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4 ways to improve storage for your virtual environment

Nov. 11, 2015 ⋅ Categories: Cloud, Storage

Virtualization environments have transformed high-performance computing. They create abstract components in a way that improves allocation and consolidation, but these features also pose unique challenges for storage. Because the server doesn’t have physical limitations, administrators struggle to keep up with rapidly changing storage needs as well as the volume of virtual machines, and over-allocation often occurs as a result.

Network Computing explained that virtual architectures are challenging the ways administrators perceive storage, from physical to abstract. Because of the unique demands of virtual environments, developers continue to put a lot of focus into tailoring storage devices specifically for the influx of virtual environments, but there are already so many ways to improve the storage capacity of a virtualization environment. When it comes to your enterprise, these tips can help you better manage your virtual environment storage:

  1. Understand your input/output. In their attempt to break down the complicated science of virtual environment storage, TechTarget explained that while the question “do I need higher capacity or less demand?” seems easy, answering it is challenging. Davis’s recommendation to understanding your input/output per second is to use performance analysis tools that are specifically designed for virtualization. With these tools, you can know your system’s IOPS, and that will help you fine tune the server storage.
  2. Make the most of your existing storage capacity. The storage capacity you need may already exist in your hands, but you just haven’t unlocked it yet. If you imagine your virtual storage in physical terms, like as a cluttered closet, it may look like you need more space, but what you actually need is a better plan. TechTarget explained that you can reconfigure your storage’s logical unit numbers, which can redistribute the workload and vastly improve your I/O.
  3. Integrate your storage, networks and applications. To better manage your storage on a virtual server, you should integrate three of the most complex layers: storage systems, networks and applications. In storage area network or network-attached storage environments, storage systems generate data points used by resource management. In virtual environments, the same information can be used to better manage VMs and their storage. When it comes to networks, the same principle of integration can be applied. Poorly managed networks can cause VMs to end up operating on different hosts and require too much traffic to operate. Understanding the bandwidth requirements of your VMs can help you integrate and reduce data stores and create more efficient network traffic flow. Virtual environment applications also run better when they get the right information. When the application layer receives information about CPU, memory and storage usage, it can run VMs based on what the application needs and what resources are already available.
  4. Plan with technology. Because these storage issues unique to virtual environments have been so frequently encountered, the technology to manage them is out there. Computer Weekly discussed automated storage tiering to help reduce storage demands, data deduplication to decrease the amount of data, and thin provisioning, which only allocates data when necessary. These processes can be achieved in a way that is accessible and affordable with the use of various capacity planning tools.

If you’re looking for a computing system that can offer better storage for a virtual environment, contact PSSC Labs today. We can work with you to design a system that fits the unique needs of your organization.

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