Las Solanas Consulting

Storage Virtualization | FAQs & Discussions

Virtualizing The Data Center

Most administrators familiar with virtualization usually associate the concept with Server or Desktop Virtualization via products from companies like VMWare, Citrix, or Microsoft. Virtualizing the storage is a complementary, if not essential, part of the equation.

Storage Area Networks and Virtual Storage

Storage Virtualization is the concept of completely abstracting the disk space used by your server data from the physical disks or "spindles". In a sense, any volume that is based on a RAID group or external or shared storage array can be thought of as a logical or virtual quantity, but Storage Virtualization goes well beyond simple consolidation or abstraction of disks in a common storage array or the so-called "SAN".

Storage Virtualization allows you to aggregate disks and LUNs from disparate systems into common storage pools. Different tiers of storage from multiple vendors can be managed under one pane of glass. Imagine being able to take a snapshot (or BCV) of a Tier 1 storage array volume onto a lower cost SATA iSCSI array. Imagine being able to provide a unique remote replication service for any and all of the volumes in a heterogeneous SAN, replicating to lower cost SATA storage at a DR site. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Las Solanas Consulting recommends Storage Virtualization products from DataCore Software Corporation. DataCore has been marketing their unique Storage Virtualization products since the year 2000 when they first shipped their flagship SANsymphony™ Storage Hypervisor. The benefits of DataCore's Storage Virtualization implementation are numerous:

  • dramatically improves disk utilization through storage pooling and "Thin Provisioning" (aka "Sparse Volumes")
  • offers "Over-Subscription" of disk space to simplify capacity planning and reduce downtime
  • provides Sub-LUN Auto-Tiering for heterogeneous storage systems (different vendors, different models)
  • offers both iSCSI and Fibre Channel targets regardless of the type of physical disks attached
  • can virtualize any type of storage from the highest "Tier 1" SANs to simple disks (Fibre Channel, SATA, SAS, SSD, JBODs connected to RAID Controllers... all can be pooled, Auto-Tiered to provision iSCSI and Fibre Channel-mapped virtual volumes!).
  • easy to deploy, easy to use — with an elegant and intuitive Management Console, SANsymphony-V renders management of large, heterogeneous parks of storage as easy as managing VMs in VirtualCenter.
  • reduces storage acquisition costs by implementing the storage array feature set as portable software while commoditizing storage hardware.
  • allows heterogeneous SAN arrays to be pooled, used as an ensemble, regardless of product range or make, giving them features normally associated with high-end storage;
  • data volumes (LUNs) or even entire storage arrays can easily be migrated from one storage device to another with a click of the mouse;
  • enhances data resilience and availability via Active/Active Synchronous Data Mirroring with Automatic Failover & fail-back;
  • point-in-time snapshots simplify backups and testing patches and allow for cloning data volumes — from any storage to any storage;
  • integrates CDP (Continuous Data Protection) at the storage controller level — where it belongs.
  • facilitates affordable best-of-breed Disaster Recovery for all your servers' data regardless of the type of external storage arrays you may currently use
  • permits Quality of Service (QOS) levels for different classes of application
  • yields significant performance improvements via adaptive caching

To learn more about Storage Virtualization, contact Las Solanas Consulting or visit DataCore Software Corporation.

Create an iSCSI SAN in Less Than 30 Minutes

Have a spare Windows 2008 R2 server you aren't using? Does it have unused disk space, a raw, unformatted volume? DataCore has a free 30 day evaluation of their award-winning SANsymphony-V Storage Hypervisor Software. Click here for details and to download the free evaluation.

Learn More About Storage Virtualization and I/O Performance

Click here to visit our FAQ pages dedicated to discussing SANs and Storage Virtualization topics.

Storage Virtualization - A Live Demo of SANsymphony-V

Want to see a live of demo of SANsymphony-V presented by a DataCore Systems Engineer? Just register for Live Demo of SANsymphony-Vwebinar presented on Mondays at 2pm Eastern. The presentation is intended for a technical audience with a good knowledge of SAN storage concepts. Following the demo, the presenter will entertain questions from any of the attendees. [Register...]