In computer science, storage virtualization is “the process of presenting a logical view of the physical storage resources to” a host computer system, “treating all storage media (hard disk, optical disk, tape, etc.) in the enterprise as a single pool of storage.”
A “storage system” is also known as a storage array, disk array, or filer. Storage systems typically use special hardware and software along with disk drives in order to provide very fast and reliable storage for computing and data processing. Storage systems are complex, and may be thought of as a special purpose computer designed to provide storage capacity along with advanced data protection features. Disk drives are only one element within a storage system, along with hardware and special purpose embedded software within the system.
Within the context of a storage system, there are two primary types of virtualization that can occur:
- Block virtualization used in this context refers to the abstraction (separation) of logical storage (partition) from physical storage so that it may be accessed without regard to physical storage or heterogeneous structure. This separation allows the administrators of the storage system greater flexibility in how they manage storage for end users.
- File virtualization addresses the NAS challenges by eliminating the dependencies between the data accessed at the file level and the location where the files are physically stored. This provides opportunities to optimize storage use and server consolidation and to perform non-disruptive file migrations.