A partnership between VMware Inc. and Xsigo Systems Inc. will result in Xsigo's I/O virtualization product being integrated with ESX Server and its management software folded into VMware's Virtual Center GUI.
Xsigo's I/O Director consists of a rack-mounted switch that takes the place of Ethernet NICs and FC HBAs in physical servers, connecting them in turn to the user's network or storage fabric in a consolidated physical footprint. The switch also allows users to change connectivity on the fly.
The I/O Problem
I/O is a growing problem in large data centers. Thousands of interconnects link resources in complex configurations. Every data path must be redundant to guard against failure, and all paths must deliver the bandwidth needed for peak loads.
The resulting infrastructure involves a vast array of physical resources: adapter cards, networking switches, storage switches, and a maze of cables. Issues with large scale server I/O include:
- Inflexibility: Multiple interdependencies limit agility.
- High cost: I/O infrastructure cost (cards, switches) can exceed server cost.
- Management complexity: Multiple teams must coordinate even simple changes.
According to Xsigo the benefits of using their director are:
- Reduce server I/O cabling by 70%
- Cut connectivity capital costs by up to 50%
- Deploy connectivity to any server at any time
- Migrate connectivity among servers transparently
- Deliver 10Gb/s bandwidth to each server
- Integrate with existing management frameworks
Vmware should be well aware that storage is the key a successful virtual infrastructure. By virtualizing storage, they will be able to provide a generic connectivity point for all 3rd party storage systems.
I/O Virtualization will be a major enhancement in upcoming VI releases and will future proof changes in storage going forward. Expect to see a number of specific IO solutions for vmware in the comming year.