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managing virtual storage is an essential element of managing any IT infrastructure. This kind of storage, unlike physical hardware where you can easily replace devices with superior ones or exchange them for another, is more complex and requires management tools to make the most of it.

The best way to manage this complexity is to use virtualization technology that allows you to pool resources together and create a storage solution that is scalable that can handle more data. Virtualization can be used on a number of platforms such as network appliances that offer centralized storage to your applications, as well as virtualized storage software which uses the hardware underpinning it to provide a single pool of storage to your system.

For example, a network appliance can use a physical Fibre Channel (FC) or iSCSI SAN to present a pool of storage that appears to be one physical disk to the host or server. It receives input and output (I/O) requests and then forwards the requests to a different physical location within the pool of storage, without the host or server being aware of what’s going on behind the background. The mapping granularity dictates how quickly the meta-data will be updated and how much space will be required during a migration, and how quickly the physical location can be marked as free.

Virtualized storage solutions can also provide high availability by mirroring data between multiple servers. This ensures that in the event that one server is damaged, you won’t lose access to critical business data as the data is automatically routed to the servers that are healthy within the cluster.