The Storage Virtualization Challenge

Michael Vizard

When it comes to virtualization these days there is an assumption that everything associated with a virtual machine can now be neatly managed by next-generation integrated servers.

But the folks at DataCore Software, a provider of storage virtualization software, say that any such assumptions related to storage virtualization fly in the face of any IT realities they know.

The fundamental issue when it comes to storage virtualization, says DataCore chairman Ziya Aral, is the simple fact that virtualization environments by definition are fluid. Not only is it unlikely that the future of virtualization will be defined by virtual machines from a single vendor, the dynamic nature of the overall environment will require constant changes and updates to the storage system.

Given that requirement, it's more than likely that storage requirements will therefore outpace server growth, which means that IT organizations will need to manage and upgrade storage environments separately from the server and network. That situation becomes even more exacerbated, says Aral, once you start factoring in the impact of desktop virtualization.

In addition, Aral notes that as storage hardware becomes more of a commodity, IT organizations are going to want a software-centric approach to storage that allows them to take advantage of continuing advances in processor technologies on their terms, versus waiting for providers of integrated servers to determine when to upgrade the overall environment.

Aral says that in order to migrate into a virtual environment, some customers are tempted by integrated servers that promise greater simplicity. But the reality of virtualization is that it is complex to manage, and as such, IT organizations need approaches to managing IT that give them as much flexibility as possible.

There is no doubt that enterprise IT is going through some great changes. But if Aral is right, then the more IT things change, the more they will actually stay the same.

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