Chapter 15. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Virtualization

If you've been anywhere near the computer industry in the last few years, you have come across the term virtualization. Everyone talks about it, but not many understand why there is so much buzz about it. This chapter covers what storage virtualization means, how and where it is used, and how you can take advantage of it in your company to reduce costs. Since this book is about SAN storage, I cover server virtualization only briefly and direct most of the chapter's focus on storage virtualization and its uses.

Understanding What Virtualization Is

If you look up the term virtualization on the Internet, you will get thousands of results covering multiple areas of interest. You can find everything from virtual people (known as avatars) and virtual stores (ever shop on eBay or Amazon?) to virtual places (such as online gaming worlds).

When it comes to technology, many companies have overused and overhyped the term virtualization, which has led to confusion. Simply put, virtualization means abstraction. The virtualization solution abstracts the underlying details and complexity of whatever it is virtualizing. As an example of how confusing the marketing of virtualization can be, some companies that perform simple RAID functionality (see Chapter 2 for more on RAID) in their storage arrays sometimes market their solutions as a virtual array, simply because the RAID component abstracts multiple underlying physical disks into ...

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