Virtualized storage is the technique that abstracts physical data storage resources to make them seem centralized. Virtualization hides the difficulties of managing memory, servers, storage resources, and networks.
Storage virtualization operates on numerous storage devices to make them a single storage pool. Pooled storage devices may come from several suppliers and networks. The storage virtualization engine discovers available storage capacity across different arrays and storage media, combines it, maintains it, and makes it accessible to applications.
The virtualization software operates by intercepting I/O requests from storage systems to servers. The engine maps physical requests to the virtual storage pool and retrieves required data from its physical location, rather than the CPU processing the request and returning it to storage. When the computer operation is finished, the virtualization engine delivers the CPU’s I/O to its physical address and changes the virtual mapping.
The engine centralizes storage administration into a browser-based dashboard, allowing storage administrators to handle multi-vendor arrays as if they were a single storage system.
Methods of Virtualization
Today, storage virtualization often pertains to capacity gathered from several physical devices and made accessible for reallocation in a virtualized environment. Virtualized storage is used in modern IT approaches like containerization and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), in addition to virtual computing power and, sometimes, virtual network capacity.
Tape storage is still commonly used for preserving seldom accessed data, notwithstanding its decline as a backup destination medium. Archival data is often vast; storage virtualization may be used for tape media to make massive data repositories simpler to handle. Linear tape file system (LTFS) is a tape virtualization that makes a tape appear like a conventional NAS file storage device and makes finding and restoring data from video much simpler by employing a file-level directory of the tape’s contents.
Storage may be used in a variety of ways in a virtualized environment, including:
Network-based Storage Virtualization
It is the most often utilized form in businesses nowadays. A network device, such as a smart switch or purpose-built server, links to all storage devices in an FC or iSCSI SAN and displays the storage as a single, virtual pool in the storage network.
Array-based Storage Virtualization
It most typically refers to the approach in which a storage array serves as the main storage controller and runs virtualization software. This allows it to pool storage resources from other arrays and expose various kinds of physical storage for usage as storage tiers. A storage tier may include solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs) on different virtualized storage arrays; the actual location and particular array are hidden from servers or users using the storage.
Host-based Storage Virtualization
It is a software-based solution frequently found in cloud storage and HCI systems. The host, or a hyper-converged system of numerous hosts, offers virtual drives of different sizes to the guest machines, which may be VMs in an enterprise context, physical servers, or PCs accessing file shares or cloud storage. Virtualization and administration are handled entirely via software at the host level, and physical storage may be nearly any device or array. Virtualization features include specific server operating systems, like Windows Server Storage Spaces.
The Benefits of Virtualized Storage
Organizations benefit from transitioning from old data storage infrastructure to virtualized storage architecture. These are:
One of the main benefits of moving from conventional data storage infrastructure to a virtualized storage architecture is the possibility of simplifying your IT system significantly. By decreasing the hardware required to operate applications, storage virtualization reduces complications in the data center. Traditional data storage methods need distinct servers for different applications, but storage virtualization allows the same apps to operate on one or a much smaller number of servers.
The old approaches of conventional isolated apps and data storage have long been forgotten. Organizations may take advantage of the newest breakthroughs in virtualization, hyperconvergence, and software-defined technologies by transitioning to storage virtualization.
Another significant advantage of storage virtualization is its low cost. The old data center needed many more servers and a significantly more sophisticated architecture and network, substantially raising upfront expenses and ongoing maintenance costs. Storage virtualization lowers OPEX and CAPEX costs by utilizing considerably fewer resources (i.e., operating expenses, physical space, hardware, and IT support). It is lightweight and uses less of everything, making it much less expensive.
Edge Computing and Virtualized Storage
On the edge of your network are locations that are outside the reach of your standard data center or cloud architecture. Thus, edge computing refers to a decentralized IT architecture in which processing is performed close to these places rather than in a data center or the cloud. Edge computing may assist situations such as branch and distant offices, industrial factories, and retail outlets.
Traditional IT infrastructure requires a significant network bandwidth and physical gear investment. The provider is responsible for managing the infrastructure in the cloud, including network and hardware maintenance. To enable customers from remote locations to connect to your servers in the data center and the cloud, you must verify that the cloud provider’s infrastructure has sufficient bandwidth and hardware.
Edge computing infrastructure is designed around servers at the network’s edge. Rather than sending data to conventional data centers or the cloud, computing, and storage resources are linked to the servers, allowing for speedier processing since the data does not have to travel far from your consumers.
Edge computing enables high availability via shared storage, such as virtual SANs, by using software placed on edge servers in conjunction with virtualization technologies and software-defined storage. Virtual storage is thus critical in edge computing since it assures user productivity and customer happiness.
Furthermore, edge computing needs less expensive hardware than is typically found in data centers, which must fulfill minimal criteria to decrease the delay and require appropriate bandwidth. It also enables sites to function independently of one another, allowing your firm to continue operations even if calamity strikes your data center or your cloud goes down.
Value for money, security, good vendor support, cost-cutting, and high performance are all benefits of the correct storage solution. Virtualized storage aids in the management of massive volumes of data that must be transferred or curated regularly.
Bringing the cloud operating model to where data resides speeds up digital transformation, simplifies data administration, and assists enterprises in driving their businesses ahead.
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