Compound storage growth is exceeding 100 per cent a year, which means an organisation managing one terabyte of disk storage today will have 32 terabytes five years from now.
Because the complexity of managing IT infrastructures increases exponentially, many vendors, large and small, are promoting storage virtualisation, Rob Nieboer, a senior manager at StorageTek told an audience at the IDC Storage Forum held in San Jose.
"Many customers are concerned about the prospect of having to deal with a storage infrastructure 32 times bigger than it is today," Nieboer said.
Virtualisation is clearly positioned by the majority of vendors, he said, as a means to simplify the management of large, complex, heterogeneous storage environments. The clear implication is that virtualisation will exist within a storage networking, typically San, environment.
Nieboer defined virtualisation as separating the presentation of storage to the server operating system from the actual physical devices. "We believe that automated policy-based management algorithms and decision-making intelligence will join virtualisation in the near future," said Nieboer.
Specifically, he said that the purpose of storage virtualisation is to enable better management and consolidation of storage resources.
He said virtualisation contributes several things to the goal of easing storage management workloads. For example, it hides complexity by simplifying the server's view of what devices exist. It also masks change by enabling physical storage devices to be removed, upgraded or changed without the need to tell the operating system by way of device drivers that the storage world is different now.
"It could be argued that some of these things aren't even virtualisation, but abstraction or emulation, or aggregation. However, the point is not to argue semantics but to stimulate a critical view of virtualisation offerings so that intelligent choices can be made," Nieboer said.
Storage virtualisation will significantly improve storage manageability and significantly reduce storage infrastructure costs, he said.
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