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Citirix, HP and IBM lead the pack in storage visualisation market

The global storage virtualisation market is highly competitive, but some vendors are standing out from the crowd. In a new research report, Technavio has identified the top six leading vendors in this space are Citrix, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and VMware.

Rakesh Kumar Panda, Technavio lead analyst for data centre research, says, “In a traditional data centre environment, migrating data from one drive to other involves operational downtime (temporary termination of user access to data). In case of large amounts of data, it can take even days to transfer the data to a new drive. Storage virtualisation aids in smooth data migration without incurring any downtime.

“To tap the attractive market, resellers have started to offer storage virtualisation as a service for enterprises procuring new systems. Technavio researchers predict this trend to help the market reach over US$10 billion in revenue by 2019."

The six leading vendors in the global storage virtualisation market, according to Technavio:

Citrix

Citrix is a global organisation known for virtualisation solutions such as its XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenMobile products. Citrix entered the data centre market through the acquisition of XenSource, an enterprise-grade virtual infrastructure solution.

In a data centre environment, virtualisation of servers that run business applications and associated storage systems that store application data have gained higher traction over the years. In a Citrix XenServer environment, a database is created on top of the physical storage to connect virtual servers to the underlying storage infrastructure.

According to Technavio, Citrix is constantly innovating to ensure efficient functioning of XenSource open-architecture with the management tools used by data centre operators.

Many storage virtualisation vendors (such as DataCore) are working with Citrix to enhance the performance of their virtualised storage environments. Through its acquisition of Sanbolic, Citrix entered the software-defined storage space in storage load balancing for optimised delivery of application-specific workloads, Technavio says.

HP

HP is a global organisation that leads the market for storage infrastructure products and software. The company has collaborated with VMware to develop innovative tier storage and unique storage virtualisation technologies that help enterprises optimise their return on investments, says Technavio.

Together, HP and VMware provide comprehensive, certified, and proven virtual infrastructure solutions. HP’s solutions reduce costs, enable automation, ease data migration, simplify management, improve application performance, and help achieve operational balance in a data centre environment, according to the analysts.

HP storage virtualisation solutions at the array, network, and file systems levels aid in dynamic data movement. VMware Storage vMotion works with HP storage virtualisation solutions to move virtual machine disks across heterogeneous disk arrays and enables maintenance of storage infrastructure with no downtime.

Some storage virtualisation solutions offered by the company include HP StorageWorks SVSP, which offers cost-effective storage virtualisation solution for better storage management, increased utilisation, and mobility of virtual environments; and HP StorageWorks with built-in virtualisation that improves storage utilisation and lowers cost of ownership. The company also offers SDS through its HP StoreOnce and HP StoreVirtual VSAs, Technavio says.

IBM

IBM is a global IT infrastructure vendor offering storage virtualisation solutions for companies of all sizes. IBM offers the SAN Volume Controller with built-in IBM Spectrum Virtualise software to improve the flexibility of storage infrastructure and data economics. The product has a single point of control to deliver high availability and storage resource utilisation.

Some of its benefits include centralised management, uninterrupted data migration, instant recovery from disk backups, storage capacity that is up to five times higher, and interoperability, Technavio says. IBM also offers scalable virtualised, flash-optimised storage systems to consolidate workloads for ease of management into single systems to achieve improved performance, and high availability through reduced costs.

IBM offers Tivoli Storage Manager, a storage management software for virtual storage environments to protect VMware and Hyper-V storage virtual machines. The product provides snapshots of virtual machines, simplifies virtual machine backups, and enables VMware vCloud Director. The company has also integrated SDS with its products.

Microsoft

Microsoft implements storage virtualisation through Windows Server 2012 R2 (Hyper-V). Virtualisation is enabled through the file and storage services in the Windows Server product. It also supports creation of storage tiers and automates the writing of frequently read storage blocks on solid-state storage devices, says Technavio.

This product has a Storage QoS (quality of service) feature to prevent inappropriate use of I/O capabilities. Its other features include off-loaded data transfer, ReFS (resilient file system), Live Storage Migration, Hyper-V Replica, Hyper-V Recovery Manager, and storage spaces thin provisioning and trim.

Oracle

Oracle, which is known for its database management systems, is also involved in the design and manufacture of infrastructure hardware and software for data centre environments. The company offers a VM platform that enables sharing of storage repositories between server pools, where the storage is mapped to virtual machines through the user interface. The company also offers Oracle VM Storage Connect for simplified management of virtual environments.

Oracle provides an abstraction layer through which the administration can easily perform resource provisioning in an efficient manner. The Oracle VM Storage Connect plug-in exists in Oracle VM Server closer to the actual storage. There are two types of Oracle VM Storage Connect plug-ins: file systems and storage arrays.

VMware

This leading global virtualisation-based organisation offers VMware vSphere, Virtual SAN, and vCenter Site Recovery Manager for data centre storage environments. vSphere storage virtualisation combines the features of vSphere with API abstraction layer for physical storage assets to be addressed, managed, and optimised in a virtualisation deployment, Technavio says.

VMware storage virtualisation technology offers benefits such as improved resource utilisation, increased application uptime, and leveraging existing storage infrastructure.

vSphere VMFS (Virtual Machine File System) provides access to shared virtual machine storage for multiple vSphere servers concurrently. It also groups storage based on user-defined policies; performs storage migrations, eliminating I/O bottlenecks and frees up storage capacity; and increases virtual storage utilisation through dynamic allocation and provisioning of physical storage capacity, Technavio says.

VMware also offers VMware Virtual SAN, which is a hypervisor-converged storage for vSphere virtual infrastructure with benefits such as lower cost of ownership and higher scalability and performance, along with vCenter Site Recovery Manager, which is a disaster recovery solution for virtualised applications.

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