Christopher S. Young, executive vice president of Gresham Storage Solutions (, says:

Virtualization is the best method of achieving storage consolidation because it creates a central point of management from which device connectivity can be managed and presentation simplified.

The benefits of looking to iSCSI, virtualization software and hardware and management software is that each enables you to leverage infrastructure with intelligence, letting you realize greater utilization and, on average, lower overhead and ongoing administration costs. This is important at a time where identifying ways of reallocating existing expenditure to avoid increasing costs while still improving operational capabilities is a must.

A major pitfall is that heading down the road of infrastructure consolidation and cost reallocation is only effective if an organization is committed to seeing through the entire process. If, at any point, a company does not follow through on any of the stages (identification, consolidation and, ultimately, optimization) the operation will likely be worse off. To avoid this pitfall, a company should spend considerable time in the assessment of their current environment and carefully select those tools that will give the greatest degree of flexibility in reallocating and utilizing storage infrastructure in the future. Then, they should make a plan, validate the financials around it and once satisfied with its achievability, see it through to fruition.

Virtualization takes many forms and there are a lot of vendors from which to choose. In many cases, the big name vendors do not have the best solutions for SME businesses simply because they lack the level of personal attention to customers that is required when trying to ensure the optimal solution is deployed in the most cost efficient fashion. To get that level of care seek out smaller solution vendors with a track record of enabling larger businesses to achieve their objectives as they will generally offer enterprise class offers at price points that are within reach of any business.