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Admins have mixed feelings toward new virtual storage techniques

As new virtual storage techniques and hypervisors with improved storage capabilities hit the market, reaction among admins has been mixed.

The virtual storage market has seen some growth and changes, as vendors aim to address and capitalize on virtual storage concerns among IT pros voicing complaints and questions through the Twittersphere.

When virtual machines and backups eat up storage in virtualized environments, admins can be quick to think the easiest remedy is an upgrade. Even though this fix would provide additional storage, upgrades do not usually come cheap, and subsequent storage migration processes often induce headaches.

Adding physical or virtual disks to your infrastructure, or adopting more efficient virtual storage techniques and applications, could provide the same benefit as an upgrade -- without adding stress to your budget or IT team.

Microsoft has improved storage features to Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V 3.0, while specialized vendors have developed add-ons and tools designed to optimize storage performance. Take a look at how the virtualization world is responding.  

"The Hyper-V people have long wanted something like VAAI [vStorage APIs for Array Integration, functionality in VMware's vSphere] and now the whole Windows Server world gets it."
Stephen Foskett, storage industry analyst and Microsoft MVP

Since the September release of Microsoft's highly anticipated Windows Server 2012, industry experts have wasted no time analyzing every new and improved feature, tool and functionality, subsequently adding more fuel to the Hyper-V versus vSphere fire. Referring to Offloaded Data Transfer, or ODX, in Windows Server 2012, Foskett acknowledged the feature isn't receiving much attention from IT pros just yet, but predicted support will increase over the next year.

ODX is just one of the storage components of Windows Server 2012 designed to decrease costs and increase scalability in the data center.

@helmernl: Don't you just love #Storage #Pool in #Windows #Server 2012! Great replacement voor #DE in #Windows #Home #Server #WHS

Some Microsoft customers, such as Helmer Zandbergen, a Netherlands-based IT pro, are very enthusiastic about storage in Windows Server 2012 – and about hashtags.

"I see it as an arrow in the quiver of different storage solutions."
Raymund Charfauros, president of San Diego-based Storvantage

Of course, Microsoft isn't the only vendor looking to capitalize on the fact that many virtual data centers struggle with storage-induced bottlenecks. A number of storage optimization appliances have hit the market, hoping to alleviate the demands of shared storage in virtualized databases and virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Charfauros' company focuses on storage consolidation and database applications, and he believes these appliances benefit performance-oriented applications in which IOPS are key. This problem-solution scenario has also given specialized vendors such as Astute Networks, Nimble Storage, Pure Storage Inc. and Tintri opportunities to grab a share of the storage market.

@BasRaayman: Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 now in beta: “New virtual machine storage features […] and direct LUN access” <- Sounds nifty..!

Bas Raayman, a vSpecialist with EMC, tweeted his delight at new storage features in RHEV 3.1, which may influence others to take a closer look at the platform.

@NimbleAMS: What would #Microsoft name the Storm? SuperStorm Enterprise Server for .NET 2012 broken Windows edition

Of course, even IT pros couldn't help but comment on Hurricane Sandy. In light of the storm, Nimble AMS, an enterprise-class AMS built on the Salesforce, took a jab at Microsoft.

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