Virtual reality sets in

Dave Simpson

According to IDC, the number of virtual servers deployed will rise at a 41% CAGR through 2010, resulting in almost 8 million virtual servers implemented on 1.7 million new physical servers. But for storage professionals, here’s a more interesting stat, cited by Virtual Strategy Magazine (www.virtual–strategy.com): For every $1 spent on virtualization projects, $2.50 is spent on SAN–based storage to support those projects. We’re not sure how they came up with that figure, but it’s certainly no wonder why virtualization is the buzzword in both the server and storage vendor camps.

From a storage perspective, you can look at server virtualization in two ways:

  • Virtual servers have unique requirements in the areas of performance, management, storage capacity, and data protection, so storage vendors are scrambling to improve their products for play in the virtual server world, and end users are hustling to upgrade their storage infrastructure and software to take better advantage of the benefits of server virtualization; and
  • As end users become more comfortable with virtual servers—and the virtualization concept in general—they are much more likely to adopt storage virtualization, which until recently has been only a distant cousin of server virtualization. In addition, the two technologies will be merging in the near future.

That’s the subject of this issue’s Special Report, “How server virtualization affects storage,” which is based on highlights from an extensive end–user survey conducted by ESG Research (see p. 20). For more information, visit www.enterprisestrategygroup.com.

Besides grappling with new methods for storage management and data protection, end users are tightening the synergies between their storage infrastructures and their virtual server environments, and the obvious trend is toward networked storage. In part because the majority of virtual server implementations are at larger enterprises, it’s no surprise that Fibre Channel SANs rule in the virtual server arena, but iSCSI is coming on strong in this space because it fits in nicely with the low–cost benefits associated with virtualization and consolidation.

In an InfoStor QuickVote poll of our readers with virtual servers, more than half (59%) cited Fibre Channel SANs as their primary storage configuration, followed by iSCSI SANs at 26%, NAS at 9%, and DAS at only 6%.

Also in this issue…

Eric Burgener
Taneja Group

Storage optimization (aka capacity–optimized storage, data reduction, data de–duplication, compression, etc.) used to apply only to secondary storage, but a handful of vendors recently began concentrating on storage optimization for primary storage devices. For more information on this trend, and the players and products, see “It’s time for primary storage optimization,” by the Taneja Group’s Eric Burgener, on p. 27.

This article was originally published on May 01, 2008