Storage Virtualization

How Does Storage Virtualization Work?



If you come across this article, chances are you are not familiar with what storage virtualization is. It is, essentially, an approach that uses several storage devices and combines them in one single storage pool.

Although the idea of storage virtualization has only gained popularity, it actually has been around since more than a decade ago. So, what is it about storage virtualization that makes it a popular topic in the tech world?

Keep reading because below we will talk in more detail about storage virtualization, how it works, and other important things about it.

The Basics Of Storage Virtualization

The process of data management was once very simple: we store our data in a drive and if we need to store more data then we only need to get more drives. However, data management needs to grow, making finding and managing those drives more challenging.

Luckily, we now have virtualized storage. The concept of storage virtualization was first invented by IBM and was later developed by VMWare on the x86 server space, allowing multiple operating systems to run simultaneously.

VMWare’s success to virtualize the hardware (memory, CPU, and disk) was based on the hypervisor concept. This basically involves creating an additional layer that divides the physical hardware and virtualizes them, making a separate virtual space for each of the operating systems.

The Processes Behind Storage Virtualization

Now we have gone far from VMWare’s storage virtualization concept and there are already multiple options available out there. Even so, most of them still work with the same principle, which we will discuss in the section below.

To be able to locate the data for each operating system from the physical device, virtualization software needs to use an algorithm. When an operating system makes a request, the virtualization software then reads it and, using its algorithm, finds the appropriate data from the appropriate hardware.

In our daily lives, we can see the same process when we use our PC operating system to retrieve and save application data. Moreover, from the explanation above we can understand that storage virtualization makes it much simpler for administrators to perform tasks such as making backups, archives, and recoveries.

Types Of Storage Virtualization

Types Of Storage Virtualization

As time goes on, storage virtualization technology develops, giving us more and more options. In this section, we’ll talk about the three most common types of storage virtualization solutions.

1. Array-Based

In this kind of storage virtualization, both the servers and the user cannot see which processor is being used, even though the processors are practically placed. Moreover, virtual software is used to act as a central storage controller that pools data from numerous collections.

2. Network-Based

This is probably the most commonly used storage virtualization type today. In this kind of storage virtualization, a network device is used to connect multiple storage devices to a single ISCSI SAN, making those devices appear as a single entity within the storage network.

3. Host-Based

This one is widely used for cloud storage and HCI systems. Here, every virtualization and management process is done at the host level and the assigned physical device can come from any array or network.

The Benefits Of Storage Virtualization

Benefits Of Storage Virtualization

Using storage virtualization is very important nowadays since it allows everyone to develop a more effective and economic data management solution.

More importantly, it allows for easier and quicker data access. Without a doubt, the importance of storage virtualization does not stop there.

A. Simplicity

Moving from traditional data management solutions to storage virtualization will give you the ability to significantly simplify your data management processes. Traditional data centers require separate servers for each application. Thus, storage virtualization eliminates the complexities present in traditional data centers while also reducing the amount of needed hardware.

B. Manageability

A storage virtualization solution enables a single management console to engage with multiple storage arrays. This cuts down the time needed to manage multiple physical systems, making storage virtualization even more beneficial when there are different vendors present in the virtualization pool.

C. Affordability

When running an organization, whether it is a business or an office, cost should be one of your priorities. Luckily, storage virtualization can help you with that.

Traditional data centers require a substantial amount of money to run. There are numerous physical servers and the network infrastructure is very complex. Thus, because it requires much fewer resources, storage virtualization will help you cut down on operational expenses.

D. Scalability

Another benefit of using storage virtualization is scalability. You can easily increase or decrease the size of your storage space without the need to add or remove the physical storage device.

E. Effective Backup and Recovery

Storage virtualization lets you access and manage your data from a single location, this makes it very easy to create and find the backup you need. Compared to the traditional data storage solution, in which you have to remember the drive you put the backup in, this is much more convenient.

F. Storage Utilization

Finally, storage virtualization allows you to make a very effective storage utilization process. By pooling storage capacity across multiple arrays, you can easily allocate the available storage capacity. Storage virtualization also allows you to make use of older storage devices, helping you to minimize the storage capacity you need to purchase.


Despite the fact that it becoming a thing in recent years, storage virtualization has actually been around for a while. Numerous businesses and organizations have turned to it and made it a reliable solution for their data storage needs.

The biggest plus of using storage virtualization is its ability to remove the typical concerns of traditional storage devices. And, thanks to the abstraction of the disks and drives in storage virtualization, we can run multiple storage devices on one physical server.

So, are you ready to use storage virtualization to manage your data? The guide above should give you a better understanding of what storage virtualization is as well as the processes behind it. If you think storage virtualization is what you need, talk with the IT team in your organization.

Read Also:

Tags Basics Of Storage Virtualization importance of storage virtualization storage virtualization concept virtualization software
author image

Arnab Das is a passionate blogger who loves to write on different niches like technologies, dating, finance, fashion, travel, and much more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *