There was once a time period when management of disk storage was an easy and simple task. If more storage space was required then a bigger disk drive was used. But the amount of data generation kept on increasing along with our storage needs and we shifted towards multiple disk drives to cater them. As the number of drives increased, their management became harder and extremely time-consuming. We started creating different methods for catering our ever-increasing disk storage requirement. Even with the RAID, storage area networks and network attached storages, the management, and maintenance of thousands of disk drives was an arduous task.
With the advent of virtualization technology, such storage-related issues were catered with ease. But storage virtualization, being a new technology, is being extensively used by marketing companies around the world to the point that the real meaning of the term is not known by a majority of the people. From simple filing systems to state-of-the-art storage abstraction layer, all come under the umbrella of storage virtualization but the general population keeps on mixing server virtualization with this technology. Therefore, in today’s article, we will talk about the basic concepts of storage virtualization in order to dispel the misunderstandings regarding this technology and define what it really is, what are its types and what are the benefits associated with it.
Virtualization is a technology in which a virtual version of a server, operating system, desktop and network resources, etc. is created. Such virtual instances are cost-effective, high in performance, provide risk minimization and increase the efficiency of IT processes.
Storage virtualization is a technology that is implemented by either using software applications or appliances. In simple technical terms, anything that makes a virtual instance of a physical storage is a form of storage virtualization. It helps in the facilitation of easy data archiving, backup and recovery by hiding the complexities of the SAN (storage area network).
It can be used on any SAN level and there is a flexibility of application on different storage functions. You can apply this virtualization technique on physical storage, storage zones, LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers), logical volumes and RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) groups, etc.
Storage Virtualization Types
Storage virtualization is of two types that are listed below:
- Block-level virtualization: This type of virtualization is implemented in storage area network (SAN). It is basically a means of providing a translation layer between the storage arrays and the host in the SAN. Virtualized LUNs on virtual devices are used by servers instead of LUNs present on individual storage arrays.
- File-level virtualization: This type is implemented on network attached storage (NAS) level and creates a logical path for accessing files with the help of a logical pool of storage. This helps in removal of physical storage related dependencies of the file and such files can be moved easily.
Advantages of Storage Virtualization
Storage virtualization has a myriad of advantages. Some of these advantages are as follows:
- This virtualization helps in better utilization of storage.
- It makes storage a scalable entity.
- It is perfect for improving data storage management of heterogeneous environments.
- It provides data migration that is non-disruptive in nature.
- It leads to the high availability of infrastructure.
- It predicts better downtime estimations via automated management.
- It has an easy update mechanism.
- It leads to storage capacity expansion.
- It helps in reducing the time of manual supervision.
If you are looking for a cost-efficient method for storage virtualization, then we would recommend tape library backup software. VTL was created specifically for businesses that require budget friendly tape backup processes and do not want to compromise on the regulatory requirements related to data archiving and data retention. VTL is ransomware-resilient with object storage tier and cloud-supported on-premises VTLs. With this solution, you can easily increase your storage security and decrease the cost by replicating and tier-ing your data backups to any cloud e.g. Azure and AWS, etc.