The advent of software-defined storage and hyperconvergence technologies makes virtual data storage a viable alternative for companies looking to lower IT costs. In fact, because these solutions don’t require the hardware redundancies typically needed in traditional enterprise storage systems for disaster recovery, they can reduce both initial costs and ongoing operating costs by substantial amounts.

Virtual data storage permits IT departments to pool physical storage devices, like SANs that appear to be one device or storage array. There are a variety of ways to use this technology that include network-based storage virtualization (which brings together all of the storage devices of an FC or iSCSI storage area into a single pool that is managed via a central management console) and host-based virtualization. Host-based Virtualization is commonly used in HCI systems and cloud storage.

Virtual storage should be compatible not only with the hardware infrastructure, but also with the hypervisors, servers, and networking components. It must also enable data encryption as well as granular authentication, access controls and robust backup and disaster recover capabilities.

Additionally, virtual storage needs to be able to tackle the issues of performance and latency. This includes ensuring that critical software can be run without compromising performance or causing delay to data retrieval. This includes assessing the performance of storage controllers, network bandwidth and capacity of disk I/O as well as using cache mechanisms. This also includes the implementation of advanced storage functions, such as tiering and replicating at the virtualization level.

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