A Brief History of Storage Virtualization

In 2012, the SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) tried to develop a consistent and widely accepted definition of the term virtualization. That happened in order to give consumers (end-users) and consumers producers (manufacturers) of storage virtualization a common ground to discuss and develop the issue.

The SNIA definition has the following elements:

  1. The act of removing, concealing, or isolating internal functions of (under) storage systems or services applications, computers, or network resources, with a view to the ability to manage data storage regardless of the network and from applications.
  2. The application of virtualisation to storage services or devices for the purpose of aggregating functions or devices, which are hide complexity, or add new possibilities to reduce level of storage resources.

The definition can also be called “abstract detail“. This is also the essence of virtualization. Virtualization offers a simple and stable interface for complex functions. In fact, the need for the user to understand knowledge of the underlying complexity is small to indifferent.

In an earlier attempt, SNIA’s technical board created an important document, the “Shared Model Field of Storage. The purpose of this model was to educate end-users explaining how the stratification of technology in the modern storage architectures creates a full range of storage modes.

  • Virtualization can be at the host level, storage arrays, or on the network, through optical switches or devices installed on central storage systems (CSS).
  • Virtualisation can be carried out through the separation of controls and data through in and out of the zone.
  • Virtualization of storage provides the means to create high-level storage services (Virtual Private Servers) that hide complexity all parties involved and allow the automation of the data storage.

The ultimate goal of virtualising the storage should be the simplification of management. This can be achieved with a multi-layered approach, uniting multiple technological levels in the context of logical abstraction.

Hiding the complexity of physical/material elements storage and revealing a simplified and logical view of the storage is a first step towards streamlining the management of Storage. Treat multiple physical disks or arrays as a single logical entity separates the user of the storage unit the physical characteristics of the material elements (disks), including the physical position and requirements that have been these physical devices.

Although a layer of complexity has been addressed, the logic removal of physical storage on its own does not lift the weight of the required work by storage administrators.

In addition to the differences in the whereabouts of virtual intelligence, manufacturers have developed different methods for implementing virtualized storage transfer. The “within zone” method (In-band) places the virtualization machine in the data, so that both data blocks and information are control that governs the virtual presence to be transferred over the same link.