Virtualis(z)ation Technology Fundamentals

The next NetApp module I completed was on Virtualisation! I know right! Awesome!

The module started off talking about what virtualisation actually is. Which I think is an important aspect of the whole module because you have to know what something actually is before you can even begin to understand what it does.

What is Virtualisation.

So, “breaking the bond between hardware and applications”. Basically the creation of some “virtual” rather than “physical”. It is there but you can’t “touch, feel” it.

Server Virtualisation


Having a virtual environment rather than a physical environment changes everything radically; less space due to a single box, the ability to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications. All of these applications share the CPU and RAM of the server which offer much greater utilization of those valuable resources. Utilization increases to 60% or more. Having a virtual environment can also save time, due to less time having to be spent on upgrading, maintaining and backing up.

So, what are the summarised benefits of sever virtualisation?

  • Lower costs
  • Less power
  • Less cooling
  • Less space needed
  • Increased flexibility
  • Faster implementation of new applications
  • Higher availability

That all seems to good to be true, right? Well unfortunately there are some challenges to server virtualisation.

  • Hardware outages are more serious
  • Backup of a virtualised environment could be impossible within the traditional backup window
  • Storage failure can wipe out numerous applications

Although there are challenges to using a virtual environment in place of a physical one. There are no more than there would be running a physical environment in fact there would probably be more. Virtual environments are the future, slowly but surely each and every business who have thought about ways to save money and time have done the switch over to virtual and it won’t be long before every business runs virtual. What do my classmates think on this matter? Is a virtual environment better than a physical one?

Storage Virtualisation


Why storage virtualisation?

Storage virtualisation doesn’t lower any costs, in fact it’s server virtualisation that lowers the costs. For example; $1 of VMware requires $3 to $5 of storage.

Data storage requirements are growing

Oliver Wyman VMware Storage Total Cost Comparison Interviews Aug-Sept 2007

The actual total cost benefits organisations achieve vary depending on the storage solution deployed with VMware”.
– Oliver Wyman

NetApp Storage Virtualisation

Where VMware is the king of server virtualisation, NetApp are the kings of storage virtualisation.

  1. Pooled resources
  2. Multiprotocol
  3. Higher utilization
  4. Lower TCO (total cost of ownership)
    1. Operational costs
    2. Management
    3. Training

NetApp solves storage problems with their superior data protection by using RAID-DP, which is significantly less expensive than RAID 10.

NetApp allows back ups to be a much easier process by using a feature they call “Snapshot”, basically taking a snapshot of the data, doesn’t copy old data just updates as it comes and stores it in a bit of disk reserved called SnapReserve.

Virtual Environment without Storage Virtualisation


Most storage disks used today do not utilize all the available space, some is left to waste, applications cannot get to the space and fills up in other places (example in picture on the left). This leads to having to buy more storage. Whereas NetApp uses every little tiny nook and cranny of space (example in picture on the right).

Additional benefits of NetApp Storage

  • Poded storage
  • Disaster recovery more accessible
  • Investment protection

Virtualisation course summary

That wraps up the NetApp virtualisation module. This module was excellent and incredibly easy to follow! I love everything virtual so I had no doubt that I would love this one. It was also interesting to learn about the services that NetApp provides and what makes them the kings of storage virtualisation. It was helpful to learn why virtual environments outshines almost in every way a physical environment, useful for our NET601 assignment as well as for future reference 😀


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