Storage Choices for Your Virtual Server Environment

Tuesday Jan 12th 2010 by DatabaseJournal.com Staff

Picking a storage solution for your virtual environment can make or break your virtualization effort. Make sure you review all the storage options, prior to selecting the storage architecture for your virtual server environment.

Most companies are embracing virtualization in some way to support their business requirements.  More and more companies are moving to have virtual servers to support mission critical business applications.  As you consider designing a virtual server environment for your organization you need to make sure you know the different storage choices, so you can pick the right option for your environment.

There are many benefits of virtualization, as well as there are many decisions you need to make. One of the biggest ones is the storage solution for your virtualized environment.  You need to be able to load balance your virtual environments, and swapping virtual machine between different hosts is one of the solutions to accomplish load balancing.  There are many different ways to attach storage to your virtual machine, like using Fibre Channel  or iSCSI storage area networks, as well as network-attached storage.  You need to make sure you select the appropriate storage architecture to run your virtualized environment.

While server virtualization solves many problems there are other issues that virtualization introduces.  In this Forrest report, they have identified three of the most important storage challenges that IT organization face in a virtualized environment.  These challenges are performance, backup and capacity.  IT professional should work closely with their hardware and software vendors to make sure they implement reasonable solutions to overcome their storage challenges. 

This research paper finds that corporations continue to purchase storage from major storage vendors.  In addition, most are also sticking to a single vendor for all their virtualized environments.  Server virtualization does not seem to be driving people to invest in a SAN storage environment if they do not already have a SAN storage solution.  The majority of the respondents surveyed for this paper are exploiting the storage solutions they already know and have, rather than investing in something new. 

Fibre  Channel seems to be the most predominate network protocol used by most organizations today, although a fair number also use iSCSI and NSF protocols.    There seems to be an overwhelming preference for network storage verses direct attached storage.

Storage buyers for virtual environments need to think out of the box.  You need to consider all your options prior to selecting a storage solution for your virtual environments.  Selecting the correct or incorrect storage solution can make or break your virtualization architecture.

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