VMworld 2011: Storage Products Take Center Stage

Laying The Storage Foundation For Virtualization And The Cloud

Once customers get past the initial consolidation phase of virtualization, a robust storage infrastructure is an essential part of the foundation for mission-critical virtualized environments and cloud computing.

As a result, storage vendors are out in full force at the VMworld 2011 conference with news about their hardware and software from certification for the new vSphere 5.0 to completely new systems optimized for virtualized environments.

CRN has collected the news from over 30 storage vendors who are hoping to help customers build more robust storage infrastructures on which to base virtualization and cloud computing.

Turn the page and see what's in store for this industry.

Acronis: Backup, Recovery, And Migration In vSphere Environments

The new Acronis vmProtect 6 low-cost backup and disaster recovery solution from Woburn, Mass.-based Acronis is targeting customers using VMware vSphere virtual servers (v4.0, 4.1 or later) using ESX and ESXi hypervisors. Acronis vmProtect 6 can run a virtual machine directly from a backup image without the need for a full restore, with actual recovery times of under one minute, Acronis said. It allows multiple virtual machines to be backed up and recovered simultaneously through a web-based interface. Acronis vmProtect 6 offers both image and file-level recovery options. It can be installed in about three minutes. The price is $499 per CPU with unlimited P2V (physical-to-virtual) migrations.

Astute Networks: Flash Memory Appliance Debut

Astute Networks, a San Diego-based startup developer of technology which optimizes Flash memory for accelerating VMware virtualized environments, used VMworld 2011 to introduce its first appliance. The Astute ViSX G3 includes 12 Flash memory modules and Astute's proprietary 10-core DataPump Engine processor for accelerated network performance, virtualized iSCSI capability, Flash performance, and RAID protection. It connects to a Gbit Ethernet or 10-Gbit Ethernet network, and is accessed as an iSCSI device. Multiple units can be deployed, each instantly adding about 80,000 sustained IOPS (I/Os per second) performance. It is available only through two-tier distribution, and provides partners up to 30 points of margin.

Ciena: Application-Aware Cloud Backbone

Linthicum, Md.-based Ciena showcased an application-aware cloud backbone based on its packet-optical and Carrier Ethernet solutions for delivering intelligent bandwidth-on-demand in real-world disaster recovery, workload migration and virtualization scenarios when used with recently introduced EMC and VMware storage and virtualization solutions. For instance, with its VMware vCloud Director 1.5 integration, it can automatically adapt and respond to cloud resource demands using pre-defined policies.

Cleversafe: Improving Storage Slices In Cloud Environments

Cleversafe used VMworld 2011 to unveil version 2.5 of the Cleversafe Dispersed Storage technology, which stores data by slicing it up into several slices and distributing the slices across multiple storage nodes. The Chicago-based company's software now proactively migrates active slices from a failing hard drive in order to shorten rebuild times, and performs additional diagnostic and recovery operations on troubled drives in the system. The new release also supports named objects, and is fully compatible with Amazon’s S3 interface. The software is also now available as a virtual appliance to improve scalability and re-purpose legacy storage hardware

CommVault: Data Protection Gone VIRAL

CommVault, Oceanport, N.J., launched Virtual Infrastructure Reference Architecture Leaders (VIRAL), a new channel enablement program for accelerating the growth and expansion of virtual infrastructures for large enterprises, service providers, and public and hybrid cloud deployments. VIRAL includes a reference architecture based on VMware, Dell's virtual infrastructure hardware, and CommVault's Simpana 9 data protection software aimed at simplifying the design, deployment, and integration of protection for large, scalable virtual infrastructures. Once the initial deployment is complete, Simpana can be used to manage, protect, and report on data in the virtual environment.

Coraid: Storage For Virtual Environments In A Flash

Redwood City, Calif.-based Coraid showed its latest EtherFlash solution for high performance, low latency access to Flash drives. EtherFlash scales from two drives to multiple petabytes using Coraid EtherDrive storage arrays in which customers can deploy any mix of Flash, SAS, or SATA drives to build a flexible, virtualized pool of storage. An EtherDrive array can be configured in under 60 seconds, and is presented to servers as a direct-attached SCSI drive. In VMware environments, this enables self-service configuration from the hypervisor as soon as a new storage array comes online, Coraid said. The EtherFlash solution starts below $10 per GB.

DataCore: Deeper Data Protection Support For VMware Environments

DataCore Software expanded the integration of its storage hypervisor in VMware environments with support for VMware’s new vSphere 5.0 virtualization platform. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla. company expects VMware Ready for vSphere 5.0 certification of its SANsymphony-V data protection software within the next 30 days. Looking ahead, DataCore next quarter expects SANsymphony-V to feature a VMware plug-in for VMware vCenter for monitoring and provisioning storage subsystems, support for VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM), and support for VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI).

