VMworld 2013: 20 Must-See Storage Offerings (Part 1)

Storage is one of the key legs on which virtualized and cloud IT infrastructures are built. However, implementing storage in virtualized and cloud environments can be difficult as mission-critical workloads gradually shift from static applications to those that require levels of scalability undreamed of even a couple of years ago, and those that will likely be migrated from host to host to provide the most flexibility.

In other words, it is time for both storage and the data center or cloud infrastructure to mature with new ways to connect and communicate. That, in many ways, is at the heart of the storage industry's huge presence at VMworld this week in San Francisco.

If you thought the storage offerings from last year's VMworld were big, you will be amazed at what's happening in 2013.

And don't forget to look for Part 2 of this wrap. There was just too much to put in one slideshow.

Artisan Infrastructure is showcasing the Austin, Texas-based company's new Object Based Cloud Storage Platform, which give MSPs and other solution providers a broad range of cloud storage options.

The Artisan Infrastructure Object Based Cloud Storage Platform, included as part of the company's Cornerstone Virtual Private Data Center (vPDC) platform, provides complete autonomy, control, security and visibility for building independent cloud storage service offerings, and is available on a wholesale-only basis to channel partners.

The offering can help reduce the cost and security concerns for object-based cloud storage, and is already in use with such cloud storage providers as Anchor, CTERA, Maldivica, Mezeo, PHD Virtual, TwinStrata and Vembu.

Barracuda, Campbell, Calif., showed several developments around its Barracuda Backup solution at VMworld.

Barracuda Backup 5.4 extends the cloud storage capabilities of the solution, with increased retention periods for backup storage, without upgrading the local hardware appliance. Barracuda Backup 5.4 also increases maximum local cache capacity to over 100 TBs in a single appliance to make backups in larger environments more flexible and easier than before.

A new version of Cloud LiveBoot is also now available. That gives customers the ability to instantly boot critical virtual machines in the Barracuda cloud from backups if primary storage fails to reduce downtime.

Barracuda also unveiled an expanded version of its Copy for Companies file sync and share service with increased security capabilities, company visibility into employee accounts and better control over incoming shared data.

The V-locity VM acceleration software from Condusiv Technologies now has been validated by over 1,000 Virtualization customers, the Burbank, Calif.-based company said at VMware.

V-locity VM is a software application designed to increase the performance of I/O-intensive applications like Microsoft's SQL Server and Exchange running in virtualized environments. V-locity VM includes Condusiv’s IntelliMemory and IntelliWrite technologies, which the company claims optimizes reads and writes via dynamic server-side caching on available server resources while preventing split I/Os, and the related performance penalties resulting from a file being broken into pieces before a write operation.

Condusiv supports V-locity VM with a performance guarantee, and provides an embedded performance benchmark to help customers see results in real-world environments before making a purchase.

Dell used VMworld to show its support for VMware vSphere 5.5 integration via new software releases for its flagship storage lines.

Dell Compellent vSphere Client Plug-in 2.0 and Dell EqualLogic Virtual Storage Manager for VMware 4.0 provide seamless integration with vSphere 5.5, Dell said. Both applications help with managing and provisioning of storage, and help protect and recover virtual machines with snapshot and replication capabilities across multiple storage arrays from a single VMware vSphere Web Client interface. Dell also plans to roll out VMware vCOPs support for its storage arrays this year.

Dell said at VMworld that the new Dell Compellent vSphere Client Plug-in 2.0 is available now, while the new Dell EqualLogic Virtual Storage Manager for VMware 4.0 is slated to ship later this year.

Emulex, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based developer of storage adapters, used VMworld to unveil a new set of adapters based on its Emulex LightPulse Gen 5 Fibre Channel technology.

The new Gen 5 FC adapters include the LPe16004 quad-port Gen 5 HBA with 16-Gbps Fibre channel performance; the LPe15004 quad-port low-profile Gen 5 HBA with 8-Gbps Fibre channel performance; and the LPe16202 dual-port converged fabric adapter.

All can be deployed as host initiators or storage targets while providing the latency, I/O performance, bandwidth and reliability targeted at optimizing virtualization, private cloud, and flash cache solutions in servers, arrays and appliances.

GreenBytes, a Providence, R.I.-based developer of technology for optimizing virtualized storage for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), showcased its vIO virtual storage optimization appliance at VMworld 2013.

GreenBytes' vIO is a virtualized storage optimization appliance version of the company's IO Offload Engine for low-cost, high-performance operation of scalable, full-featured virtual desktops. The vIO utilizes existing infrastructure resources to help enterprises and service providers cost-effectively scale their virtual desktop environments. It installs and scales out in minutes to divert swap and boot traffic away from primary storage to high-speed flash storage.

