Storage in the virtual era

Revisiting the requirements on data storage


Published/updated: February 2010

by Freeform Dynamics

The growth in use of server virtualisation technology is having a knock-on effect on other infrastructure capabilities including storage. As it becomes a core technology (of this we have no doubt), virtualisation can both help and hinder our efforts as we aim to store and manage information for our organisations. In this paper we remind ourselves of the requirements on core storage and considering the impacts, both positive and negative, of server virtualisation.

Key points:

• Server virtualisation has some clear benefits including cost efficiency and IT flexibility. However these are still early days for the technology.

• From a storage perspective, there’s plenty good about server virtualisation. However storage infrastructures were created historically based on the ‘silo’ principle – this cannot be broken without consequences.

• As well as delivering storage consistently to meet expectations, requirements on storage include availability and performance; accessibility and security; adaptability and management.

• Storage virtualisation may be a key tool in dealing with the bottlenecks that server virtualisation can cause. However it can’t be done by itself, a view of the relationship between the physical and virtual environments needs to be maintained.

• A number of new storage capabilities are now available for businesses of all sizes. We consider how these might address the needs of disaster recovery, remote site access and making storage an operational cost, in the virtualised environment.

As businesses grow ever more reliant on the exploitation of digitised content, the issue of how we handle data has never been more important. Virtualisation is just one element making the task of information management tougher than ever before, as it brings a number of benefits but needs to be approached in the right way. If you are trying to help your business work out its priorities, scope out your existing IT capabilities or liaise between the two, this paper is for you.

The insights upon which this paper is based are taken from a number of research projects designed, executed and interpreted independently by Freeform Dynamics. This paper has been authored independently by Freeform Dynamics and is sponsored by HP.



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