Solving virtualization's storage problem

The storage challenges associated with virtualization are only going to grow in the next few years, reports John Zyskowski in Federal Computer Week.

On average, government IT professionals expect virtualized workloads to almost double in the next four years — from 37 percent to 63 percent, according to a MeriTalk report titled “Virtualization Vacuum: The 2012 Government Virtualization Study.”

When you virtualize 10 physical servers or 100 desktop computers and run them all as software on a single big server, the storage system connected to that server might not be able to support the unique demands of the new workload, particularly as the density of virtual machines increases, Zyskowski writes.

The resulting bottleneck is a prime culprit in the unpredictable system latency that seven out of 10 federal IT managers cite as a problem when they virtualize servers in their data centers, according to a MeriTalk report published last year titled “Consolidation Conundrum.”

There are various ways to address the storage bottleneck associated with server and desktop virtualization. Some solutions are new and purpose-built for the task, while others involve more traditional tools enlisted to focus on the specific needs of virtualization.

The product label getting a lot of recent attention is the storage hypervisor, which abstracts multiple physical storage assets (such as disks and cache) into a single virtual resource that can be allocated in any number of ways for different purposes.

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