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4 minute read5 Tips for Managing Virtual Environments

Virtual environments are increasing popular and useful.  However, storage administrators are encountering a hoard of new issues including adapting to an expanding infrastructure, managing storage I/O capacity, and discovering how best to use modern features for managing storage in virtual environments.  Whether you have EMC, NetApp, IBM or Dell, this e-guide includes tips and best practices for overcoming these issues and managing data in the virtual server environment in a more effective manner. 

Best Practices For Managing Storage In Virtual Environments

In a recent podcast, expert David Davis explained some of the best ways to overcome the obstacles faced by storage administrators working with virtual environments.  Staying up to date with the latest advancements in virtual storage is essential. He also noted the importance of planning when it comes to keeping up with the cost and complexity of virtual infrastructures. 

According to Davis, the most common mistake made by administrators is simply not embracing virtualization.  Some managers who have been in place for many years are opposed to, and often fight against, virtualization.  This slows a company’s progress towards virtualization. While many are certainly just being conservative and pragmatic, they need to be encouraged to embrace the new and to look at the positives offered by virtualization.  New ways to back up information, new means of disaster recovery, and the ability to observe the whole data center from one dashboard are huge advantages.  Data centers become more efficient and fluid. 

Working together to develop an application based approach is the key to success.  The purpose of the IT department is to support the company’s crucial applications.  Rather than being concerned with technical features, focus on whether the end user is enjoying a faster and more efficient experience.  

Tips For Managing Storage In Virtual Environments

Here are some tips to help administrators manage storage in virtual server environments. 

1. Know your workloads – In virtual environments, storage workloads for servers and desktops are very different.  Understand how much disk I/O your virtual machines (VMs) generate.  Too many machines with high disk I/O on one host will overwork the storage controller. 

2. Avert intense disk I/O – Some occasions create periods of very intense disk I/O, slowing your VMs to a crawl, such as during a boot storm.  While likely unavoidable, these periods can be managed adding a large cache controller or automated storage tiering technologies to leverage your faster storage devices during boot storms 

3. Use your space efficiently – Linked clones can help save disk space is some environments.  Thin provisioning can also help, whether at the virtualization or storage layer.  This can substantially reduce the disk space your VMs consume.

4. Prevent unnecessary operations – Limit the amount of disk I/O your desktops and servers create.  Disable unneeded services, uninstall useless applications and disable the indexing of files. 

5. Use the proper storage for your workloads – Pair your less essential VMs with slower storage tiers, and your more essential VMs that have greater I/O requirements on faster tiers.  An automated storage tiering system can move data between tiers based on current demand. 

Understanding your virtual storage environment is vital.  Following these tips will make management of your virtual server environment much easier. 

Reliant Technology will help you optimize your storage environment for better performance. We buy, sell and trade data storage hardware. Contact us for a free 15-minute assessment of your environment. 

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.