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Storage virtualization is the process of grouping the physical storage from multiple network storage devices so that it looks like a single storage device.
The process involves abstracting and covering the internal functions of a storage device from the host application, host servers or a general network in order to facilitate the application and network-independent management of storage.
Storage virualization is also known as cloud storage.
The management of storage and data is becoming difficult and time consuming. Storage virtualization helps to address this problem by facilitating easy backup, archiving and recovery tasks by consuming less time. Storage virtualization aggregates the functions and hides the actual complexity of the storage area network (SAN).
Storage virtualization can be implemented by using software applications or appliances. There are three important reasons to implement storage virtualization:
Storage virtualization can be applied to any level of a SAN. The virtualization techniques can also be applied to different storage functions such as physical storage, RAID groups, logical unit numbers (LUNs), LUN subdivisions, storage zones and logical volumes, etc.
The storage virtualization model can be divided into four main layers:
Some of the benefits of storage virtualization include automated management, expansion of storage capacity, reduced time in manual supervision, easy updates and reduced downtime.