When you’re implementing virtualization services, one of the single most critical infrastructure elements is your choice in shared storage solutions. Your virtual networks need to be able to get at shared resources quickly and easily, to prevent bottlenecks and downtime.
Here are a few elements to consider when selecting a storage solution for your virtualization services:
Your Current Capacity
Your shared storage needs to exceed your current storage expectations. A detailed and accurate accounting of your current storage usage as well as your expected future needs is vital in ensuring you get the most from your virtual storage.
Additionally, when evaluating combinations of shared storage and virtualization solutions, be sure you factor expandability into your decision. One of the key benefits of virtualization is the ease with which it can be expanded, so make sure you select hardware and software that allow for this.
“The Boot Storm”
A boot storm is any situation where large numbers of users are attempting to make use of the server’s resources, such as the initial bootup process at the start of a shift. Access and I/O needs can skyrocket during these brief periods, but system stability is needed to ensure productivity across the workforce.
One potential solution to this is using solid state storage. Solid state drives have vastly improved access times and data throughput when compared to old-style hard drives. Unfortunately, they are still also much more expensive than traditional hard drives, and many of their benefits will be invisible during normal operations.
The File System
Another important element to consider is whether your file system should be file-based or block-based. File-based systems are the common solution for single machines or other devices that just need a place to dump files for future access. Block-based systems are much more robust, with storage that can be managed on the fly by the virtualization services, but significantly more infrastructure is needed to access the information.
Generally speaking, a virtual network should probably be based on a block system, to allow the systems to inter-operate, but speak to your IT director about your file usage to make sure this is the best choice.
Choosing the right storage solution for your virtualization services is a key decision involving many factors. Work closely with your existing network team to ensure that you choose the option that will allow for the most future benefits from your virtual network.