5 Virtual Data Storage Tips

If you’ve decided to move over to virtual storage, you’ll be likely looking forward to a future of flexible storage using existing resources rather than the upheaval of periodic hardware upgrades to keep pace.

While virtualized storage can offer much by way of flexibility, using existing resources efficiently, saving costs and reducing your carbon footprint it pays to think ahead and adhere to some basic procedures.

Plan carefully

When moving over to virtualized storage, consider carefully the software you’ll invest. Not only should it be able to meet current and future requirements, you need to retain fluidity and that means avoiding vendor lock-in.

Lock-in is where you find yourself having to buy a piece of hardware or a software package from a specific manufacturer due to compatibility considerations. It’s very important to opt for maximum compatibility and ‘hardware agnostic’ software so as to be able to make the most of your existing resources.

It’s a basic principle amongst users of more modest software such as creative professionals who often mix and match packages they like to use and that work well together, so it certainly matters when planning a whole virtual infrastructure.

For example, if you go for hypervisor software from industry leaders VMware with vSphere or Microsoft with Hyper-V, then you’ll require a virtual SAN (Storage Area Network) that is compatible with them and can work perfectly well with your existing commodity servers.

A package such as SvSAN from StorMagic meets the aforementioned criteria, so would enable you to use your existing hardware and use an industry-leading hypervisor with no threat of ‘lock-in’.

This also ties in with making things as seamless as possible when it comes to integrating virtual storage into your setup. Existing resources are retained and used as far as possible rather than a wholesale and expensive upheaval.

Taking your time

Do your homework in evaluating the virtualized storage solution that is best for you. Ideally, look for a SAN vendor who will allow you to evaluate the package for a period of time on a ‘test drive’ basis as the vendor mentioned above offers.

Getting it right first time is imperative as the upheaval and expense of changing courses later is clearly best avoided, so establish properly that it meets your requirements.

The learning curve

While you may already have experienced virtualization of your servers, there’s still a learning curve when changing to virtualized storage. This is where a vendor offering a ‘test drive’ of the software comes in very useful, and even better if they’ll offer some support while you’re evaluating their solution.

Disaster recovery

While it’s heavily trumpeted that virtual storage set ups can adapt and recover quickly from outages and other problems, it’s still important to be totally familiar with how back ups and data recovery is achieved and how quickly.

Support levels

You’ll require good levels of support – and especially support that is tailored to your requirements. It may be that you need more ‘hand holding’ in the earlier stages, but look for a vendor who provides various levels of support so you can choose the most appropriate.

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