This content is part of the Essential Guide: Software-defined storage: Making sense of the data storage technology

Toigo: Use a storage hypervisor for data replication

In this Storage Decisions video, Jon Toigo, founder and CEO of Toigo Partners International, says that relying on a storage hypervisor provides greater ease of management and greater resistance to disruption.

Toigo said that storage environments have isolated islands of capability on hardware from different vendors and software products that add functionality for services like provisioning and mirroring, but these capabilities don't scale as you need more capacity and have to purchase another array. But the hardware behind the different vendor's product names is "generic," said Toigo, and a storage hypervisor can bring those disparate elements together by presenting storage as logical volumes rather than physical volumes -- allowing users to pool disparate hardware together into a common storage repository.

And for disaster recovery, storage virtualization can be a real benefit because you do not need to replicate between identical devices. "I could make a copy of data over to any other platform. I don't have to use the most expensive gear to make a copy of the most expensive gear … it doesn't matter, because it's all virtual volumes that we're dealing with," said Toigo.

Virtualization allows administrators to ensure failover, and recovery processes can be checked without interrupting normal operations, he said. In disaster recovery, ensuring that your hardware-based mirroring scheme will work under fire requires testing. As DR expert Jon Toigo notes, administrators are reluctant to test mirrors because "the only way to test it is to break it."

"With the strategy you use for data replication, you should have the ability to test the status of the data at the primary [site] and the replica at any time without disruption. This gets you there," said Toigo.

Using storage virtualization also can help drive down the cost of storage, said Toigo, "so you have that cost containment thing going for it, you got risk reduction [and] you got improved productivity."

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