Storage virtualization is a type of computer resource virtualization that combines physical storage servers into a virtual layer that behaves and interacts as a single storage device.
By pooling multiple storage devices into a virtual one, storage can be managed from a central location and accessed by numerous end-user devices and applications remotely.
Continue reading to learn more about the global storage virtualization market.
Storage virtualization market
The storage virtualization segment of the virtualization software market was worth $8.1 billion in 2020. It’s projected to maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.2% over the analysis period from 2020 to 2026, reaching $32.5 billion by the end of it.
Regionally, the U.S. market accounted for 37.4% of storage virtualization sales in 2020. It’s forecast for a CAGR of 29.2% from 2020 to 2026, reaching $18.3 billion by the end of it.
By industry vertical, the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI), IT, and telecom industries are the largest drivers of demand in the storage virtualization market.
See all about the Virtualization Market.
Storage virtualization features
Storage virtualization allows companies to separate their software from the storage hardware to gain flexibility and scalability.
There are various types of storage virtualization, depending on the methodology and technology used. By data level, storage virtualization is split into two types:
File-based, or file-level, storage virtualization works over network-attached storage (NAS) devices by pooling and managing individual appliances.
Manually, file-level data storage can be time-consuming and costly. Storage virtualization at this level masks the complexity of the NAS applications.
It also reduces unnecessary downtime during migration, allowing users to access files from their original devices without having to change the process post-migration.
Out of the two, block-based storage virtualization is the most common type. By abstracting the system’s logical storage from the physical resources, it can leave data in its original location and map its address into the virtual storage pool.
Relying on the addresses of data blocks rather than the data itself, block-based storage virtualization allows access to multiple storage systems as if they’re a single storage array.
Storage virtualization also depends on the location of the virtualization engine. There are three common locations of engines in storage virtualization applications:
Network storage virtualization is often used to extend storage investment by storage area network (SAN) admins. By running it on a server or switch of the primary network, a network-based virtualization engine simplifies interface management.
Array-based storage virtualization groups storage servers into tiers, allowing administrators to create units that include disks from multiple storage tiers both high speed and standard.
Host-based storage virtualization shares the server host OS, allowing it to cross access multiple disk arrays for data mirroring protection. They’re most commonly used in cloud and hyper-converged storage that don’t require any infrastructure changes to accommodate.
Setting cloud infrastructures
Creating an effective cloud infrastructure requires the combination of multiple technologies to maintain the infrastructure’s security and availability, and reduce downtime.
Virtualization technologies, and storage virtualization in particular, are essential when designing a high-accessibility cloud infrastructure.
“If you choose to build a private cloud infrastructure, you should consider using scale-out network designs, virtualized high-speed storage that can be dynamically allocated, and servers equipped with intelligent network interface cards that can offer security, storage virtualization, and virtual network services,” says Vipin Jain, a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
“The infrastructure should be, of course, fully automated, not just for provisioning, but also for upgrades, proactive troubleshooting, and post-mortem analysis.”
The future of the cloud is expected to rely heavily on resource pooling in providing high-availability services to its users, with the goal of improving security, efficiency, and agility.
“The hyperscale-sized [cloud service providers] CSPs built out global data center infrastructure that could deliver massive economies of scale using heavily engineered, home-grown systems,” says Kam Eshghi, a member of the Forbes Technology Council.
“While their compute and network architectures have since benefited from component disaggregation, virtualization, and off-the-shelf technology platforms, progress with storage has trailed these advances.”
Benefits of storage virtualization
The resource pooling and high availability and accessibility of storage virtualization technology make it important for enterprises with massive amounts of data they need to access.
A few notable benefits of storage virtualization include:
- Improved storage resource utilization
- Simplified storage manageability
- Reduced costs
- Centralized access dashboard
- Minimizes migration downtime
- Ideal for multi-vendor environments
- Effective data replication and recovery
Storage virtualization use cases
Here are some examples of how organizations in different industries are using storage virtualization from cloud service providers:
DenizBank is one of the top banks in Turkey, offering a range of banking products and services. The bank serves over 40 million customers.
Handling over 1.3 million financial transactions on a daily basis, DenizBank had a hard time maintaining effective backup and restore speeds. Furthermore, it was proving cost- and time-intensive to replicate virtual machines (VMs) and storage migration between their on-premises and cloud solutions.
Working with Commvault and Hitachi Vantara, DenizBank was able to achieve greater storage scalability using Hitachi Vantara Virtual Storage Platform G1500. It also extended to Commvault HyperScale to improve its backup and restore performance.
“We’re doing all the migration, cross-restore, and archiving operations in a single platform. Commvault is time-saving, operational-saving, and resource-saving,” says Yasin Senol, team leader, backup operations, intertech, IT division of DenizBank
“With Commvault HyperScale Software, we can use each node as a media agent. So we saved data center OPEX by 50%.”
With the storage virtualization upgrade, DenizBank was able to increase its backup and restore speeds by 8x, enhance data regulation compliance, and move 15 virtual servers to disaster recovery (DR) in under 30 minutes.
Advanced Technology Services Group
Advanced Technology Services (ATS) Group is a provider of IT services, cloud computing solutions, business resiliency, and real-time monitoring services. Based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, ATS Group serves hundreds of customers, including numerous Fortune “500” enterprises.
Data for ATS Group was increasing in volume and processing requirements to a point where the firm couldn’t rely on its older storage solutions. Looking to upgrade its current infrastructure, ATS Group sought to develop and extend its on-premises storage to the cloud, using its 20-year experience as an IBM system integrator.
Using IBM Spectrum Virtualize, ATS was able to virtualize public cloud storage along with 450 additional storage systems, both from IBM and other vendors. By combining IT efforts with IBM and AWS cloud, ATS Group was also able to launch two new cloud offerings to help its customers access hybrid cloud architectures.
“Our customers need to have these hybrid environments, where they have on-prem storage for certain workloads and cloud storage for other workloads. It’s literally become a requirement, so that they can grow their business without being strapped by on-prem capacity limitations,” says Timothy Conley, founder and principal, ATS Group.
“It was literally a two-year wish list item for them, and they were over the moon excited about it. … It allows us to migrate data more easily and transparently.”
ATS Group’s virtualized storage solution with IBM allowed it to save over $1 million in IT infrastructure expenses and cost-effectively replicate over a terabyte of on-premises data.
EOS Group is an international corporation under the Otto Group that operates multiple financial services companies in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, the group’s primary role is the management of receivable purchasing and debt collection.
With more than 5,000 employees worldwide and managing data from 20 countries, EOS Group needed to expand its SAN capacity while maintaining high availability as well as low maintenance costs and energy consumption.
Working with Fujitsu, EOS Group used DataCore storage virtualization to make the most of its existing hardware. The goal for EOS was to increase flexibility and efficiency and improve security standards.
“The efficiency of the Fujitsu hardware is trailblazing. With rival systems, our energy consumption would easily exceed our present values by as much as 45%,” says Volker Haack, CIO, EOS IT Services.
“In addition, we are very satisfied with the assistance, the service, and the personal support provided by Fujitsu. That is also true for Fujitsu’s Select Partner antauris from Hamburg.”
With Fujitsu, EOS Group was able to drastically reduce IT maintenance costs, boost application performance, lower energy costs, and simplify administrative work.
Storage virtualization providers
Some of the leading vendors in the storage virtualization market include:
Looking for a server virtualization product?: VMware: vSphere Review.