VMworld: LeftHand streamlines virtual desktop deployment

By Kevin Komiega

-- At this week's VMworld conference in Las Vegas, LeftHand Networks announced the availability of SAN/iQ 8, the latest release of its iSCSI SAN software with new cloning technology that streamlines the process of rolling out virtual desktop infrastructures.

The software is available for all of LeftHand's SAN hardware platforms and includes new features for managing data in virtual server environments, most notably SAN/iQ SmartClone Volumes and Virtual Connection Manager.

SmartClone Volumes replicates data volumes and data sets without requiring additional storage to house multiple system images. Each volume clone is a virtual copy that saves space in a variety of environments and applications, including server and desktop provisioning, boot-from-SAN provisioning, and copying production data into test and development environments.

Chris McCall, LeftHand's product marketing director, says storing de-duplicated system images with SmartClone allows users to cost-effectively store image data on their SAN, and storage clustering capabilities address performance bottlenecks by load balancing the system image across every disk drive.

According to McCall, desktop virtualization projects are exposing the issues and limitations of traditional storage systems. He claims that storing desktop system image data on external storage can be expensive and is a practice prone to performance bottlenecks as many desktops boot up at the same time.
"Making, managing, monitoring, and tracking virtual copies without creating duplicated data can reduce cost and simplify management in virtual environments,” says McCall.

Also new to SAN/iQ 8 is Virtual Connection Manager, a troubleshooting tool designed to address performance issues associated with virtual servers and their connections to storage resources. To simplify management, SAN/iQ 8 includes an interface enhancement that allows users to view a map of the connections among their servers, virtual machines, and volumes.

The software's new Integrated Performance Manager monitors and exports SAN performance data for trending and analysis. The performance data is available via standard SNMP for integration into third-party network management applications.

Finally, the Advanced Programmatic and Scripting Interfaces feature in SAN/iQ allows other applications and management consoles to automatically control SAN/iQ functions.

SAN/iQ 8 software will be available in October through LeftHand's resellers and VAR partners, and will be integrated on LeftHand's SAN products as well as its Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) for VMware ESX. The software will be available to existing customers at no cost.

SAN/iQ 8 supports VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, and Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenServer environments.

Related articles:

Storage vendors target virtual servers
Users extol iSCSI benefits
The benefits of clustered block storage

This article was originally published on September 18, 2008