Dell to resell Xsigo's I/O directors

Posted on March 01, 2009

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BY KEVIN KOMIEGA

Xsigo Systems has landed a big partner: Dell is reselling Xsigo’s line of I/O virtualization products as a server and storage connecti- vity option for its PowerEdge servers and PowerVault, EqualLogic, and Dell/EMC storage systems. In addition, the companies have stated that they will work together on technology roadmaps and the development of reseller resources.

The full Xsigo product line is included in the agreement, including its flagship VP780 I/O Director. The director consolidates and replaces physical network interface cards (NICs) and host bus adapters (HBAs) with virtual links that appear to applications and operating systems as physical components. The system uses high-speed InfiniBand host channel adapters (HCAs) to connect to servers and support Ethernet and Fibre Channel traffic.

The VP780 I/O Director delivers 20Gbps of bandwidth to each connected server and features I/O management capabilities, such as a single-screen view of virtual machines, virtual switches, and I/O topologies. In addition, Xsigo’s performance monitoring tools can generate traffic statistics accessible through third-party tools.

The VP780 also features SAN and iSCSI boot capabilities that make it possible to boot any server from any Fibre Channel or iSCSI LUN for re-purposing of server resources.

According to Jon Toor, vice president of marketing, Xsigo’s products complement Dell’s servers and storage families by enabling universal connectivity across all I/O types. Most of Dell’s servers, including the PowerEdge M-Series blades, and all of the PowerVault, EqualLogic and Dell/EMC storage systems, are interoperable with the Xsigo Director.

The Xsigo-Dell combination is said to improve the management of I/O resources across multiple vendor platforms from a single console, instead of being restricted to a single vendor solution. It also circumvents the restrictions of physical I/O ports, letting users deploy new I/O resources to servers on-the-fly.

But Dell and Xsigo are not positioning the joint solutions as a replacement for existing fabric switches and HBAs. The game plan is to manage the cost and complexity associ- ated with virtualizing the data center.

Anthony Dina, Dell’s director of strategy, says the ability to scale server and storage environments without adding more switches can be a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to virtualization projects.

“Customers generally enter into virtualization projects from a perspective of cost," says Dina. "Where Xsigo’s technology adds value is by allowing users to scale their environments without increasing port counts. Since quality of service [QoS] is inherent to the Xsigo Director and it supports connectivity between all of Dell’s servers, blades, and storage product lines, customers can scale IT while freeing users from the physical binds that are associated with the ways servers are connected to LANs and SANs.”

Dina adds, “We are not asking customers to rip and replace their Brocade or Cisco infrastructures. We have recognized that, as data centers evolve, the operational management must evolve as well. The next wave of decisions on virtualization will not be about reducing the number of boxes in the data center. It’s going to be about the quality of service you can render to the consumers of IT.”

Pricing for the Xsigo Virtual I/O System begins at approximately $30,000. The system is now available from Dell as an option for its PowerEdge servers and storage systems.


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