Managing storage devices and data can be very difficult as well as consume our limited precious time. Due to the always increasing complexity and a sheer number of storage devices we use, it is necessary to have an enhanced method of managing all of them. By using storage virtualization, an additional layer of software/hardware is created that exists between servers and storage systems. Storage virtualization allows a user to group physical storage devices, so they are viewed and act as a single device.
With virtualization, a user can view which partitions, drives, and subsystems contain their data, as well as move it around freely. This method of storage also benefits availability, as data is not restricted to specific storage resources. By using storage virtualization, storage expansion can be automated, thus reducing the requirement for manual expansion, as well as allowing the storage system to be updated automatically; this reduces downtime significantly.
Storage virtualization can be structured using 3 different methods. Storage-device-based is when virtualization is built into the storage fabric. Network-based storage virtualization is when virtualization is viewed as a network-based device such as a SAN. Finally, in host-based virtualization, physical drives are handled by a typical device driver while a software layer intercepts and redirects input and outputs. Whichever method one chooses to use, using storage virtualization can offer many benefits.