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Storage virtualization infrastructure approaches

Storage virtualization can make data storage systems more chaotic than they already are.

Before embarking on a virtualization project with a customer, be sure to understand the problem that needs to be solved. A lot of end users falsely believe that storage virtualization devices will simplify a chaotic infrastructure. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, very few, if any, storage management tools that connect servers to disk for reporting, diagnostics and chargeback can see through the virtualization layer.

Many times a customer only wants virtualization because they just need a non-disruptive way to move storage around without taking applications down. If that is all that is required, nearly every operating system already has a disk virtualization subsystem built in: the logical volume manager. Use it first.

Physical virtualization tools only make sense all the other available optimization techniques have been exhausted. Once this is done, this customer will be pretty well evolved and will understand some of the consequences of adding another obfuscating layer to the complex stack of products connecting applications to disk.

This was last published in February 2007

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