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Unlocking the Full Potential of Your Data: Discovering the Benefits of Storage Virtualization

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

In today's data-driven world, organizations face a growing challenge in managing and storing and managing vast amounts of information efficiently and securely. Storage virtualization enables new storage possibilities that other storage solutions cannot, i.e., automatic storage in the best storage tier, seamless accessibility, and protection against ransomware/extortionware. In other words, storage virtualization offers several ways to reform how data is stored and accessed.

What is storage virtualization?

Storage virtualization presents a logical view of physical storage resources (both cloud and on-prem) to a host computer system, treating all storage media in the enterprise as a single pool of storage (figure 1).




Figure 1


By abstracting physical storage resources and presenting them as a single virtual pool, storage virtualization provides numerous advantages that enhance organizational flexibility, storage and compute scalability, and cost-effectiveness via accessing the files from their most appropriate storage locations.


Enhanced Storage Utilization and Simplified Management

Storage virtualization eliminates the need for separate management of individual storage systems by consolidating them into a unified storage pool. This abstraction layer enables administrators to allocate and manage storage resources more efficiently. By pooling physical storage devices, organizations can achieve higher utilization rates, ensuring optimal use of available capacity and reducing wasted storage space. Additionally, storage virtualization simplifies the management process, allowing administrators to perform tasks such as provisioning, replication, and data migration from a single interface. This centralized management approach saves time, reduces human errors, and enhances overall system performance.


Improved Data Availability and Resilience

Storage virtualization also introduces advanced features to ensure high availability and data resilience. By leveraging various techniques such as mirroring, snapshotting, and replication, organizations can create redundant copies of critical data and ensure business continuity in the event of hardware failures, malware attacks, or natural disasters.


Storage virtualization can enable seamless data migration across different storage devices and tiers without disrupting ongoing operations - minimizing downtime and maximizing data availability. Moreover, the ability to perform non-disruptive data migrations allows organizations to upgrade or replace storage systems without impacting application availability, improving scalability and agility.


Simplified Scalability and Flexibility

As corporate data continues to grow year over year, storage scalability becomes critical for organizations. Storage virtualization enables seamless storage resource scalability by abstracting physical storage resources, allowing for the addition or removal of storage devices without disrupting applications, interfering with eDiscovery or FOIA activities, or end-user productivity.


This flexibility empowers businesses to respond quickly to growing storage requirements or even changing data sovereignty laws, eliminating the need for complex and time-consuming data migrations. With storage virtualization, organizations can scale their storage infrastructure on-demand or dynamically, ensuring they have the necessary capacity when needed. This dynamic allocation of storage resources optimizes cost efficiency by avoiding over-purchasing or overprovisioning and enables organizations to adapt quickly to evolving data storage needs.

Cost Efficiency and Investment Protection

Storage virtualization provides cost advantages by enabling organizations to leverage existing (aging) storage infrastructure - including cloud storage, more effectively. By logically pooling storage resources and optimizing utilization rates, businesses can delay or eliminate the need for additional costly on-prem hardware purchases.


Storage virtualization also simplifies storage management by reducing administrative overhead and operational costs. Additionally, storage virtualization ensures investment protection by decoupling logical storage from physical devices. This allows organizations to seamlessly integrate new storage technologies, such as cloud storage, with legacy on-prem devices without disrupting existing applications or data access. By extending the lifespan of legacy on-prem storage devices and avoiding costly manual data migrations, storage virtualization maximizes storage return on investment (ROI) and reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO).


CapEx vs. OpEx

Another cost factor to consider with virtualized storage is the inclusion of cloud storage resources (via subscriptions) for OpEx accounting.

The question of whether including cloud resources in your organization’s virtualized storage strategy can have cost advantages over that of entirely relying on on-prem storage continues to be a question for storage administrators. Some industry analysts have suggested that OpEx storage strategies should cost more than CapEx… but is that true in all circumstances? First, what are CapEx and OpEx?

