Virtualization Makes Managing Storage Harder

Michael Vizard

Now that the majority of servers are running virtual machine software, a lot of IT organizations are wrestling with storage.

The primary issue is that not only is storage now their biggest nfrastructure cost, the performance of their storage systems is constantly challenged by the number of virtual servers contending for those resources.

Worse yet, many of the application workloads on those systems will start to dynamically move around the enterprise, which will put additional pressure on I/O performance as storage managers figure out how to move large amounts of data across a wide area network.

And to make things more interesting, there will be virtual machines from different vendors all looking to access the same storage systems. In short, managing storage may soon be the toughest job in the data center. That represents a radical shift from a world where applications had near linear access to dedicated amounts of storage space.

Emerging storage technology vendors such as Virsto Software are hoping this seismic shift in storage will motivate storage managers to look for new approaches to managing storage. Virsto this month upgraded its storage management software to add support for the new Dynamic Memory feature in the Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machine, which allows users to run more virtual machines per physical server.

Virsto CEO Mark Davis says that in the not too distant future, Virsto will add support for VMware in anticipation of the rise of heterogenous virtual machine environments.

It's still a little early to determine whether incumbent storage vendors will be able to rise to the challenges of virtualization or whether IT organizations will have to look to a new crop of storage vendors.

But in the wake of virtualization, storage management will never be the same.

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