Dell: Showing Off New EqualLogic Appliances

Dell showed its new EqualLogic PS6100 and PS4100 family of virtualized, IP-based storage appliances, as well as a new version 5.1 of its Dell EqualLogic firmware and integration with VMware vSphere 5.0 and Site Recovery Manager 5.0 across its EqualLogic, Compellent, and PowerVault product families. The EqualLogic PS6100 series targets mid-sized customers who require a scalable storage environment in their virtualized data center, while the EqualLogic PS4100 series targets SMB and remote office locations.

Dot Hill: Storage Designed For Virtualization

Dot Hill, Longmont, Colo., showcased its line of AssuredSAN storage arrays, including its latest AssuredSAN 3003 storage system. The 3003 is optimized for demanding workloads and performance in VMware environments. Designed with VMware in mind, all AssuredSAN products meet the processing I/O needs for virtualized systems, with host interface support via 8Gb Fibre Channel, 1Gbit and 10Gbit iSCSI, and 6Gbit SAS. Dot Hill also spotlighted its AssuredUVS Unified Virtual Storage offerings for bringing storage virtualization to the SMB and SME markets by combining software, servers, and storage into a single appliance that can consolidate organizations' multi-vendor storage assets.

Drobo: Automating Storage For VMware Environments

The new Drobo 12-bay B1200i from San Jose, Calif.-based Drobo, targets the SMB market with a storage solution for VMware, Microsoft Exchange, and other business with an application-driven approach to storage including automated data protection, capacity planning and application performance. Prices start under $10,000 for 12 TB of SAS storage.

F5 Networks: Storage Networking For Virtual Desktops

Seattle-based F5 Networks, which previously unveiled enhanced capabilities for long distance live migration and desktop virtualization deployments, introduced new capabilities to help customers further accelerate virtual desktop environments. A new iApp template provides preferred configurations to optimize performance and enable swift deployments. The company also introduced enhanced single namespace capabilities to help customers manage user access to a globally distributed virtual desktop infrastructure supported by multiple data centers. With the company's BIG-IP solutions, customers can access View desktops from a single shared namespace.

FalconStor: Software For Heterogeneous SANs and VMware

The latest version of the Network Storage Server (NSS) software from Melville, NY-based FalconStor Software supports VMware vSphere and VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) to facilitate the efficient integration of VMware vSphere virtual servers and the extension of VMware VAAI functionality into any third-party storage environment supported by the two companies. FalconStor NSS, which is certified as VMware Ready, is the industry’s first software-based storage virtualization solution to provide VAAI support to heterogeneous third-party SANs, the company said.

Fusion-io: ioCache Virtualization Solution

Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io unveiled its new ioCache solution customized to deliver high-performance virtualization of data-intensive enterprise applications in VMware and vMotion environments. The ioCache, when bundled with Fusion-io’s ioTurbine virtualization caching software improves virtualization ROI by increasing the number of virtual machines per physical server, making it possible virtualize data intensive applications that were previously difficult to migrate to virtualized environments while maintaining performance. ioCache delivers 600GB of capacity optimized to support the majority of virtualized application workloads. The ioCache and ioTurbine bundle is slated to ship this Fall with a list price of $6,900 per physical server.

Hewlett-Packard: LeftHand And Peer Motion

HP used VMworld to introduce its HP 4000 LeftHand Storage Systems coupled with the HP LeftHand Peer Motion software. Peer Motion delivers disaster recovery and capacity capabilities to clients by supporting business critical workloads to ensure business continuity. HP's LeftHand line delivers a federated storage solution spanning a virtual SAN software appliance to midrange and high end systems to enable transparent workload movement between disk systems in virtualization and cloud computing environments. In addition to Peer Motion, HP LeftHand Storage Systems offer enhanced VMware vSphere integration, a configuration wizard, a choice of high availability configurations, and scripting that automated deployment.

Hitachi Data Systems: Integrating Storage And Servers Via vSphere

HDS is for the first time demonstrating a full end-to-end stack of Hitachi storage and servers with VMware’s newly released vSphere 5 platform as a way to help customer optimize and scale their IT infrastructure and accelerate their cloud deployments. The demonstration includes VMware's vSphere 5 running on the Hitachi Adaptable Modular Storage (AMS) 2300 platform and Hitachi Compute Blade servers. The demonstration will showcase the full integration between Hitachi servers and storage, and VMware using VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), and the VMware vCenter Plug-in for management.

