Xsigo Launches Virtual Server Fabric for Cloud Data Centers

By Stuart Johnston

Xsigo Systems executives think they've got the missing piece to the cloud data center puzzle -- virtualized connectivity between all the virtual components, using what they call a virtual "server fabric."

The idea is to make creating, managing and maintaining cloud data centers as simple as drawing a Visio configuration diagram -- both in the virtual world as well as in the real world of bare metal servers, storage arrays and, crucially, networking connectivity -- and all as flexibly as plugging together Lego blocks.

"Of the fundamental data center building blocks -- servers, storage, and the network connectivity that ties it all together -- only connectivity remains as it was twenty years ago, locked to an inflexible and inefficient switch and port-based management model," according to a Xsigo (pronounced "See-Go") statement.

Xsigo's Server Fabric, which the company officially launched this week, enables data center managers to make single-click network connections from virtual machines (VM) to any data center resources -- including servers, networks, storage, and other VMs.

The fabric, Xsigo claims, provides invisible connectivity among all the various components, without hours, weeks, or months of wiring, configuring ports, setting up switches and other time and labor-intensive tasks. As in other tasks that have been virtualized in the data center, the details are taken care of beneath the covers.

For example, Xsigo's Server Fabric lets administrators and systems architects deploy Ethernet and Fibre Channel connections at speeds up to 40 Gbps, while scaling up to 1,000 physical hosts supporting tens of thousands of virtual connections linking VMs to each other and to network and storage resources.

To assure compatibility with legacy networking hardware, Xsigo has collaborated with leading vendors, including Cisco, Brocade, and Juniper Networks.

Simultaneously, Xsigo also announced the Server Fabric Alliance, an initiative to bring together technologies that let customers create and deploy fully functional data center architectures in minutes rather than months, Xsigo claims.

Initial partners in the alliance include Blue Coat Systems, Infoblox, Nimble Storage, Nimbus Data Systems, SolidFire, TrendMicro, Vyatta, and Zenoss.

"The pieces have finally come together to quickly configure fully functional virtual data centers, entirely in software, without the need for pulling cables or configuring switch ports," Bruce Fingles, Xsigo's vice president of product management, support, and alliances, said in a statement.

"IT managers can now deploy a complete data center, with virtual appliances, virtualized storage, optimized servers and virtual data center I/O, as easily as they can draw a data center Visio diagram," Fingles added.

The Xsigo Server Fabric solution consists of several components, such as the Xsigo I/O Director and Xsigo XMS Management Software.

Also coming is a software upgrade package called the SFS 1.0 Server Fabric Suite, which provides host drivers, plug-in management software, and operating software. The SFS 1.0 Server Fabric Suite is slated to ship in December and will be licensed at $1,000 per physical host.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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This article was originally published on August 19, 2011