CapEx (Capital Expenditures): Buying an asset (building, computer system, company car) is considered a capital expenditure. This type of expenditure requires up-front payment for the entire investment, causing the purchase to trigger an entry on the company’s balance sheet, which can be depreciated over a period of time. This asset strategy also includes other costs such as ongoing maintenance, support contracts, insurance, and personnel tied to the asset’s use. One of many issues with proactively purchasing on-prem storage resources is the fact that you must estimate the amount of storage you could use over the next year and buy all of it ahead of time.

OpEx (Operational Expenditures): Operational expenditures are associated with purchasing services for a planned period of time, for example, a corporate subscription for Microsoft 365 on a 3-year contract. These M365 payments during the three years count against the income statement and do not directly affect the balance sheet. Additional examples of operating expenditures include consulting services, building rental/lease, sales, utilities, cloud computing services, and rental car fees.

For many corporate accounting professionals, purchasing storage capability (via cloud subscriptions) as an operational expense is a better use of corporate funds in many/most circumstances.


Data Protection

Storage virtualization can help protect data against ransomware by providing an additional layer of protection. It can help prevent ransomware from spreading to other parts of the network by isolating the infected system and preventing it from accessing other systems.

In addition, storage virtualization can help protect corporate operations by providing a method to recover data quickly in the event of a ransomware attack. Using various backup/duplication strategies, storage virtualization can help ensure that data is duplicated and backed up frequently so it can be quickly restored (RPO/RTO).

Finally, storage virtualization can help protect data by providing a method to store backups offsite - in an isolated cloud environment. By storing encrypted backups in the cloud, organizations can ensure their data is protected and quickly available, even if their primary data center is attacked.


Isolated backup recovery capabilities, which incorporate immutable or WORM data vaults, allow companies to protect backup and recovery systems against advanced ransomware/extortionware attacks by ensuring cloud-stored backups cannot be opened for data theft or entirely deleted.


The Benefits of Storage Virtualization

Storage virtualization offers many advantages for organizations seeking to secure and streamline their data storage and management processes. From improved storage utilization and simplified management to enhanced data availability, scalability, cost efficiency, and data protection, storage virtualization enables businesses to unlock the full potential of their data.


By abstracting physical storage resources while presenting them as a unified virtual pool, organizations can achieve greater flexibility, better resource utilization, and seamless scalability while ensuring end-user ease of accessibility. In an increasingly regulated data-centric world, proper storage virtualization technology enables organizations to retain, manage and secure all their data in the most expedient manner possible.


restorVault Brings Storage Virtualization to the Next Level

In previous blogs, I have discussed how inactive files, which can amount to over 50% of corporate data, clog up expensive enterprise storage resources and cause storage costs to rise while, at the same time, taking up valuable backup and DR resources.

restorVault’s intelligent data virtualization (figure 2 below) automatically moves inactive files, managed by configurable policies, to less expensive storage while keeping file access available on the initial server. This ensures that employees can find and retrieve their data without additional training or the need to enter a new application. In fact, inactive files are automatically moved to allotted storage – such as restorVault’s secure cloud-based Compliant Cloud Archive (CCA), while replacing the file with an active hyperlink (virtual data file) which provides direct access to the migrated file stored in the CCA. This capability amounts to (automated) intelligent virtualization of all files based on customizable policies.


Figure 2


restorVault’s next-generation Compliant Cloud Archive provides active ransomware/extortionware protection by using immutable (WORM) object storage - which is resistant to ransomware attacks on all stored files and backups. restorVault’s patented virtual data access technology acts as a first line of defense while shielding restorVault data from attacks. The restorVault platform can defeat ransomware attacks enabling the restoration and access to millions of files in minutes - reducing downtime by 10x.

restorVault’s Secure Cloud Backup (SCB) capability also provides a hot-standby cloud backup capability that allows for complete disaster or ransomware recovery in minutes, not days. The SCB provides:

• 30-day version regression

• 500x faster Disaster Recovery

• Impervious to ransomware/extortionware

• Secure, real-time file access

• And there are no data recovery fees


Contact us today to learn more about how restorVault can help your company save while increasing data security and storage capacity!

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