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Insider: Virtualization Needs Standards

Block-level storage virtualization (BSV) products spell good news for IT managers wrestling with the skyrocketing cost of storage. But a lack of standards persists, making rigorous testing key to successful deployments.

So-called BSV engines are devices that use virtualization to treat multiple, block-based, heterogeneous storage devices, such as SAN arrays, as a single pool of capacity. After an initial lack of acceptance, driven in part by FUD from established players, these solutions are finally gaining headway in major enterprises, according to the latest Byte and Switch Insider, this sites paid subscription research service.

But standards issues mean caveat emptor when it comes to laying out for one of these solutions. Rigorous pre-implementation testing is critical to getting it right. One customer quoted in the report, Alan Howitson, SAN architect for Fidelity National Financial Inc., urges IT managers to do hands-on trials in an integration lab that completely replicates their environment. “Since there are no formal standards for how a vendor complies at an HBA level, a small tweak can kill you,” he warns.

An industry group called the Storage Performance Council is working on an independent benchmarking test that could help solve the problem of virtualization matchup, although only a handful of vendors have submitted their solutions to SPC.

Perhaps it's no surprise that user interviews conducted for the report make it clear there is plenty of ill will toward vendors that continue to resist standardization.

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