Storage virtualization abstracts the space in physical hardware into software-defined storage that can be accessed from any device with an end-user interface. It allows multiple storage devices to appear as a single volume and streamlines data management, eliminating the ipo preparation process and timeline need to forecast long-term storage requirements and then pay for capacity upfront.
Virtualization can be accomplished in two ways: host-based or network based. Host-based Virtualization (typically found in HCI systems or cloud storage) relies on software to direct traffic. Essentially, the host or a hyper-converged system made up of multiple hosts, offers virtual drives to guest computers with any configuration, whether they be virtual machines in an enterprise environment or PCs connecting to file servers or servers that access cloud storage for data. The host makes use of software that converts the logical address of each block of physical disk data into an offset within a logical drive.
Network-based virtualization takes an alternative approach by shifting the complexity of the storage controller to an upper layer of the virtualization hardware. This often requires additional components, such as a network switch, in order to take on the increased load of I/O. However, it is able to lower costs while increasing performance.
The layer over the virtualization hardware provides the ability to perform backup and recovery functions, without being affected by the virtualization. It helps IT teams to solve issues remotely which could speed up the resolution time. It also assists with scaling by eliminating the dependency between the location of files accessed at the level of the file, and the place the location they are kept on physical disks. This will help in optimizing storage usage in server consolidation, as well as performing non-disruptive data migrations.