Storage Virtualization

Virtual SANs (Virtual Storage Area Networks) provide powerful solutions for consolidation, business continuity, data migration, continuous data protection and disaster recovery.

Storage Virtualization software, pioneered by DataCore, was developed for the high end, data center market. It quickly gained notice, offering these heavy data users more control over the management of their data and choice of storage hardware than they had ever had before. This software, designed to "look like" physical storage to application servers (hence, "Storage Virtualization"), also attracted the attention of the major hardware vendors who, while sometimes publicly embracing its virtues, also recognized that the heterogeneity offered by Storage Virtualization solutions opened their accounts to competition. The storage industry heavyweights were able to slow down the intrusion into their accounts by promising virtualization futures which have been slow to materialize.

However, the commoditization of hardware quickly progressed to the point that the server market needed to embrace serve virtualization to achieve efficiencies in the deployment and management of its server investments and resources. This laid the foundation for the Server Consolidation revolution currently underway.

Today, the benefits of having a "Virtual Infrastructure" – Utilization, Flexibility, Hardware Independence – and the savings that these benefits provide, are broadly understood and accepted in the server market: It is within this market that Storage Virtualization software has also established itself as a vital infrastructure for most enterprises. There are some very practical reasons why this is so. Server virtualization consolidates many servers onto one platform, placing many "eggs" in "one basket." Any failure affecting the consolidated platform impacts many systems and many users. As a result, virtual servers must be supported by, fault tolerant, data protection and by storage resources that "fail over" to keep production applications running and users working in the event of a failure.

Storage networks (whether connected with fiber channel, Ethernet, or both) facilitate effective storage protection and fail over. For these reasons, VMware best practices suggest the use of a storage area network or "SAN." Today, virtual storage area networks (VSAN) provide the industry's highest level of data protection and seamless fail over to keep production applications running in the event of a failure. Because VSANs are "open" platforms and are not restricted to a particular brand of storage hardware, they are more affordable to build and grow.

Storage Virtualization software is similar to server virtualization software in that it makes management and control of resources easier, which results in greater flexibility to address change readily. Software for storage virtualization provides a "bird's eye view" of the entire network and the ability to manage and control it from a common point of administration. Physical changes to the storage or its connections are not required in order to migrate data, or to allocate or redeploy storage capacity, which makes these tasks much simpler and faster to accomplish. Control of the allocation and sharing of networked storage to virtual servers is also required for Server Consolidation customers to get the benefit of some of the most useful features of their Server Consolidation solutions, such as VMware's VMotion technology.

Another reason that Server Consolidation customers are quickly adopting Storage Virtualization is basic - they already understand that "Virtual Infrastructure" means greater flexibility to meet change and better utilization of resources, and that means their IT budgets go further. Whether the Virtual Infrastructure solution they adopt is for servers or for storage, the ability to direct resource usage to the system that has existing capacity for that usage saves money. Virtual Infrastructure solutions, such as DataCore's "Virtual Capacity" feature, that automate the process of serving capacity and eliminate wasted space make it practical for users to fully realize these savings.

Full-featured and reliable software-based, hardware independent, VSAN solutions, such as DataCore's SANsymphony®, provide all the benefits of Virtual Infrastructure, including the freedom to choose any name brand or commodity storage hardware. They also cost less, both initially and over time as the resources they manage increase. Having found a market that has already shed the hardware-centric biases that constrained the adoption of Storage Virtualization in data centers 5 years ago, VSAN adoption is increasing rapidly and can be expected to continue at a rate that mirrors the adoption of server virtualization over the last several years. These powerful and robust VSAN solutions should be considered by all to whom the benefits of virtual infrastructures are persuasive.

Storage Virtualization Software Solutions

TechXtend provides and supports storage virtualization software solutions from leading vendors, including DataCore, Acronis, StarWind, and others. These products address storage virtualization management and data redundancy employing technology for virtualized as well as traditional environments.

Our storage virtualization solutions include: