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The benefits of file virtualization services (FVS)

File virtualization services (FVS) vastly simplify managing heterogeneous NAS environments. Managing multiple NAS servers is a significant challenge that does not scale well. In fact, at some point (typically at about 20 to 30 NAS boxes), the additional administrator time per deployed NAS device is exponential rather than incremental. However, NAS appliances continue to be added because companies are keeping information longer and NAS is easy to deploy.

FVS products can potentially make managing 30 NAS filers as easy as managing one filer. It’s not quite that simple, but by aggregating multiple NAS boxes into one management environment, FVS can make NAS management much easier.

FVS equates to transparent (no user impact) migration between heterogeneous NAS boxes. An administrator can move a directory or even a single file from one NAS file system to another without any user interruption. Moreover, administrators can refresh NAS technology painlessly, consolidate many small filers quickly, and balance capacity or performance across heterogeneous NAS devices effortlessly-all without interrupting the user base.

To provide transparent migration, FVS also supplies advanced namespace capabilities by aggregating NAS namespaces. The two most prominent advanced namespace capabilities are

  • A federated namespace, which concatenates all file system namespaces and directories together into one contiguous namespace; and
  • A shared namespace, which places all file system namespaces and directories under one mount/share point.


Using either namespace technology, albeit via different routes, FVS can seamlessly find and migrate all files within an FVS domain.

Centralized management, capacity, and performance reporting for NAS filers under FVS control is another key benefit. For example, such reporting can list NAS boxes that are reaching capacity or are suffering performance degradation. It can also show which filers are empty or idle.

Yet another important feature of FVS is heterogeneous remote replication. This capability enables one vendor’s NAS file data to be replicated via a WAN to another vendor’s NAS product.

Finally, using the policy automation feature of FVS together with all the features described above, FVS can provide rudimentary information lifecycle management (ILM) functionality for file data. Consequently, FVS can automatically scan file metadata, determine which files have not been accessed recently, and transparently migrate them to higher capacity, lower-cost storage. Conversely, frequently accessed files can be automatically migrated to higher-performance (and more-costly) storage systems.

Read the rest of this article at InfoStor, here.

Published Sunday, October 28, 2007 9:48 AM by David Marshall
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