Storage virtualization is the pooling of physical storage from multiple network storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device that is managed from a central console. Storage virtualization technology is commonly used in a storage area network (SAN). The management of storage devices can be tedious and time-consuming. Storage virtualization helps the storage administrator perform the tasks of backup, archiving and recovery more easily, and in less time, by disguising the actual complexity of the SAN.
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Users can implement storage virtualization technology with software applications or by using hardware and software hybrid appliances. The technology can be placed on different levels of a storage area network.
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Definition courtesy of WhatIs.com.