Virtualization of storage brings in a lot of benefits as it simplifies provisioning of storage to users. At the same time it allows to expand volumes or batch creates volumes when required, and then securely assign them to different servers using different network interfaces.
For easy data recovery, a virtualized storage facilitates taking of several images or snapshots of data on the disks to enable quick recovery while maintaining integrity.
Storage virtualization also liberates data from being associated with particular hardware. Users need not maintain replicas of hardware infrastructure across multiple locations. So, data recovery after an incident or disaster is much easy. This also implies that you can use low cost storage at the disaster recovery site.
On an overall note, Storage virtualization gives its users a centralized approach and eliminates the fragmented, and costlier approach of having separate DAS, SAN and NAS topologies, each of which require their own storage devices and management protocols.
How are these benefits visible in enterprise environments?
In enterprise storage world, many SAN arrays can be handled as a single cluster through storage virtualization, enabling them to be provisioned without regard for physical location of disk drives and for greater availability between them that if they were discrete subsystems unconnected to one another.
Virtualized storage allows supra devices functions to be enabled, such as data automation with storage tiering and data protection with snapshots and continuous data protection.
Storage virtualization also helps in creating virtual storage appliance, where a virtual network storage appliance using existing resources of your virtual server can be created. This Virtual SAN storage platform for VMware vSphere ESX/ESXi, VMware vCloud and Microsoft Hyper-V environments provide an advanced, fully featured iSCSI, Fibre Channel SAN and NAS within a virtual machine to form a virtual storage appliance.
Users will no longer need a separate box for storage. Create networked IP storage along with your server virtual machines, all on the same hardware platform. Increase productivity, simplify management, and reduce power and rack space requirements while using a virtual storage on your existing hardware.