VMware's vSphere of influence

April 21, 2009 -- Today's release of VMware's vSphere 4 operating system – a new OS for building internal clouds – has brought with it a tsunami of support from dozens of storage vendors.

The vSphere 4 OS aggregates and manages large pools of infrastructure resources – processors, storage and networking – as a dynamic operating environment. VMware claims vSphere 4 will "bring the power of cloud computing to the datacenter, slashing IT costs while dramatically increasing IT responsiveness." VMware also touts vSphere as a path to delivering cloud services that are compatible with customers' internal cloud infrastructures. VMware plans to build in support for dynamic federation between internal and external clouds, enabling "private" cloud environments that span multiple datacenters and/or cloud providers.

Big, bad virtual machines

Using the vSphere OS, users can build bigger, faster virtual computing environments. According to VMware's published specs, the platform can pool together up to:

32 physical servers with up to 2048 processor cores
1,280 virtual machines
32TB of RAM
16PB of storage
8,000 network ports

It also creates bigger, faster virtual machines (VMs) with up to:

2x the number of virtual processors per virtual machine (from 4 to 8)
2.5x more virtual NICs per virtual machine (from 4 to 10)
4x more memory per virtual machine (from 64 GB to 255GB)
3x increase in network throughput (from 9 Gbps to 30Gbps)
3x increase in the maximum recorded I/O operations per second (to over 300,000)
New maximum recorded number of transactions per second - 8,900

Data protection and migration

VMware also claims vSphere offers zero downtime and zero data loss protection against hardware failures with VMware Fault Tolerance and minimized planned downtime due to storage maintenance and migrations with VMware Storage VMotion, which provides live migration of virtual machine disk files across heterogeneous networked storage types.

vSphere 4 also features integrated disk-based backup and recovery for all applications via VMware Data Recovery and VMware vStorage Thin Provisioning, which keeps capacity-hungry VMs in check.

Storage vendors on board

The announcements are coming fast and furious from the storage community as, so far, 3PAR, Akorri, CA, Compellent Technologies, CommVault, Dell, Double-Take Software, EMC, Emulex, FalconStor Software, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM, LSI, NetApp, Nexenta, StoneFly, Sun Microsystems, Symantec and Vizioncore have all pledged support for vSphere 4.

Read on for the details we have so far…

3PAR

3PAR's InServ Storage Servers are on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) for VMware vSphere 4. In addition, 3PAR and VMware are investing in joint engineering projects. For example, the 3PAR already supports the VMware vStorage initiative and the recently released adaptive queuing technology that became available in VMware Infrastructure 3.5 and is included in VMware vSphere 4.

Akorri

Akorri's BalancePoint software will support VMware vSphere by the end of 2009. BalancePoint is available on a VMware certified virtual appliance and assists in cross-domain virtualized data center management, managing virtual and physical server and storage infrastructure from a single console.

Compellent Technologies

Compellent Technologies announced that its Storage Center SAN supports VMware vSphere. Compellent's Storage Center has completed the VMware Hardware Certification Program testing criteria and is now listed on the VMware HCL for use with vSphere.

EMC

EMC announced new high-availability advancements for next-generation virtual data centers with the new EMC PowerPath/VE software. The PowerPath/VE software provides path management, load balancing and fail-over capabilities for VMware vSphere 4.

Emulex

Emulex's LightPulse host bus adapters (HBAs) and converged network adapters (CNAs) are fully supported with VMware in-box drivers as part of VMware vSphere 4. The LightPulse 8Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs and 10Gbps Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) CNAs deliver more than double the IOPS performance in VMware vSphere 4 environments over the previous release, according to Emulex.

FalconStor Software

FalconStor Software's NSS-S12 storage array supports vSphere and on the vSphere HCL. FalconStor's Network Storage Server (NSS) technology integrates storage virtualization and provisioning across multiple disk arrays and connection protocols to create a scalable iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN.

HP

Hewlett-Packard announced the integration of vSphere 4 into its HP Adaptive Infrastructure (AI) portfolio. The interoperability of VMware vSphere 4 with HP's portfolio includes hardware compatibility for a range of HP ProLiant and BladeSystem servers and StorageWorks systems and software integration of HP's Insight software with vSphere 4.

NetApp

NetApp also announced the integration and certification of its storage platforms with vSphere 4. NetApp storage platforms and software products such as SANscreen VM Insight and MultiStore are certified for vSphere 4 and available now. The NetApp Virtualization Guarantee Program for vSphere is also available immediately.

StoneFly

IP SAN maker StoneFly announced completion of VMware vSphere certification across its entire SAN product line. StoneFly IP SANs supporting VMware vSphere, including the StoneFly Voyager, Integrated Storage Concentrator and OptiSAN product lines, are now available.

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posted by: Kevin Komiega

Kevin Komiega, Senior Editor
by Kevin Komiega
Senior Editor

Kevin Komiega has been the Senior Editor of InfoStor since 2005. He was previously a senior news writer with SearchStorage.com and held a position as a public relations account executive with Porter Novelli, Boston. Kevin also spent four years running tape backup operations at the University of Rhode Island's Academic Computer Center. He can be contacted at kkomiega@quinstreet.com.

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