VMworld 2012: Storage Takes Center Stage (Part 1)

Storage At The Core Of VMworld, Part 1 Of 2

Storage has always been an important part of virtualized environments ever since the day VMware first introduced VMotion. However, as data centers have become more virtualized and tied to the cloud, storage has become a critical component.

The importance of storage to virtualized environments and to the cloud has never been more clear than at VMworld, where vendors large and small are introducing new flash storage arrays, data protection software, intelligent management, tiering to the cloud and more.

If you thought the storage offerings from last year's VMworld was big, you will be amazed at what's happening in 2012.

Just turn the page to get started, don't forget to look for Part 2 of this wrap -- there was just too much excitement to put in one slide show.

Actifio: Complete Data Management For Virtualized Environments

Waltham, Mass.-based Actifio’s PAS-20T is a new version of the company's Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) system designed for medium enterprise and remote/branch offices. The PAS-20T storage system brings data management to server and network virtualization with the ability to recover any application instantly with a cost savings of up to 90 percent compared to other solutions, Actifio said. Benefits include "zero-touch" deployment and "zero-administration" combined with SLA-based management.

The PAS-20T scales to up to 20 TB, and it was designed to manage all the data protection and availability applications typically handled by siloed data management point tools like backup, snapshot, disaster recovery, business continuity, replication, deduplication and WAN optimization. It is expected to ship in the fourth quarter.

Astute Networks: Adding Flash Performance To Critical Apps

Astute Networks' new ViSX G4 VM storage appliances boost application performance in virtualized environments via its networked flash technology by 10 times, the San Diego-based company said. The result is a big improvement in both datastore and network performance that increases sustained throughput for business-critical applications without purchasing new storage or server resources or network capacity.

The ViSX VM appliances, expected to ship later this month, work with all virtualization platforms including VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer and Red Hat RHEV. It complements existing SAN or NAS infrastructures with a non-disruptive flash-based datastore tier. The ViSX G4 provides up to 140,000 sustained random IOPS that is shareable by all virtual machines on all hosts over 10G or 1G Ethernet networks.

CommVault: Adding Intelligent Snapshot Management To Nimble Storage

CommVault, Oceanport, N.J., and Nimble Storage, San Jose, Calif., have integrated Nimble Storage's CS-Series arrays with CommVault Simpana snapshot management software as part of the CommVault IntelliSnap Connect program. This gives Nimble Storage access to CommVault’s snapshot management API’s to enable customers to extend their SAN investments while accelerating backup and recovery performance.

Simpana’s built-in application intelligence allows quick data recovery at a granular level down to individual files and emails or entire applications. The solution scales to support thousands of snapshots, and it integrates application-aware protection and data deduplication for a range of hypervisors, operating systems and applications. Nimble Storage CS-Series supports retention periods of months for extended compliance and e-discovery through archival to tape or cloud storage.

DataCore: SANsymphony Integration with vSphere

DataCore Software, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., used VMworld to show off the integration of its SANsymphony-V Storage Hypervisor and vSphere. SANsymphony-V 9.0 offers a vCenter plug-in, VAAI support, Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) for VMware's Site Recovery Manager (SRM) and hooks for provisioning, turbo-charging, snapshotting and remotely replicating ESX clusters, virtual machines and datastores. Customers can control fully redundant, virtualized storage pools directly from a vClient session, or orchestrate actions with other workflows through a PowerShell scripting library.

SANsymphony-V 9.0 also boosts the performance of tier-one applications with adaptive caching and automated storage tiering. The software is available with price points for small or midsize datacenters as well as large scale cloud rollouts. A rental program for cloud service providers is also available.

Dot Hill Systems: Dynamic Storage Tiering

The new Dot Hill AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series from Longmont, Colo.-based Dot Hill Systems is an intelligent, automatic, real-time tiered storage solution that supports rapid access to data even as that data changes dynamically. Dot Hill said its AssuredSAN Pro 5000 Series provides midrange storage customers with a high-performance, highly available and reliable integrated storage solution with built-in, real-time autonomic tiered storage and virtualization.

The AssuredSAN 5000 Series identifies data "hot spots" and dynamically responds by moving information from its enterprise SAS hard drives to the SSDs on a minute-by-minute basis, all without the need for user-defined policies or settings.

Emulex: Upgrading OneCommand Vision I/O Management

The Emulex OneCommand Vision 3.0 I/O management tool from Emulex provides proactive I/O management, maximizes I/O resource utilization and proactively enhances performance and availability by monitoring and analyzing critical I/O performance metrics, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company said.

Vision proactively monitors storage performance and health metrics, sending Intelligent Alerts that can help prevent slowdowns and outages. New at VMworld is a portfolio of options to extend support to include SAN-attached storage connected via iSCSI, direct attached storage and Logical Volumes presented to servers. The Emulex OneCommand Vision 3.0 family also now includes Professional, Essentials, and free editions.