Huawei Symantec: Adding Virtualization To Storage, Networking, Security

Huawei Symantec, the joint venture between China-based Huawei and storage and security software developer Symantec, unveiled plans to integrate its storage, networking, and security lines with VMware technology. The company is starting with storage, where it has added the vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) to its OceanSpace T-series SAN appliances, and plans to integrate VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) within the next couple months. Those plug-ins will also soon be offered with its NAS products, the company said. VMware integration with Huawei Symantec's networking and security products will follow, the company said.

NetApp: VMware Cloud Infrastructure And Management

NetApp and VMware have jointly developed a VMware cloud infrastructure and management solution on NetApp storage appliances targeting customers looking for a secure cloud computing model that with improved business flexibility and efficiency. VMware cloud infrastructure and management on NetApp utilizes NetApp’s unified storage architecture and VMware’s recently enhanced comprehensive suite of cloud infrastructure technologies to deliver seamless integration of cloud management, provisioning, and backup and recovery capabilities based on existing virtualized shared IT infrastructures. NetApp said the solution is documented in a best practices guide to help customers evolve from virtualized environments to secure private, hybrid or public cloud infrastructures.

Nexenta Systems: Demos ZFS Open Source Storage Technology

Nexenta, Mountain View, Calif., is one of the vendors powering VMworld's Hands-on Labs, which gives users the chance to experiment with and test the boundaries of VMware and its partners’ technologies. Nexenta is using the Hands-on Labs to give users the chance to work with its NexentaStor appliance which features ZFS, an open source file system, and experiment with how it works as a back-end storage infrastructure for virtualized VMware environments through its performance and scalability.

Nexsan: Showing Off Its First NAS Storage Systems

Nexsan is showing its new Nexsan E5000 Family of NAS storage systems featuring its FASTier cache, which utilizes multiple SSD technologies that work transparently to boost performance for random I/O workloads including applications running on top of virtualized environments such as VMware, Xen, and Hyper-V. The new family includes the E5110, a highly available NAS system with 8TB to 62TB of capacity in 3U to 6U of rack space, and the E5310, a 3U high availability NAS head leveraging the Nexsan E-Series block storage systems to provide up 720 TBs of storage in 19U of rack space.

Quantum: SMB Protection For Virtual Machines

Quantum showed its new vmPRO 4000, a complete turnkey data protection solution with integrated protection of virtual machines. The vmPRO 4000 is an all-in-one protection solution providing SMBs and remote offices backup software and storage along with deduplication capabilities to retain months of data related to virtual machines. For disaster recovery purposes, vmPRO 4000 automatically replicates deduplicated data to other vmPRO systems or to DXi appliances in central sites. The vmPRO application runs on its own virtual appliance, eliminating the need for agents or separate physical servers.

Quest Software: Virtualization Management Across Servers, Desktops, Storage

Quest Software, Aliso Viejo, Calif., is showing several new features for its complete virtualization management solution set that spans servers, desktops, storage and network infrastructure. Foglight for Virtual Desktops 5.6 applies Quest’s Foglight application monitoring technology to desktop virtualization (vWorkspace) to simplify desktop management for vWorkspace administrators. vFoglight 6.6 is a multi-platform VMware and Hyper-V performance monitoring solution which delivers enhanced performance and stability to growing infrastructures. vWorkspace enhancements help organizations improve user experience by enabling their workforces to use the most popular devices for virtual desktop and application access.

Riverbed: Accelerating vSphere Replication

San Francisco-based Riverbed Technology showed a new joint solution with VMware that accelerates vSphere Replication, a new feature of vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5. The joint Riverbed-VMware solution is based on Riverbed's Steelhead wide area network (WAN) optimization appliances, and is aimed at helping customers gain extended distance replication without compromising RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective) goals. VMware vSphere Replication allows virtual machines (VMs) and their associated data to be replicated to either a local or remote data centers.

Symantec: Enhancing Backup Exec, NetBackup

Symantec unveiled a number of storage solutions at VMworld. These include enhancements to its Backup Exec 2010 data protection software focused on integration with VMware vSphere 5.0 and Symantec Application HA. Also new is the NetBackup 5200 enterprise backup appliance and the Backup Exec 3600 integrated backup appliance for quickly implementing backup for virtual environments. Symantec also discussed its storage and availability product roadmap for supporting VMware and vSphere 5.0, and unveiled the results of its Small Business Virtualization Flash Poll which found that 70 percent of small businesses are considering virtualization but only 10 percent have deployed virtualized servers.

Syncsort: Enhancing NetApp Technology For Backups

Syncsort, Woodcliff Lake, N.J., enhanced its NetApp Syncsort Integrated Backup (NSB) data protection solution for using snapshot technology and replication to accelerate backups. The new NSB updates optimize cloud-based data protection by reducing data movement and recovering any level of data in minutes, whether it is a file, an entire volume, an application, or an entire server. By storing all backups in the form of NetApp snapshots, NSB takes advantage of its integration with VMware to recover entire applications in cloud environments in less than 10 minutes. NSB can also quickly restore cloud services.

