Server virtualisation projects may cause organisations unexpected complications with their storage infrastructures, according to research by analyst group, Ovum.
Virtualisation offers a wide range of benefits, including the ability to deploy software applications more quickly, better availability of computing power, and improved disaster recovery.
But the technology is not always compatible with companies' storage infrastructure - in some cases, triggering a complete storage overhaul, says senior analyst Tim Stammers.
Storage challenges for server virtualisation. Sign-up to Computer Weekly to download this report from Ovum
"The key message is that server virtualisation creates problems with storage virtualisation. You have to be aware of those problems and realise virtualisation is a continuous process, not a one off job," he said.
The most critical element to get right is delivering storage quickly enough to virtual servers, says Stammers.
"One of the advantages of virtualisation is that you can spin-off a virtual server very quickly. The problem is you can do it so quickly that storage becomes a bottle-neck," he said.
In some cases, where the loads on storage are too great, the only solution is for IT departments to redesign their back-end storage.
Backing-up virtual servers presents another headache to IT departments.
Organisations may attempt to modify back-up systems designed for physical servers for a virtual environment. But that model requires the installation of a back-up agent in every virtual server, and is unlikely to scale, said Stammers.
Modern back-up software designed to integrate with virtual platforms, is easier to use, and offers a better solution, he says.
"Back-up has always been a major issue in storage and virtualisation has made it worse," said Stammers.
Storage problems will ease as suppliers continue to integrate their virtualisation and storage platforms, he predicted.
Sign-up to Computer Weekly to download research reports from Ovum
Storage challenges for server virtualisation