A virtual storage appliance (VSA) is a storage controller that runs on a virtual machine (VM) to create shared storage without the cost of additional hardware.
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A VSA can make use of all the unused storage within a virtual environment by acting as a data store for virtual machine storage or by presenting storage directly to the VMs for their use. Basically, the virtual storage appliance consolidates direct-attached capacity on each physical host and creates a virtual storage pool that looks like networked storage. VSAs are popular with small businesses that need shared storage for redundancy and high availability (HA), as well as with large enterprises that need to migrate data between disparate arrays.
See also: virtual SAN appliance, cloud storage appliance.