LeftHand bundles virtual storage with VMware

By Kevin Komiega

—LeftHand Networks today announced a new way to buy a complete virtualized infrastructure by bundling VMware's ESX virtual server technology with LeftHand's own Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) software in an effort to lower the cost of entry to virtualization.

The VSA, based on LeftHand's SAN/iQ software, runs as a VMware Certified Virtual Appliance and provides SAN management functionality by virtualizing VMware ESX Server disks to create a pool of shared SAN storage.

The Virtualization Solution Kits extend the functionality of VMware's existing VI Acceleration Kits by adding the VSA to provide the shared storage required to implement some of the more advanced features found in VMware. Some of the supported features include VMware High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), and VMotion.

The kits are available in four combinations. Users can choose a specific kit based on required VMware features, number of VMware and VSA licenses, and the need for implementation assistance.

The first bundle is designed for environments where high availability is required. The kit combines the VMware Infrastructure Standard HA Acceleration Kit, two LeftHand VSAs for VMware ESX, and support and maintenance services. The kit supports up to 25 virtual machines and up to 4TB of VSA storage for a price of $10,990.

The second bundle serves the needs of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looking to implement business continuity using VMware's VMotion technology. This kit also offers training and consulting credits that can be applied to VMware courses or services. The Kit combines the VMware Infrastructure Midsize Acceleration Kit, three LeftHand VSAs, and support and maintenance services. The Midsize Kit supports up to 35 virtual servers and 6TB of VSA storage for $24,990.

The other two kits are designed for companies that need shared storage in support of features such as VMware High Availability (HA), Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), or VMotion, but do not require complete SAN functionality.

The VMware Standard HA Acceleration Kit with Shared Storage combines VMware with a single LeftHand VSA and support and maintenance services. The kit lets users run up to 20 virtual machines with 2TB of shared storage for a price of $6,990.

The final bundle combines the VMware Midsize Acceleration Kit with a single VSA and supports up to 30 VMs and 2TB of VSA storage for $15,990.

LeftHand is targeting SMBs looking to make the move to a virtual server infrastructure, but do not have the budget or expertise required to implement and manage shared storage. LeftHand's vice president of business development, Karl Chen, says bundling VMware with a certified storage product and making the technologies available for a single purchase price eliminate these issues.

"Until now, users would have to buy server virtualization technology from VMware and then a piece of SAN hardware to support it. It can be a time-consuming and expensive process," says Chen. "We're eliminating that complexity."

Chen contends that 60% to 70% of SMBs shy away from deploying VMware due to the additional cost of a SAN. "Our goal is not to educate SMBs and turn them into SAN administrators. It's to take the guesswork out of these solutions by eliminating the requirement of buying external SAN hardware," he says.

By themselves, VMware's Infrastructure Acceleration Kits are sold in a variety of bundles. Each kit includes VMware ESX Server 3i, VMware Guided Consolidation, and VMware Update Manager. As a stand-alone purchase, the kits range in price from $2,995 to $14,995. Chen claims that buying VMware's kits in conjunction with LeftHand's VSA bundles lowers the overall cost of entry to a virtual server and storage infrastructure by as much as 40%.

This article was originally published on February 18, 2008