VIO integrates at the hypervisor level and manages specific data stores, including golden images for provisioning, replica data store for boot, and linked clones for swapping.

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) said at VMworld that it has successfully deployed Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) Pro for VMware vSphere converged infrastructure with SAP technical services and hosting solutions provider oXya. OXya helps midsize and global organizations increase the efficiency and flexibility of their SAP infrastructures and support operations.

HDS also demonstrated its virtualization and cloud technologies in VMware environments, including Hitachi and Cisco solutions for multivendor cloud deployment; enterprise NFS/NAS solutions for VMware vSphere and VMware Horizon View; Hitachi Data Instance Manager; and Hitachi data protection solutions for VMware environments.

Hewlett-Packard's new HP StoreVirtual VSA virtual storage appliance was a big focus for the vendor at VMworld. HP touts the VSA as the industry's first scale-out software-defined storage solution to offer data tiering. It features automated sub-LUN storage tiering that moves data blocks to high-performance or cost-optimized storage automatically, based on application needs, including between high-performance SSDs and lower-cost hard drives.

The VSA can be purchased in 4-TB, 10-TB and 50-TB licenses. It is slated to ship on Sept. 30 at multiple capacity points.

HP also introduced new software plug-ins for HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, including the HP StoreFront Analytics Pack for VMware’s vCenter Operations Management (vCOPS) and SAP NetWeaver Landscape Virtualization Manager (LVM).

Fountain Valley, Calif.-based Kingston Technology used VMworld to introduce its new E50 SSD, an enterprise-class SSD targeting performance-focused applications. The E50 is similar to Kingston's SSDNow E100 in terms of performance, and both carry three-year warranties. The primary difference between the two is that the lower-cost E50 has a mean time between failure (MTBF) rating of 1 million hours vs. 10 million hours for the E100.

The E50 includes Kingston's Advanced Data Integrity Protection, featuring DuraWrite technology, to extend the life of the SSD by effectively reducing the number of flash storage writes via an intelligent compression engine without sacrificing data integrity. It also includes Kingston's RAISE technology to reduce the number of uncorrectable errors in the SSD over and above standard error code correction.

Seattle-based Mozy used VMworld to highlight recent changes in how it works with customers and partners to deliver cloud-based data protection services in response to the increasing number of users using their own mobile devices at work.

The first is keyless activation under which accounts can be linked to user profiles to allow employees to activate backups on their devices by using their email addresses. Accounts can even be provisioned, updated and deactivated through Active Directory or other LDAP solutions.

The second is pooled storage under which storage quotas can be allocated to individuals, teams or groups. This helps administrators more efficiently manage their backup storage across their organizations while making the way for channel partners to monitor and manage a "buffer" for every device being backed up.

The SmartStack for Business Critical Applications from San Jose, Calif.-based Nimble Storage is a new converged infrastructure reference architecture that leverages Nimble's flash-optimized Nimble Storage CS-Series arrays, Cisco UCS B-Series blade servers and VMware vSphere 5.1. The solution lets businesses scale their storage.

The SmartStack for Business Critical Applications was validated by the three vendors to support department-scale deployment of 500 users for Exchange, SharePoint and SQL. It delivers storage and compute performance, targeting the increased performance of business-critical applications, and scales to fit changing business requirements.

San Jose, Calif.-based SSD developer OCZ Technology and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based InfiniBand and Ethernet developer Mellanox Technologies are working together to deliver flash I/O storage performance and fault tolerance to VMware clusters without a SAN.

The solution combines Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN 40-gigabit Ethernet cards with OCZ's VXL Software to replicate VMware data stores in virtualized SAN-less clusters.

This is achieved via two servers configured with the OCZ VXL 1.3.1 software, OCZ Z-Drive R4 PCIe flash cards and Mellanox ConnectX-3 EN network interface cards. They can run virtualized workloads, such as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server. SAN-less high availability and fault tolerance is maintained by the VXL Software, which distributes randomized data between all available flash cells locally on-host.

Campbell, Calif.-based cloud storage appliance developer Panzura and Chicago-based big data management software developer Cleversafe used VMworld to introduce a joint solution that provides an enterprise-ready NAS storage service for unstructured data.

The solution, which Cleversafe will sell and promote to large-scale enterprises, combines Cleversafe’s Dispersed Storage (dsNet) system with Panzura's cloud storage appliance to create an enterprise-ready NAS storage service, with a global file system that includes snapshots, deduplication, distributed file locking and encryption.

