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Top 3 Things to Look for in a Virtualized Storage Solution

Top 3 things to look for in a virtualized storage solution

Virtualized storage solutions can be a critical component of a converged infrastructure. With storage virtualization, IT can pool the physical storage from multiple networked storage devices into what appears to be a single storage device managed from a central console. This is a natural fit for a converged infrastructure, which enables a platform for pooling and centrally managing the resources from the entire infrastructure, also including servers and networks.

With the right storage virtualization solutions in place, IT can save time and money in managing, upgrading and scaling the infrastructure, while improving performance and reliability. Virtualized storage should include tight integration with the leading virtualization platforms, along with key features of a modern storage infrastructure, including automated tiering, deduplication, integrated backup and recovery, resiliency and simplified manageability.

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Here are the top three things to look for in a virtualized storage solution:

No. 1: Tight integration with the leading virtualization platforms
Your storage virtualization platform is not going to be an isolated silo of storage. It will be integrated into a larger converged infrastructure environment, which means it will be in a larger virtualization environment. In virtually every case, this will be VMware, Microsoft or OpenStack.

In deploying storage virtualization, you want to make sure that your solution is tightly integrated with the underlying virtualization platform, with integrated tools and application programming interfaces to simplify and orchestrate management. Examples of these would be vCenter plug-ins, particularly for VMware’s VASA API for storage awareness; tools such as Dell’s Virtual Storage Manager for VMware environments and Host Integration Tools for Microsoft Hyper-V; as well as platforms such as the Dell Compellent Storage Center to take advantage of the OpenStack framework to support next-generation cloud initiatives.

No. 2: Flexible automated tiering architecture to address both performance and capacity challenges
Automated tiering is essential to any modern storage solution, but not all tiering architectures are the same. In a converged infrastructure environment, you want to choose a modular architecture that gives you the most flexibility in delivering the right amount of storage to the right workload at the right time—and at the right cost.

Storage virtualization will be needed when your server infrastructure is highly virtualized. In a highly virtualized environment, one of the challenges is going to be the high number of IOPS generated, so your storage solution will need some level of flash storage to address those performance challenges. But you will still be dealing with massive data growth, so you need a solution that can also address capacity challenges within the same architecture.

The answer is a storage platform that supports intelligent tiering between flash and rotating hard disk drives (HDDs). Ideally, the solution would also support tiering between different types of flash within tier one applications. With a more modular architecture, you will be able to be far more flexible in deploying storage for different workloads, and you will be able to keep a rein on total cost of ownership because you won’t be overprovisioning flash and you’ll be maximizing your legacy storage infrastructure as well.

No 3: Integrated management tools, including for backup and recovery
Storage virtualization is a solution that will simplify, automate and centralize management of the storage environment; converged infrastructure is a solution that will enable you to coordinate the management of storage in conjunction with the management of servers and networks.

Therefore, you need solutions that automate storage provisioning and management at the storage level, along with tools that simplify monitoring and management at the virtualization and converged infrastructure levels. Here are some of the additional features you want to see in your solution:

  • Integrated backup and recovery tools to assure simple, reliable and streamlined backup that enable you to achieve your recovery-time objectives and recovery-point objectives.

  • Integrated tools for online recovery so that you can automate the processes involved in scheduling and managing snapshots.

  • Scale-out architectural approaches that minimize downtime and enable nondisruptive upgrades.

  • Coordination with converged infrastructure tools, such as Dell Active System Manager, that coordinate management, pooling and provisioning of storage resources in conjunction with the management and provisioning of network and server resources.

Conclusion
As virtualization proliferates and organizations move toward cloud computing environments supported by converged infrastructures, storage virtualization can be an important ingredient in enabling operational efficiencies and cost controls. In addition, the right storage virtualization platform will help you support the performance and capacity needs of all the various workloads throughout your organization. To learn more, visit www.dell.com/startsaving.

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