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Virsto - A Storage Hypervisor For The Datacenter

Updated on December 4, 2011

Solve Datacenter Problems With A Storage Hypervisor

photo by lidocaineus of flickr
photo by lidocaineus of flickr

The Future Of Storage Virtualization

Virtualization in the datacenter has taken off in big ways in recent years with server hypervisors entering the server room with ever increasing rates. Some of the major companies have introduced wildly popular products in that area such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and VMware ESX/ESXi. This trend has seen ever smaller servers capable of monitoring and managing a fleet of virtual machines with the assistance of the hypervisors or virtual machine managers. It is no doubt that virtualized hardware is big business as tech departments everywhere look to simplify management and reduce the total cost of ownership for their technical assets. That trend does not look to be slowing down any time soon but their is a new player in the game looking to bring that same security, efficiency, and device independence into datacenter storage and that is the storage hypervisor. Storage hypervisors are the cutting-edge that will bring the benefits and features of the hypervisor to disk storage systems.

Virtso Software is a company based in Silicon Valley with a very ambitious goal: "To become the Vmware of 'storage virtualization.'" They are looking to provide customers with a way to forgo the conventional storage appliances and disk architectures in favor of a purely software solution. This provides a layer of abstraction that allows companies to support a heterogeneous variety of storage hardware, some of which they might already have in the datacenter, perhaps in a cross-vendor fashion. This in theory will reduce financial expenditures and total cost of ownership.

Virtso Software has introduced the storage hypervisor platform as a way to meet a common problem that many network administrators or engineers have encountered when undertaking a virtualization project. That is that after virtualization the total IOPS rate may actually be as much as 57% lower than experienced with conventional servers which creates the need to add more disks or perhaps solid state drives (SSDs) in effort to create a compensation and restore the IOPS to acceptable levels. These unforeseen drives can really add to the total cost of an implementation sidetracking or minimizing benefits to the point that the project becomes unsustainable whether it be a virtual desktop infrastructure, virtual server infrastructure, or a hybrid combination.

To this end the Virtso for VDI edition and the Virtso for VSI edition is available for the Microsoft Hyper-V platform and the Virtso for VDI is also available for Vsphere. In the Microsoft Hyper-V R2 environment storage performance is improved with such features as thin provisioning, scalability and cluster-aware Hyper-V disks all while using greatly less storage capacity and providing opportunity to implement snapshots. Backup strategies can be fine tuned to utilize the snapshot/clone technology providing easier maintenance and a backup strategy can be done in accordance with a Volume Shadow Copy and Data Protection Manager implementation if desired. Similar storage performance improvements and features come packed into the Virtso for VDI on Vsphere edition with integrated support of Vmotion and Vsphere management GUIs as part of the package. Failover, redundancy, and disaster recovery options can all be addressed with Virtso.

Storage hypervisors are an emerging market that look to take datacenters by storm in 2012 and beyond.


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