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Storage virtualization vendors: 10 questions to ask them

Asking potential storage virtualization vendors the right questions is complicated because there are three approaches: server-based, SAN-based and controller-based.

Therefore, the questions you ask storage virtualization vendors will depend on where they virtualize storage. If they offer server-based virtualization, you may want to ask:

  • Which vendors' storage is supported? Obviously, you will want to make sure that you're the storage of your existing (or planned) vendors are supported.
  • Is the software needed on all servers in the network? Multiple instances of the software may provide better control, but it can also run up the cost of the solution.
  • How does the product handle disaster recovery? Can it recover across multiple servers and storage arrays? Make sure the product handles disaster recovery effectively.

If they offer SAN-based virtualization, you may want to ask them:

  • Which storage devices do you support? From which vendors? Remember, not every vendor supports everything.
  • Do you use third-party products? Many network-based virtualization vendors are SAN vendors who have partnered with software companies to provide virtualization services through their SAN. Which is fine – if the interoperability is capably handled and if it is clear which vendor is supporting what.
  • What is the maximum bandwidth supported? What is the maximum storage capacity?

There are always limits in SAN-based virtualization products,

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both on the throughput and the total amount of storage. Generally, the throughput limits will kick in before you reach storage capacity limits.

If the vendor offers controller-based virtualization, you may want to ask:

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