Virtualization as the process of creating virtual instances of a network, storage or operating system is used to centralize administrative tasks while improving scalability. It also allows for better use of existing hardware resources. Usually on one set of physical hardware many virtual machines are created and each of them is used by a huge number of (very demanding) users. Therefore, the virtualization system must ensure high availability, data safety and perform well. The key element of all virtualization systems which influences these three characteristics is storage.
Storage for Virtualization is a set of physical devices managed with the appropriate software. It is a place where virtual machine images and user data are really stored. It is a pillar of any virtualization solution, so hardware and software which implements Storage for Virtualization must meet the highest possible standards.
Storage for Virtualization requires hardware which provides maximum performance and guarantees data safety, a large capacity and works efficiently. Must-haves for Storage for Virtualization hardware are:
- A server platform with two quad- or six-core CPUs for high performance
- H/W RAID controller with support for RAID5 or RAID6 for data safety and high performance
- SAS/SATA drives for high speed drive transfers and reliability
- Two or more 10GbE NICs for a high speed network connection
Software for Storage for Virtualization has to be scalable and reliable, but also easy to manage and administer. It must guarantee the highest possible performance. At the very least, it should offer a number of features to allow for efficient data management. Software requirements for Storage for Virtualization implementations:
- iSCSI Target or NAS (NFS) share for easy management
- Automatic Failover for high availability (HA cluster)
- Support for SAS/SATA RAID Controllers for high performance, large capacity and data safety
- Support for 10 GbE NICs or bonding for efficient network connectivity
Recommended solution for storage for virtualization: Open-E DSS V6. The software meets all the requirements needed for implementation of such a solution.
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