The combined Panzura/Cleversafe solution lets enterprise customers leverage the Cleversafe dsNet storage system for all unstructured data storage requirements using Panzura's global file system to allow worldwide storage consolidation and distributed file sharing. In addition, the Panzura solution provides archiving, backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

PernixData, San Jose, Calif., unveiled a new edition of its PernixData FVP software, targeting SMBs looking for easy and cost-effective optimization of flash storage independent of storage capacity.

The SMB Edition of PernixData FVP virtualizes flash across up to four hosts, creating a clustered acceleration tier that lets IT administrators accelerate read and write performance for virtualized applications. No changes are required to existing server and storage infrastructures.

The SMB Edition of PernixData FVP includes licenses for up to four hosts, with a maximum of two processors and one flash device per host. Up to 100 virtual machines can be supported across these hosts. List price for the SMB Edition is $9,999.

San Diego-based Proximal Data used VMworld to unveil AutoCache 2.0, the latest version of its hypervisor-based caching software for increasing virtual machine density and performance with no IT disruption.

AutoCache 2.0 supports resource sharing within VMware vCenter and vSphere environments. IT administrators can use it to modify host-level and virtual machine cache settings and collect data over time for performance analysis and bill-back. It can be deployed with a wide variety of flash devices, and supports pre-warming of the cache for vMotion to meet service-level agreements.

AutoCache 2.0 for VMware ESXi is available now, with support for Microsoft Hyper-V slated for availability in the fourth quarter. Pricing starts at $999 per host for flash caches less than 500 GB.

Quantum at VMworld showed a joint solution with CommVault, aimed at providing a solution for converged backup and archiving in the data center.

Based on Quantum’s Lattus-D object storage technology and CommVault Simpana 10 software, the solution provides a comprehensive data-protection and archive strategy that helps reduce primary storage costs and optimize backup performance, while minimizing management complexity and capital expenditures in multi-petabyte environments.

Quantum Lattus-D is a scalable, cost-effective, disk-based solution for near-line access to archived data across global locations. It includes true self-healing and self-protection capabilities and enables automatic multisite protection without the need for replication. CommVault Simpana unifies backup, archive, reporting and disaster recovery in a single software platform. Together, the two allow storing a single instance of fully protected archive data on Lattus.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Tintri demonstrated its Zero Management Storage at VMworld. This includes the company's ReplicateVM product, which allows virtual machines to be replicated across different VMstore systems without having admins deal with LUNs and volumes.

Tintri also previewed its upcoming Tintri Global Center, a centralized control platform that allows IT organizations to have multiple VMstore systems function as one, and efficiently monitor and administer their virtualized data stores and virtual machines. Tintri expects third parties will build a rich ecosystem over time extending Tintri Zero Management Storage using APIs.

Unitrends, Columbia, S.C., unveiled the availability of Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB) Free Edition for free (unlicensed) VMware ESXi. This new version of UEB, available 12 months after Unitrends Enterprise Backup for VMware vSphere was launched, gives customers a free, fully functioning backup and recovery solution deployable on all versions of VMware ESXi, including the ESXi free edition.

UEB Free Edition for ESXi provides several enterprise-class backup features, including automated scheduling, instant recovery, global deduplication, archiving and more.

Unitrends Enterprise Backup is a software-only, virtual backup and recovery appliance, and features cloud-sourced deduplication; hot-hot replication and retention; private virtual machine spin-up; VMware SAN direct backup and recovery; application-aware VMware backups; and private one-click recovery.

Violin Memory used VMworld to unveil its Violin 6264 flash memory array, which delivers 64 TBs of capacity in only a 3U footprint. The Violin 6264 combines Violin's flash controller technology with Toshiba's 19nm flash technology to deliver twice the density, three times the economics and significantly lower power consumption compared to its predecessor. Complementing the 6000 Series Arrays is the Violin Symphony Management System, an application that allows enterprisewide management of Violin Memory Arrays through a single window from any device at anytime.

Boston-based Zerto touted its new Zerto Virtual Replication (ZVR) 3.0 as the industry's first disaster recovery solution built to easily integrate into public, private and hybrid clouds. ZVR 3.0 provides enterprise-class RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective), along with new functionality for effective disaster recovery, data protection and workload migration.

Zerto called ZVR 3.0 a "software-defined disaster recovery" offering because it is based in the hypervisor, which decouples disaster recovery from the storage hardware.

For cloud service providers, ZVR 3.0 includes the Zerto Self-Service Portal (ZSSP), which integrates into an existing cloud portal to accelerate time to market for disaster recovery services, and Zerto Cloud Manager (ZCM), which provides a single view of a customer's data, even if they are leveraging physical resources across several locations. ZVR 3.0 also provides enterprise disaster recovery capabilities.