What is Storage Virtualization in Cloud Computing?
Storage virtualization is the sharing of physical storage into multiple storage devices which further appears to be a single storage device. It can be also called as a group of an available storage device which simply manages from a central console.
This virtualization provides numerous benefits such as easy backup, achieving, and recovery of the data. This whole process requires very less time and works in an efficient manner. Storage virtualization in Cloud Computing does not show the actual complexity of the Storage Area Network (SAN). This virtualization is applicable to all levels of SAN.
Why is storage virtualization needed?
Despite the drive for digital transformation, IT departments are held back by the constant need to administer, tune, and maintain storage infrastructure that supports apps and data. In fact, to achieve high storage availability, IT deals with a great deal of hardware complexity and overhead cost.
A recent survey of IT decision-makers conducted by ESG for HPE found that 93% see storage and data management complexity impeding digital transformation. And 67% of surveyed organizations see fragmented data visibility across hybrid cloud creating business risk. That means enterprises must fundamentally change the piecemeal technology used to manage data and infrastructure. They need to break down all the complexity and silos for their data and infrastructure across the hybrid cloud.
How can it help enterprises?
By including virtual storage in the infrastructure environment, IT can avoid overprovisioning, reduce infrastructure costs, and speed up response times to any business need, enabling IT to focus less on administration and more on innovation.
Additionally, enterprises that modernize and virtualize their storage gain a competitive advantage with fewer disruptions, limited unplanned downtime, no data migrations, and no complex upgrades.
How does storage virtualization work?
In storage virtualization, physical storage hardware mirror in a virtual volume. To construct a simple virtual storage environment, multiple physical disks combine into a grouping that uses a single server. Virtual storage or logical storage blocks assign to the same server and help to redirect the input/output (I/O) traffic.
The physical disks are separated from the virtual volume by a virtualization layer that enables operating systems and applications to access and use the storage. Virtual storage software takes the I/O requests and sends them across the overall pool of storage to the appropriate storage devices.
The physical disks themselves divide into small blocks of data, or objects known as logical unit numbers (LUN’s), logical volume (LV), or RAID groups. These blocks are presented to remote servers as a virtual disk. They look just like a physical disk to the server, rather than the collection of storage devices that make up the overall pool of storage in the virtualized environment.
In a more complicated environment, RAID arrays can function as virtual storage. Here, multiple physical drives mimic a single storage device that stripes and replicates data to multiple disks in the background. This process improves I/O performance and protects the data from a failure in any single drive.
The way data access from the physical drives requires an additional step for the virtualization software. Along with creating a barrier between the physical and virtual storage devices, the virtualization software creates a map using metadata that allows the stored data to be located quickly. In some cases, the software creates an algorithm to find the data even more quickly.
Creating virtual storage can achieve on both block-level and file-level storage environments. Virtualizing a storage area network (SAN) involves adding a translation layer between the hosts and the storage arrays. In this type of storage virtualization, servers redirect to virtualized LUNs on the individual storage array. These virtualized LUNs remain on the virtualized device. Virtualizing a NAS involves removing the dependencies between the data accessed at the file level and the location where the files are physically stored.
What are the different types of storage virtualization?
There are a few ways that storage can apply to a virtual environment: host-based, array-based, and network-based.
Most often used in HCI systems and cloud storage, host-based virtualization relies on software to direct traffic. In this method, physical storage can attribute to nearly any device or array. The host, or a hyper-converged system comprised of several hosts, presents virtual drives to guest machines of any configuration, such as virtual machines (VMs) in an enterprise, PCs accessing file shares, or servers accessing data via the cloud.
In array-based storage virtualization, servers are physically located, and which array is being accessed is not visible to the servers or users accessing the storage. Here, a storage array serves as a primary storage controller, using virtualization software to pool storage resources from other arrays. The array also can present different types of physical storage as tiers, rather than a disparate collection of devices. Such tiers make of solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs) on the various arrays.
Network-based is the most common form of storage virtualization. Here, all storage devices connect in an FC or ISCSI SAN by a network device. These interconnected devices present themselves as a single virtual pool within their storage network.
What are the benefits of storage virtualization?
Lower cost: Because virtual storage doesn’t require the typical hardware redundancies needed in traditional enterprise storage architectures for disaster recovery, fewer appliances and/or software licenses need to be purchased. This saves enterprises from the significant cost of up-front financial commitments.
Saved time: Virtualized storage not only reduces downtime—planned and unplanned—but it also makes upgrading much less time-consuming and disruptive.
Improved efficiency: Getting faster storage with better capacity utilization is the biggest benefit. It also provides more stability to data access and processing. In addition, virtual storage ensures 100% utilization and little chance of running out of capacity.
Scalability: With virtual storage, organizations no longer need to forecast their long-term future storage needs or pay for all that capacity upfront. Instead, IT can take advantage of dynamic provisioning that responds to changing needs on demand.
Easier management: Virtual storage simplifies and improves resource use, providing an easy addition/deletion of storage without interrupting applications. It also enables seamless data migration and streamlines advanced feature application across the storage pool.
Increased productivity: Virtual storage not only delivers 100% availability, but it also has the potential to accelerate app and service deployments to realize value faster.
Reduced risk: If a disk drive, storage controller, or power supply were to fail, each is already mirrored in the virtual array, so the risk of disruption is considerably reduced. That virtual redundancy limits slower performance and increases storage efficiency and flexibility.
DataCore vFilO software offers next-generation distributed file and object storage virtualization. As it supports storage from Network Attached Storage (NAS) systems, Block Storage such as Direct Attached Storage (DAS) and Storage Area Networking (SAN), and Object Storage. DataCore vFilO gives unprecedented visibility and control over widely-scattered data spread across NAS, file servers, and object stores through a multi-site, keyword-searchable global namespace.
vFilO combines the capabilities of a scale-out distributed file systems while delivering on the benefits of an object storage system, supporting NFS, SMB, and S3 protocol access to the same set of data, plus the ability to continually loads balances, manage, optimize, and migrate data between active primary and secondary tiers. Inactive data is de-duplicated, compressed, and moved to lower cost storage such as a cloud S3 bucket. DataCore’s enterprise-class data services are unconstrained by hardware infrastructure or geography and include live data mobility, self-service undelete, snapshots/clones, and replication at any level of granularity.