Most companies are embracing virtualization in some way to
support their business requirements. More and more companies are moving to have
virtual servers to support mission critical business applications. As you
consider designing a virtual server environment for your organization you need
to make sure you know the different storage choices, so you can pick the right
option for your environment.
There are many benefits of virtualization, as well as there
are many decisions you need to make. One of the biggest ones is the storage
solution for your virtualized environment. You need to be able to load balance
your virtual environments, and swapping virtual machine between different hosts
is one of the solutions to accomplish load balancing. There are many different
ways to attach storage to your virtual machine, like using Fibre
Channel or iSCSI storage area networks, as well as network-attached
storage. You need to make sure you select the appropriate storage architecture
to run your virtualized environment.
While server virtualization solves many problems there are
other issues that virtualization introduces. In this Forrest report, they have
identified three of the most important storage challenges that IT organization
face in a virtualized environment. These challenges are performance, backup and
capacity. IT professional should work closely with their hardware and software
vendors to make sure they implement reasonable solutions to overcome their
This research paper finds that corporations continue to
purchase storage from major storage vendors. In addition, most are also
sticking to a single vendor for all their virtualized environments. Server
virtualization does not seem to be driving people to invest in a SAN storage
environment if they do not already have a SAN storage solution. The majority of
the respondents surveyed for this paper are exploiting the storage solutions
they already know and have, rather than investing in something new.
Fibre Channel seems to be the most predominate network
protocol used by most organizations today, although a fair number also use iSCSI
and NSF protocols. There seems to be an overwhelming preference for network
storage verses direct attached storage.
Storage buyers for virtual environments need to think out
of the box. You need to consider all your options prior to selecting a storage
solution for your virtual environments. Selecting the correct or incorrect
storage solution can make or break your virtualization architecture.