Better Data Storage in a Virtual Environment


Virtualization helps consolidate resources so that large-scale IT operations can accomplish more with less: That is to say, less infrastructure, fewer power requirements, less hardware and less actual real estate space.

Even so, pooling resources through virtualization leaves server farms in need of storage, which typically remains local, in the form of Storage Area Network (SAN), Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Direct Attached Storage (DAS.)

While most virtual servers are created with CPU power, memory, and I/O speeds as the top considerations, fast, reliable, efficient data storage should also be at the top of the IT wish list for a cost-effective virtual server.

Mapping I/O Speeds in Your Virtual Environment

Data storage choices, including the type of RAID array selected, greatly affects the speed of your virtual server. For instance, consider an app that runs with I/O speeds of 3 to 5 IO per second (IOPS). Multiply that by 100 virtual servers, and that’s putting significant I/O requirements on a server. You need data storage media that can hold up to the demands. To create a truly scalable network, always take IOPS into consideration and select the largest, most reliable storage method you can afford with the lowest latency and highest IOPS.

Data Storage for Virtual Servers

Whether you’re running your company’s virtual servers using VMWare, Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Citrix or another platform, you need high-speed, low latency, high-throughput storage devices. RAID arrays are a popular choice for data storage in VMWare and other virtual servers. Look for RAID solutions that offer high-speed caching and high spindle counts for faster I/O speeds and greater stability.

And, of course, always follow data back-up best practices, which includes making sure that server snapshots function as expected and are accessible in a data recovery emergency situation. 

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