Increased storage demands are driving many IT leaders to virtualized storage, according to a new report from Aberdeen Group. The Boston-based research firm surveyed more than 180 end-user organizations in May 2010 on the subject of virtualization. More than eight in 10 (84%) cited increasing demand for storage as their No. 1 pressure.
One contributing factor to this rising demand for virtualized storage is the virtualization of servers and PCs, which increases the amount of data that needs to be stored centrally, according to the report "Why Are IT Leaders Deploying Virtualized Storage" (June 2010)
. For example, the report says, each server VM (virtualized OS and application stack) has a copy of the operating system, rather than sharing one copy of the OS across multiple applications on the same server. According to the report, storage virtualization enables more efficient utilization as all forms of storage (NAS, SAN, and server-based disk) by collecting and managing them together as a single unit, with no stranding of storage assets. Among the highlights of the study:
Storage virtualization offers operational advantages. Five of the top six benefits of deploying storage virtualization are operational, rather than financial. Nearly two thirds of respondents (63%) reported that virtualization reduced the effort to manage their SANs.
Reduction in infrastructure. Nearly half (48%) of those who have deployed storage virtualization report reducing the number of SAN devices in their infrastructure, while 44% report a reduced time to deploy new applications and servers.
Broad virtualization projects. Companies with virtualized storage show a wider range of virtualization projects across the organization than those with no storage virtualization. These companies are more likely to have server virtualization (95% vs. 73% for those who have not virtualized their storage), purchase servers designed for virtualization (74% vs. 40%), have a converged network (49% vs. 15%), and have virtualized their desktops (35% vs. 18%).
Storage virtualization training is essential. Aberdeen found that formal training and certification for virtual tool administrators, adding virtual I/O capabilities, and standardizing on one type of server were among the most important factors in gaining advantages from storage virtualization products.
The study, written by Dick Csplar, Aberdeen's Senior Research Analyst, outlines key steps for a successful storage virtualization effort. These include:
Making sure your corporate management understands the goals and objectives of deploying this new layer of technology. The primary benefit is operational efficiency, not financial.
Providing formal training. This is one of the key enablers to a successful deployment. Storage virtualization adds an additional layer of software that can either enhance the performance of the data center or add to its complexity. Formal training ensures these tools are successfully installed and performing as required.
Measuring results is a must. Nearly four in 10 (38%) of enterprises with storage virtualization measure IT against cost targets. Only by understanding the real results of deploying new technologies can corrective actions be taken or further improvements made to enhance the performance of the IT infrastructure.
For more information, download a complimentary copy of the report "Why Are IT Leaders Deploying Virtualized Storage" (June 2010)