GreenBytes: Accelerating VDI With Existing Storage

Ashaway, R.I.-based GreenBytes’ purpose-built IO Offload Engine is an integrated platform for vendor-agnostic, cloud-scale VDI (virtual desktop) deployments. The IO Offload Engine delivers enterprise-scale VDI performance while helping organizations minimize costs and deliver custom per-session settings using existing architectures.

The GreenBytes IO Offload Engine is a plug-and-play VDI appliance that diverts swap and boot traffic away from primary storage. It installs and scales out in minutes on a customer's existing SAN. It comes with a pay-per-use model with recurring revenue to support business customers that prefer to focus on operating expenses instead of capital costs.

Hitachi Data Systems: Cloud OEM Deal With VMware

Hitachi Data Systems, Santa Clara, Calif., used VMworld to unveil a new embedded OEM agreement with VMware to further scale customers’ IT infrastructures and accelerate their cloud deployments. With the partnership, HDS will bundle VMware cloud infrastructure software and sell individual software licenses to provide organizations with complete, converged infrastructure solutions, services and support to build and manage physical and virtual data center initiatives.

HDS also showcased its virtualization and cloud technologies in VMware environments through feature demonstrations including Hitachi Storage Cluster for VMware vSphere, Storage Manager for VMware vCenter Server, Hitachi reference solution for VMware View 5 and Hitachi data protection solutions for VMware environments.

LSI: Bring PCIe Flash Performance To The Channel

Milpitas, Calif.-based LSI is using VMworld to unveil channel availability of the LSI Nytro MegaRAID family of application acceleration cards. The PCIe flash-based Nytro MegaRAID cards combine LSI’s RAID-on-Chip (ROC) technology with on-board flash storage to accelerate direct attach storage performance. The cards provide performance acceleration thanks to its PCIe-based NAND flash technology combined with intelligent caching algorithms that identify application ’hot spots’ of frequently accessed data and promote them to high-performance flash storage. Nytro MegaRAID cards have a low-profile, MD2 form factor, are PCIe 3.0 compliant and support 6-GBit-per-second SAS or SATA devices. They come with 100 GBs, 200 GBs or 800 GBs of flash capacity with a starting price of $1,795.

NexGen Storage: Provisioning And Monitoring Storage In VMware Environments

Louisville, Colo.-based NexGen Storage is previewing its NexGen Storage vCenter Plug-in, which allows VMware administrators to provision and manage virtual machine datastore capacity and performance by leveraging NexGen’s Quality of Service (QoS) feature set.

The QoS feature set includes Provision Data Stores that allow administrators to provision new QoS-driven datastores from a single interface without leaving vCenter just by assigning a name, size and performance level to the datastore. Also included is Monitor Data Store Performance, which provides actionable information on real-time datastore performance and capacity utilization. vCenter administrators can use performance information to modify a datastore’s QoS service level to address virtual machine performance issues without incurring downtime.

Nimble Storage: Scalable Hybrid Storage Solutions

San Jose, Calif.-based Nimble Storage used VMworld to introduce its CS-Series of hybrid SSD-hard drive storage systems, including the recently announced CS400. The CS400 provides scalable storage capacity and performance and is targeted at mainstream workloads such as server virtualization, SQL Server, Exchange and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Nimble Storage solutions can scale capacity with new ES1-Series storage expansion shelves, scale performance with new high-capacity flash SSDs or add more processing power, or scale both by combining multiple arrays into a single scale-out storage cluster. They integrate with VMware for end-to-end management and data protection, as well as with Microsoft and CommVault around data protection. They are scheduled to ship during the third quarter.

PHD: Improved Backup, Replication In Virtualized Environments

PHD Virtual Technologies, a Philadelphia-based developer of virtual machine backup and recovery, unveiled its new PHD Virtual Backup 6.0 at VMworld. PHD Virtual Backup is the company's backup and recovery solution for VMware and Citrix environments, and this new version provides faster, more flexible and more secure backups than before. PHD Virtual Backup 6.0 improves backup and replication with optimized performance against almost any type of storage target, including cloud gateway devices. It also provides application-aware backups and encrypted data protection along with functionality to demonstrate compliance with policies and regulations to pass internal and external security audits.

Quantum: Q-Cloud Backup And DR Subscription Service

San Jose, Calif.-based Quantum showed its new Q-Cloud cloud-based backup and disaster recovery service at VMworld. Q-Cloud includes Quantum's deduplication technology to provide backing up of both physical and virtual infrastructures up to 1 petabyte starting at 1 cent per GB per month.

Q-Cloud takes advantage of Quantum's DXi-Series and vmPRO capabilities to provide onsite and cloud data protection using existing backup applications including Veeam, vRanger, NetBackup, Backup Exec, Tivoli Storage Manager, HP Data Protector and CommVault. Quantum vmPRO virtual data protection software replicates virtual machines to the cloud for Q-Cloud’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offering.

