Using storage virtualization to simplify disaster recovery tests

Independent disaster recovery expert Jon Toigo discusses how storage virtualization can simplify disaster recovery tests in this Expert Answer.

How can storage virtualization help disaster recovery tests?

Storage virtualization entails the establishment of a software controller ahead of all vendor equipment. Generally speaking, you negate the "value-add" software installed on heterogeneous storage hardware and use the "uber-controller" to serve value-add functionality across all disks in all cabinets.

Among the services usurped from proprietary hardware controllers and provided instead on a more universal basis by the storage virtualization uber-controller are data protection functions like mirroring, replication, continuous data protection, snapshot copies, and so on. These services are centralized in the storage hypervisor software layer, away from hardware, so they are not limited or constrained by the brand names on the various storage arrays -- data can be replicated across spindles in any of the heterogeneous storage rigs, which are represented as virtual volumes. If your remote storage environment is also virtualized, storage hypervisors typically feature the ability to target remote volumes with writes, simplifying WAN replication.

Perhaps the coolest part of this scenario is the ability to manage, allocate and test data protection services from one place -- a single pane of glass. That simplifies the testing and validation of data protection processes, in some cases obviating the need to quiesce applications to test mirrored volumes for consistency.

This was first published in August 2013

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