Storage for Virtual Environments

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<ul><li> 1. E-Guide Storage for Virtual Environments Storage virtualization is still a fairly new technology, but it is gradually gaining prominence in data centers across businesses of all sizes. Although the potential for storage virtualization and the benefits it delivers are great, there is still some confusion in the market about what it can do and what it is all about. While this technology continues to gain momentum, it is important to have a solid grasp on the concepts of storage virtualization and how it is rapidly changing the way storage is managed. This E-Guide, featuring articles from SearchStorage.com and SearchServerVirtualization.com, provides a complete outline of storage virtualization and other virtualization techniques, including: Virtualization Trends in 2007 Integrating Storage and Server Virtualization Disaster Recovery Options for VMware users Five Tips for Understanding Virtualization The VMware and NetApp Integration Sponsored By: </li> <li> 2. Storage for Virtual Environments Table of Contents E-Guide Storage for Virtual Environments Table of Contents: The Virtual Machinist: Virtualization trends in 2007 Top five tips for understanding virtualization Integrating storage and server virtualization VMware users explore disaster recovery options VMware and NetApp in cahoots? Resources from Insight Sponsored by: Page 2 of 16 </li> <li> 3. Storage for Virtual Environments The Virtual Machinist: Virtualization trends in 2007 The Virtual Machinist: Virtualization trends in 2007 By Alessandro Perilli Today what we call server virtualization is a compelling technology, quickly pervading worldwide data centers with the promise of cost-savings and more efficient management. While this is true, there are a lot of factors which concurrently reduce the benefits of server virtualization: high starting costs for hardware, complexity and discrepancies in software licensing, lack of support, lack of experienced professionals and training and lack of tools able to address long-term issues. Server virtualization is a revolutionary technology, for sure, but it's still very immature in several aspects. I think the shortcomings listed above will drive future market trends. First of all SANs (Storage Area Networks) will become a mandatory companion for virtualization, obliging even smaller companies to purchase network storage equipment. Some, however, will fall back to cheaper Network Attached Storage, but only for very small projects. To reduce costs and be ready to scale up, cheaper iSCSI models with modular architectures will be the preferred choice. At the same time virtualization will drive sales of high-density multi-core CPUs, which leads to higher consolidation ratios. A single eight-core host will easily accommodate 32 virtual machines on average, which is more than enough to build a complete datacenter for many SMBs. Get ready for overkill: Intel is working on an 80-core prototype, available in production within five years. In this scenario of rapid advances, hardware will more redundant and reliable than ever, obliging customers to buy more expensive hosts with each physical component doubled, including motherboard and CPU. Looking beyond the hardware scene, this year vendors will start to satisfy a moderate demand for enhanced disas- ter recovery capabilities in virtualization platforms. This is good news for those running enterprise data centers with severe high-availability requirements. In the coming year, more and more companies will want traditional IT solutions to be supported in virtualization scenarios. Also, demand for application virtualization solutions will increase. These changes will bring demands for software houses to reconsider their support and licensing models and will push the evolution of licenses onto yet another new path. I think that usage tracking of physical resources is the best way to go. Anyway, changing licensing models will take lot of time, and there is almost no chance for a neat, new model to appear this year. Sponsored by: Page 3 of 16 </li> <li> 4. Storage for Virtual Environments The Virtual Machinist: Virtualization trends in 2007 Going further on software side, the most compelling issue customers will face will be management of hundreds, even thousands of virtual machines (VMs). Already, some vendors are offering data center automation tools to streamline VM management. Those first out of the gate with products have a chance to be very successful, espe- cially later in 2007 when VM sprawl begins to be a problem for early adopters. Expect to see introductions of many virtualization management tools this year. All in all, server virtualization is a technology doomed to success. Look for excitement on the client side. Application virtualization market will start growing in the second half of the year, after Microsoft, Citrix and Symantec will attempt to streamline application distribution by tweaking and regurgitating products acquired during 2006. Sponsored by: Page 4 of 16 </li> <li> 5. Storage for Virtual Environments Top five tips for understanding virtualization Top five tips for understanding virtualization By Jack Loftus Virtualization is a hot trend, but that doesn't mean every IT shop has to jump on the bandwagon just yet. There are some shops that just won't need this technology no matter how big the hype becomes this year. For those shops that decide virtualization is the right move for them, there has to be a complete understanding of existing resources, hardware and applications before they take action. A well-virtualized data center is a well-educated data center, and these top tips, provided by U.K.