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Virtual Servers Challenge Storage Managers

As businesses increase their deployment of virtual servers and virtual data center infrastructure, storage managers are facing new challenges. Those include planning for future capacity, monitoring storage utilization, allocating storage, backing up or replicating data, and migrating data stores, according to a survey of virtual server administrators released this week by storage vendor Xiotech Corp.

The company asked 185 virtual server administrators a variety of questions about building and managing virtual infrastructures. They said their top challenges when it comes to managing software and storage were future capacity planning (32 percent), monitoring storage utilization (28 percent), allocating storage (20 percent), backing up or replicating virtual server storage (17 percent), and migrating data stores from one tier of disk to another(3 percent).

"As users load more virtual machines, run more applications, and serve more users on each physical server, monitoring storage usage levels and planning capacity are crucial, said Mark Peters, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, in a statement. "Our research shows that many users experience additional storage demands in virtualized environments, driven by latent demand and ease of provisioning."

The survey respondents come from a variety of industries, and all of them are users of VMware virtualization software. That isn't surprising, since they all attended VMworld 2007, which is where Xiotech got their names. Some 69 percent said they had more than 100 servers in their data centers.

As might be expected, these IT managers are among the leaders in adopting virtualization. Some 32 percent said up to 25 percent of their production environment is virtualized; 24 percent said they had virtualized between 26 percent and 50 percent; 22 percent said they had virtualized between 51 percent and 75 percent; 12 percent said they had virtualized up to 90 percent of their production environment; and 9 percent claimed to have virtualized between 90 percent and 100 percent.

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