The emergence of software-defined storage and hyperconvergence technologies makes virtual data storage a viable alternative for companies looking to cut costs in IT. In fact, since these solutions don’t require the hardware redundancies typically needed in traditional enterprise storage structures for disaster recovery, they’re able to reduce both upfront expense and ongoing operating expenses by an impressive amount.

Virtual data storage enables IT to pool physical data storage devices like SANs into what appears as one device or virtual storage array. There are many ways to utilize the technology such as host-based virtualization and network-based storage (which combines storage devices from an FC or iSCSI SAN in one pool controlled by a central management console). Host-based Virtualization is commonly used in HCI Systems and Cloud Storage.

Virtual storage should be compatible not just with the hardware infrastructure that is used to create it, but also with the servers, hypervisors, and networking components. It should also be able to support data encryption and access controls, and robust backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

Virtual storage must also be able address concerns regarding latency and performance. This includes ensuring that critical applications can run without impacting performance or increasing the time required to retrieve data. This involves evaluating the storage controller’s capabilities, network bandwidth and capacity of the disk I/O, as well as implementing caching mechanisms. It also involves installing advanced storage features, like replication, tiering and virtualization at the virtualization layer.