SafeNet: Encryption For NAS Data Environments

Belcamp, Md.-based SafeNet’s StorageSecure is a hardware-based NAS security appliance that securely encrypts data on a granular basis over 1-Gbit or 10-Gbit networks. StorageSecure provides seamless data security while enforcing customized policies surrounding the data's access for compliance and governance requirements.

StorageSecure was developed in partnership with NAS leader NetApp. With its granular encryption, customers can compartmentalize the use of data in NAS, mitigate the risk of storage administrators accessing high-value data without affecting their day to day job, provide for data shredding when needed and provide audit trails for all StorageSecure-protected data access events.

StorageSecure is available in both 1-Gbit-per-second and 10-Gbit-per-second models.

SimpliVity: Combining Server, Storage, Networking In A VMware-Centric Appliance

Stealth startup SimpliVity is using VMworld to show off OmniCube, an appliance that combines server, storage and networking resources and is managed by a VMware administrator with no specialized training. It integrates with VMware's vCenter platform to provide automated management in virtual and cloud infrastructures and make it easy for non-storage, non-server administrators to use.

Two or more OmniCubes can be deployed together to form an OmniCube Global Federation for efficient data movement, resource sharing and scalability.

Westborough, Mass.-based SimpliVity said its OmniCube comes standard with scale-out, global, unified VM-centric management along with real-time in-line global deduplication and compression across geographies and the cloud.

Symantec: Wide Range Of VMware Data Protection Options

Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec unveiled several new solutions across its entire product portfolio to ensure higher levels of data protection for VMware virtualized environments.

They include NetBackup Instant Recovery for VMware, which allows virtual machines to be started from its backup image without restoring the full version and later using VMware Storage vMotion to move it back into production; VM Ready NetBackup Appliances for easy deployment of the company's NetBackup recovery solution to protect up to 4,800 virtual machines; a new version of Veritas Dynamic Multi-Pathing for VMware, which integrates directly into VMware ESX to improve SAN storage I/O, performance and availability for VMware vSphere; and a new beta version of its Veritas Cluster Server with automatic application failover for VMware virtual machines.

Tintri: New Per-VM Cloning And Snapshots

Mountain View, Calif.-based Tintri demonstrated its Tintri VMstore storage system at VMworld 2012. The demo included its newly-released per-VM (virtual machine) cloning and snapshot features. The cloning feature allows admins to clone VMs instantly, compared to what the company called a tedious process that in the past could take well over 20 minutes.

Violin: Adding Symantec Data Management To All-flash Arrays

Violin Memory, Mountain View, Calif., introduced a suite of data management capabilities in conjunction with Symantec for its all-flash Memory Arrays, providing enterprises with a tier-one storage solution that provides speed, scale, reliability and low cost. The suite builds flash-optimized software including snapshots, cloning, deduplication, replication and thin provisioning into Violin’s product portfolio. Violin Memory Arrays are currently street priced at $5 to $8 per GB of raw capacity. With deduplication, the per-GB cost drops significantly. When combined with its 1-million-IOPS performance in a 3U appliance, this makes flash storage very affordable, the company said. The flash-based storage arrays with the Symantec data management suite are expected to ship starting in the fourth quarter.

VirtualSharp: Free Edition Of VM Disaster Recovery Software Available

VirtualSharp Software, McLean, Va., used VMworld to introduce a free edition of its flagship product, ReliableDR, which provides customers with production-ready disaster recovery replication functionality, heartbeat certification and recovery time objective (RTO) measurement.

ReliableDR Free Edition provides such production-ready functionalities as the ability to replicate virtual machines across data centers; automatic heartbeat checks for replica VMs; automated failover of VMs, applications and IT services; VM failback to the original data center; and no requirement for software in the production data center.

ReliableDR Free Edition supports all versions of vSphere including the Essentials kits.

VKernel: Enhancing VM, Storage Control Into The Cloud

VKernel, a division of Quest Software, used VMworld to unveil vOPS Server Standard 6.0, an application that offers enhanced control over virtual machine and virtualized storage performance and extends support into cloud deployments. This new release eliminates administrator "fire-fighting" with a new diagnosis screen that detects and resolves virtual machine issues with disk latency, throughput and server resource constraints. vOPS also helps avoid such issues altogether with new change modeling that identifies performance and capacity impacts to storage and server resources. Modeled changes can then be implemented into the environment through automation. The new release also introduces VMware vCloud Director integration.

VMware: Integrating EMC Avamar In VMware vSphere Data Protection

VMware and EMC officially unveiled the new VMware vSphere Data Protection solution under which VMware will leverage EMC's Avamar in its VMware vSphere 5.1.

The new solution, which replaces the older vSphere Data Recovery offering, takes advantage of EMC Avamar's variable-length deduplication, full support of changed block tracking and single-step restores to minimize storage resource consumption, reduce backup windows and enable fast recovery, VMware said. VMware vSphere Data Protection can be managed directly from the vSphere Web Client.

VMware said it will continue to support other storage partners' technology with continued investment in the vSphere Storage APIs for Data Protection.