-based C&amp;C Technology Consulting's practice leader Shane Colombo, put users well on their way to understanding how this technology could work best for them. 1. Understand your infrastructure. Before you make a decision about virtualization, it is imperative to learn about your shop's existing infrastructure. This includes the numbers and types of servers, operating systems, CPU and memory utilization, application names and versions. "Without a thorough understanding of these components, it would be difficult to understand how virtualization technologies could best be used within your organization," Colombo said. 2. Don't virtualize everything. Although virtualization is a flexible technology and can bring benefits to a wide variety of environments, it is not the answer for everything. Operating system virtualization provides the most benefit when it replaces a physical server that is underutilized. As an example, Colombo cited a server running Active Directory that is using a small percentage of its processing power. "[This situation] is therefore ideal for virtualization," he said. 3. Understand your administration model. Virtualization brings a new style of administration that may impact the existing processes within an organization. Realize that existing server teams with provisioning responsibilities could have to adapt to this new model in order to create new virtual servers. 4. Understand the applications you have. "Before virtualizing any applications, it is best practice to under- stand exactly what applications are included in the estate, what versions they are currently using and how they work," Colombo said. When you have a complete understanding of your applications, you'll be able to make the best decisions when considering virtualizing those applications. 5. Make capacity planning decisions. Understanding the infrastructure that will be used to virtualize an environment is a mustespecially the specification and capacity of the chosen systems. If you do it incorrectly, then the solution you choose may not provide the expected performance and service levels. Also, with open source applicationsespecially with virtualization on a Linux platformthere is a vast com- munity of users who can help you understand the various virtualization technologies present today. Sponsored by: Page 5 of 16 </li> <li> 6. Insight Integrated Systems (Insight IS), a division of Insight Investments, Corp., delivers high quality information-centric business solutions and services leveraging people, processes and technology. We enable our clients to maximize the return on their technology investments while maintaining close alignment with their entire business strategy. At the same time, Insight reduces technology risk; optimizes capital expenditure; provides timely market intelligence and advice; offers smart refresh and migration options, and upgrade alternatives. 600 City Parkway West, 5th Floor Orange, CA 92868 (714) 939-2300 For cutting-edge and cost-effective storage solutions, contact www.insightintegrated.com Insight Integrated Systems for a needs based analysis. Additional information about our technology solutions and services is available online at www.insightintegrated.com </li> <li> 7. Storage for Virtual Environments Integrating storage and server virtualization Integrating storage and server virtualization By Rick Cook What you will learn about virtualization: Knowing your storage and server hardware and checking its compati- bility is a critical step in integrating virtual servers and virtual storage. This tip offers practical advice for integrating virtualization products. Storage virtualization remains a fairly new technology, and Windows server virtualization is even newer, yet it's tak- ing time to make sure both kinds of virtualization can play well together. But, this is happening. Increasingly over time, if you encounter problems regarding their compatibility, those issues are likely to involve poor performance rather than complete failure. To ensure adequate performance, it is important to fully understand both the server and storage virtualization products you are attempting to integrate. Of course, you've got to know what you're virtualizing. One of the first steps in any virtualization project, whether it's storage or server and especially both, is to conduct an inventory of the servers, storage devices and such that will be involved. This includes things such as the host bus adapters (HBA) and storage area network (SAN) switches, and the software and firmware revisions. Check the hardware compatibility lists (HCL) for both virtualization products and make sure your configuration con- forms. This is getting easier as virtualization vendors work to make their products interoperable. For example, VMware Inc., now owned by EMC Corp., is aggressively promoting its VMware Infrastructure 3, which ties VMware's ESX Server 3 and related products with storage virtualization, and associated hardware and software. Recently, both Emulex Corp. and QLogic Corp. announced that they now have HBAs that are supported by VMware's architecture. It takes some additional steps to integrate virtual servers and virtual storage. (For one example, see this study, which was conducted to determine if using virtual storage in virtual server environments makes sense.) It's best to start by virtualizing the lightly loaded servers, both for cost-benefit and performance reasons. If you have, say, three servers and each has less than 30% utilization, you'll see more immediate economic benefits by virtualizing them all on one server than if you start with heavily loaded servers running high-intensity applications. Also, your operation will take less of a hit while you iron out any performance problems than if you were trying to start with the heavily loaded server. Performance issues The surprising thing about modern virtualization is how little overhead it adds, but it still increases cost in terms of time, performance and capacity. Of course, this added cost is well worth it if you see benefits. However, you need to keep track of costs. That means you need to monitor the system's underlying performance with tools, such as Iometer and vendor-specific tools. Sponsored by: Page 7 of 16 </li> <li> 8. Storage for Virtual Environments Integrating storage and server virtualization There are some kinds of storage you don't want to virtualize in a virtual server installation, notably those directly involved in running the virtual machines themselves. VMware, for instance, recommends keeping a VMFS (VMware's native file system) partition on either locally attached storage or LUN-0 (logical unit number) of your SAN to use for swap space. Since virtual machine systems rely...</li></ul>