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1/20/2009
09:03 AM
George Crump
George Crump
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Virtualization Driving SMB Storage

As server virtualization begins to work its way down the data center food chain, it is making small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) change their plans for storage selection. Shared storage is almost an agreed-to requirement to get the full potential out of a virtualization investment, but how can an SME find the right product and not vaporize its budget?

As server virtualization begins to work its way down the data center food chain, it is making small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) change their plans for storage selection. Shared storage is almost an agreed-to requirement to get the full potential out of a virtualization investment, but how can an SME find the right product and not vaporize its budget?This is an important challenge to overcome for the SME to be able to really roll out a virtual server infrastructure. SME's are learning, as larger data centers before them, that server virtualization changes everything about storage.

First, shared storage is a must to get important capabilities like virtual server migration. Second, storage I/O performance quickly becomes a consideration for even the smallest enterprises and all of this I/O is totally random, it is hard to predict what server is going to make which I/O request and when. This results in the need for good overall random I/O performance out of your storage platform. Finally/ the storage must be highly available -- all your eggs are in one basket, so to speak; a failure in storage now affects many virtual servers, so downtime isn't an option.

Storage vendors like DataCore and FalconStor are responding with priced right solutions that actually leverage the server virtualization investment to host their storage software. These products create a virtual machine or, in their case, a virtual appliance that replaces the need for additional hardware and allows the SME to leverage and share internal storage. DataCore, for example, has recently announced new pricing on a full-featured Highly Available SAN solution at prices starting at about $10,000.

When looking for SME storage to compliment your virtual server rollout strategy look for a solution that can:

Upgrade as your business grows Deliver excellent random I/O performance Deliver rock-solid SAN data protection And, of course, is priced right to meet the realities of your budget

Shared Storage that allows the SME to take full advantage of its server virtualization investment is now readily available. By implementing shared storage, the SME can leverage virtualization to further reduce server costs and even storage costs in its environment. There has never been a better time for SME's to implement a shared storage solution.

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George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

 

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