Virtual Machine Storage

Virtual Machine Storage

The Storage Challenge for Virtual Machine Environments

Server virtualization technologies are being adopted at an accelerating pace with higher server productivity and faster response times as the primary benefits. However, storage virtualization technology has lagged that of server virtualization, presenting storage administrators with several challenges, including:

  • Management Complexity—Virtual server environments can run hundreds, or even thousands, of virtual machines (VMs). In a typical environment an administrator would provision storage and I/O every time a VM is created, requiring complex management of many individual volumes and LUN connections.
  • Storage I/O Bottlenecks—When multiple VMs simultaneously access shared data this often creates I/O bottlenecks that lower performance.
  • High Cost of Storage—Many times the reaction is to ‘throw hardware at the problem’ since disks are perceived as inexpensive. While the cost per GB of disk drives continues to fall, the systems and software to manage them are still expensive. Over-provisioning and segregating data in storage silos only compounds this problem.
  • Availability—Mission-critical applications are now commonly deployed on VMs; storage needs to support high availability for mission critical VMs.

The Gluster Solution

The Gluster Virtual Storage Appliance for VMware excels at storing and managing file data, and VM images are just that – files. Gluster provides a virtual storage solution that complements VM deployments by addressing the common drawbacks. The Gluster Virtual Storage Appliance aggregates disk and memory resources in a unified global namespace, simplifying management, delivering excellent performance and ensuring high availability. We do this with the superior economics of open source software packaged within a VM combined with commodity hardware.

  • Simple, Centralized Management— Virtual Storage Appliances provide a unified global namespace: a single volume that can be accessed by thousands of VMs with automatic data distribution and I/O load balancing.
  • Scale-out to Eliminate Storage I/O Bottlenecks—Storage is scaled horizontally in the scale-out storage system, automatic I/O scheduling and load balancing are used to spread data evenly across storage and avoids choke points.
  • Lower Storage Cost—Virtual Storage Appliances plus commodity hardware play an important role in controlling costs throughout the data center. Additionally, storage can be consolidated and managed under the global namespace, enabling VM images and application data to be stored on the same infrastructure. This increases utilization and simplifies management.
  • High Availability—All Virtual Storage Appliances employ N-way file replication to ensure VMs can survive in the event of hardware failure. Replication is coupled with sophisticated self-healing to detect and correct VM image errors while running and without pausing I/O operations.

[intlink id=”19″ type=”page”]Learn more about Gluster Products and Gluster Virtual Storage Appliances for VMware[/intlink]