August 31, 2010 – At the VMworld show today, Xsigo unveiled an Ethernet version of its line of virtual I/O directors, complementing its existing family of InfiniBand-based I/O directors (which are resold by vendors such as Dell).
Xsigo positions the virtual I/O directors as an alternative to Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) approaches to converged networks and cloud computing architectures. Unlike FCoE, Xsigo’s I/O directors do not require adapters to be installed in the attached servers.
“You‘re getting rid of expensive FCoE cards, which can cost $1,500, but you still have Fibre Channel, Giagabit Ethernet and 10Gb Ethernet connectivity,” says Jon Toor, Xsigo’s vice president of marketing.
Toor claims that the virtual I/O directors, with 10GbE, provide the same performance as FCoE at a fraction of the cost. In addition to Ethernet and Fibre Channel, the virtual I/O directors support NAS and iSCSI protocols.
Factoring in the cost of the I/O director, Toor claims that Xsigo’s approach costs about $500 per server, or 33% of the cost of an FCoE-based approach. And he claims that the virtual I/O directors are less than 25% of the cost of an approach based on Cisco’s Nexus 5000 switch with FCoE connectivity and FCoE converged network adapters (CNAs) in the hosts.
Xsigo’s Ethernet-based I/O directors are available in two versions: the VP560e I/O Director ($35,000) has 32 10GbE ports and up to four I/O modules, and the VP780e I/O Director ($45,000) has 32 10GbE ports and up to 15 I/O modules.
In addition to FCoE CNAs, Xsigo’s virtual I/O directors are an alternative to PCIe link extenders.
The Ethernet-based I/O directors can connect servers to as many as 64 Ethernet or Fibre Channel networks with a single Ethernet cable. And Toor says that users will require approximately 80% fewer switch ports compared to alternative approached to converged data centers.