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Issue of October 2004 
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Track 1: Storage Management

Virtualized storage perspectives

Storage virtualization addresses the increasing complexity of managing storage and can help organizations reduce associated costs

Most enterprises want to control and manage their storage arrays in a seamless manner—irrespective of the storage vendor from whom a particular array may have been purchased. The first conference track examines the complexities involved in managing large storage networks and how to automate and simplify tasks such as performance monitoring, allocation, utilization, and backup, while leveraging their existing investments.

Storage capacity is growing at a rate greater than 50 percent per year. But the ability to manage that storage is clearly lagging. Although price per gigabyte in storage hardware has plummeted, those savings are easily offset by the added management burden that results from having to cobble together storage systems and devices utilizing proprietary methods. The lack of centralized management across server, storage and operating system platforms adds to the complexity, resulting in poor IT resource utilization. Problem identification and resolution is often slow, painful, and costly.

Need for Storage Virtualization

Storage virtualization addresses the increasing complexity of managing storage and will reduce associated costs. Its main purpose is to exploit a SAN to the fullest extent. Virtualization can ensure higher availability, provide disaster tolerance and improve performance. It allows for resource consolidation, policy-based automation and automated back-ups.

Virtualisation lets you view and manage multiple, networked heterogeneous storage devices as if they were a single pool of storage managed from a central console.

Look Ma! No islands

Virtualized storage is not restricted by the capacity, speed or reliability limitations of the physical devices that it is comprised of. This gives enterprises the ability to choose storage hardware independent of the functionality they need from it, and to change and upgrade hardware without disrupting existing data.

Additionally, with storage virtualization, platform-independent, software-based solutions eliminate the cost and price premiums of exclusive solutions. It brings the entire storage infrastructure to the highest level at the lowest cost because the solutions work on a variety of platforms, with a wide range of storage hardware. Users can pick hardware vendors as needed and cross-train staff to use a single set of tools across the IT environment. The cost savings over time are significant, and solutions are consistent from platform to platform. Virtualization allows companies to choose multivendor storage, and then carves up these physical devices into logical volumes to provide required resources.

In terms of growth, enterprises, especially in the BFSI, telecom and oil & gas segments—the early adopters of networked storage—are slowly realising the importance of storage virtualization. Most enterprises deploying SANs will need a storage virtualization solution in the future.

 
     
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