Tintri: Next Generation Virtual Machine Storage Appliance

Mountain View, Calif.-based Tintri unveiled the next-gen version of its virtual machine-aware storage appliance. The new version of Tintri VMstore will include intuitive visualization of virtual machine performance bottlenecks to identify and isolate issues from the guest OS layer all the way through to the storage level. Also new is virtual machine auto-alignment which improves performance by automatically adapting the storage layer to the guest file system. The appliance also now features dual storage controllers for high-availability configurations. The new appliance is expected to be available late this year.

VCE: One-Stop Solution For Deploying Desktop Virtualization

VCE's new Vblock FastPath Desktop Virtualization Platform is a purpose-built solution that helps IT organizations automate desktop and application management, enable rapid deployment, reduce costs and improve security through centralization of the desktop environment, the company said. It is a single SKU for a complete desktop virtualization platform including VMware View Premier and FastPath deployment and provisioning software. It provides modular and scalable virtual desktop growth, allowing IT managers to support thousands of users on a single platform and add more virtual desktops by upgrading their platform or adding more Vblock FastPath Platforms.

Veeam: Fast Replication In VMware, Microsoft Virtualized Environments

Columbus, Ohio-based Veeam Software's new Veeam Backup & Replication v6 provides complete data protection for virtual environments with up to 10 times faster replication than the previous version. It now supports both VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V, managing both from a single install and a single console. It also provides enterprise scalability and speeds up backup, replication, and restore over a WAN. Other enhancements include the ability to restore files from an image-level backup directly to the original location without a direct network connection or in-guest agent.

Virsto Software: Addressing Storage In Virtual Desktop Environments

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Virsto Software, building on early success in the Microsoft Hyper-V market, is now entering the VMware market with its hypervisor-based storage virtualization software. Virsto for VDI, vSphere Edition, addresses storage costs, performance, and management challenges in virtual desktop environments. The new product for vSphere, officially introduced at VM World this week, delivers scalable virtual machine clones along with thin provisioning for improved virtual desktop density. It can also help reduce the storage cost per virtual desktop, the company said. The product is now in beta testing, with the official release planned for sometime in the fourth quarter.

Virtensys: Centralizing Control Of Virtualized I/O Resources

Virtensys, Beaverton, Ore., unveiled a VMware vCenter Server Plugin that lets administrators manage and provision virtualized I/O resources within VMware vSphere 5. This new release centralizes the control of multiple VIO-4000 series Ethernet and Fibre Channel I/O virtualization appliances, regardless of model type and number of VIO appliances. Users can manage their VIO-4000 series appliances within VMware vCenter Server. The VMware vCenter Server Plugin for Virtensys gives VMware administrators the ability to manage virtualized 10-GbE virtual NICs, 8-Gbps Fibre Channel virtual HBAs, and virtualized SSDs (vSSDs).

Virtual Instruments: Insight Into Storage And Virtual Server Performance

VirtualWisdom 3.0 from San Jose, Calif.-based Virtual Instruments provides real-time insight into the performance, utilization, and availability of virtualized servers, SANs, and storage to help prevent I/O performance issues and reduce the risk of virtualizing mission-critical applications. It provides real-time and historical insights into application latency and bandwidth consumption, giving enterprises early detection and advanced notification of device failures, congestion, and transmission errors. And because it can monitor across servers, networks, and storage, customers can minimize the risks of deploying business-critical applications into virtualized data centers and private clouds while improving SLA (service level agreement) compliance, the company said.

Vision Solutions: New Double-Take Virtual Recovery Appliance

The new Double-Take Virtual Recovery Appliance from Irvine, Calif.-based Vision Solutions is a new virtual software appliance that works with the company's Double-Take Availability software to provide a low-touch disaster recovery solution. It enables physical-to-virtual and virtual-to-virtual disaster recovery protection from a single unified console. The appliance continuously captures changes and replicates those changes in real-time to any ESX server at any local, remote, or cloud-based location. It works with both Windows and Linux servers, and automatically provisions the virtual environment during the recovery process.

VKernel: Enhancing Visibility Into Virtualized, Cloud Environments

Andover, Mass.-based VKernel enhanced its vOperations Suite, also known as vOPS with improved storage visibility and scalability for rapidly growing virtualized environments and public/private cloud deployments. Chief among the enhancements to vOPS 4 is a visualization engine, vSCOPE, that displays on a single screen the resource efficiency of all virtualized storage and the performance, capacity, and cost status for all virtual machines including storage considerations. This release also includes full Hyper-V integration, and is packaged as a single virtual appliance that can be deployed by a systems administrator or channel partner in minutes.