At the EMC World show today, I/O virtualization specialist Xsigo Systems introduced a smaller, 2U version of its existing 4U VP780 I/O Director. The 2U VP560 essentially has the same software and hardware as the VP780, and includes 24 20Gbps InfiniBand server ports and four I/O modules to which users can attach I/O cards such as Fibre Channel HBAs or 1GbE or 10GbE NICs.

In a virtual I/O scenario, the I/O cards reside in the virtual I/O devices, as opposed to the server. The VP560 can support up to 64 virtual NICS and HBAs per server with one cable.

Also today, Dell announced that it will resell Xsigo’s VP560. (Dell already resells the larger VP780.)

Xsigo’s I/O director is targeted primarily at private clouds, virtual infrastructures and pod computing architectures where compute/storage/network resources can be deployed in pre-configured racks.

To a degree, Xsigo is positioning its virtual I/O devices as an alternative to Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE). “The I/O directors are an alternative to FCoE as the interconnect back to the server, because we use InfiniBand, but connectivity out of the director to the storage could be FCoE, Fibre Channel or Ethernet,” says Jon Toor, Xsigo’s vice president of marketing.

However, Toor claims that the VP560 can provide twice the performance as FCoE at half the cost.

The top-of-rack VP560 can scale to support six to 60 servers. (The VP780 supports up to 120 servers.) Pricing for the VP560 starts at $20,000.

Xsigo competes primarily with I/O virtualization vendors such as NextIO and VirtenSys.


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