems and thus, when well implemented, hides the complexity of physical storage devices and their specific requirements from management view. Storage virtualization has tremendous potential for simplifying storage administration and reducing costs for managing diverse storage assets.