Avoiding storage virtualization for dummies

Users continue to avoid network-based block virtualization like the plague. Yet what I can't understand is why you would implement a storage area network (SAN) without it. It's akin to implementing a WAN without a routing table.

SAN virtualization can lower storage costs, simplify SAN management and allow users to replicate and migrate data between different tiers of storage. But if you plan to continue living in the past, here are some reasons you can cite to help you stay there:

First, once virtualization is implemented, it becomes difficult to migrate off that technology. Of course, administrators are so busy deploying other proprietary host-based software from EMC, Hitachi Data Systems and IBM that primarily works with their storage, why take the risk of implementing a technology that really locks them in?

Second, no standards exist. I use the same rationale to avoid purchasing a firewall for my home network because firewall providers can't agree on a firewall standard. Though there are three basic types of firewalls -- packet filtering, application level and hybrid -- I'm holding out until there is only one. Finally, there's the performance hit associated with virtualization. Never mind the fact that most of your servers probably don't drive enough performance to move the needle on your network monitors. Besides, routing the traffic from those really high-performance applications to the storage array and avoiding the virtualization appliance altogether is an exercise reserved for only the most brilliant of minds.

So there you have it. Three easy ways to avoid rolling out virtualization.

Oh, yeah, there's one other thing to remember: those who fail to implement virtualization are putting both their jobs and organizations at risk. Just because no standards exist does not mean users should avoid it. And while every version is not a fit for every shop, there are enough stable releases and varieties out there that it's time to take the plunge.

You might want to think this one over.

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