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Building blocks of converged infrastructures

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All roads lead to central data storage for unified computing

Source:  Getty Images/Fuse/Thinkstock

Storage area networks (SANs) enable centralized storage and storage provisioning in converged infrastructure (CI) packages that optimize backups, disaster planning and other types of data protection.

Converged infrastructures rely on central data storage via external storage subsystems, such as SANs. Storage virtualization optimizes blade server use via flexible workload migration and balancing.

Storage virtualization creates a pool of disk space that can be provisioned to any server. Thin provisioning allows administrators to create volumes without committing physical disk space until data is written to the volume, and additional disk capacity can be added as the available capacity fills. Storage tiering moves data based on utilization, so more active data is automatically located on faster disks, while lesser-used data can be relocated to slower, less expensive disks.

Storage data is also protected by differential snapshots, which constantly capture changes in data and workloads for minimum storage use. And the entire contents of one array can be replicated to another one off-site for disaster recovery. Features like data deduplication, when available on a CI product, vastly reduce the total storage demands of the enterprise by preventing redundant data.

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