Data centers

07:37 AM
David Hill
David Hill

Virsto’s Storage Hypervisor Enables Storage to Play Nicely with Server Virtualization

On the whole, server virtualization has been a blessing due to physical machine to logical machine consolidation that leads to better system and CPU utilization and attendant improved IT cost economics. But servers are only part of broader interlocked “systems” of hardware components (including networks and storage) and software (including operating systems and applications) that must work in harmony together. And any change in one component (in this case, servers) may cause complica

Still, IT organizations have not given up the dream of VDI. A study commissioned by Virsto showed that 67% of the respondents plan to engage in a VDI project within the next 12 months and that 54% have already started a pilot or deployed a virtual desktop project. On the downside, the survey showed that 46% of VDI projects are stalled due to unacceptable user performance and project cost overruns.

Now, as a rhetorical question, why do you think that Virsto sponsored the survey? Right: to demonstrate the magnitude of a problem for which they have a solution! Think of what Virsto brings to the table in a highly virtualized (thousands of virtual desktops) environment. Yes, the ability to use space wisely using Virsto vDisks and vPool (keeping the costs down) and the ability to get the necessary performance (a vLog which transforms random I/Os into more performance-friendly sequential I/Os), which overcomes any potential user response time performance objections. In other words, the Virsto Storage Hypervisor takes the pain out of one of IT’s thorniest current problems.

Mesabi Musings
Server virtualization is generally seen as a boon, but the catch (which probably has slowed the adoption of server virtualization in some cases) is that these projects often result in new problems with storage capacity utilization and performance due to the physical server trying to use its limited resources to handle a much heavier randomized I/O workload. The solution to the problem has been a Hobson’s choice (between unpalatable alternatives): overprovisioning storage or accepting less performance than necessary. Rather than accept either of these alternatives, some IT organizations have slowed down their implementations of server virtualization.

To combat these challenges, Virsto has developed a storage hypervisor that works closely with server hypervisors at the physical host level and on down to primary storage, thus eliminating the need for an unpalatable Hobbesian choice. The planned result is performance that meets users’ expectations, use of storage capacity in a way that better meets budget expectations and improved management administration benefits, such as easier provisioning of storage. The Virsto approach does this in a non-disruptive manner to both the server virtualization infrastructure and the storage infrastructure. Introducing one technology server virtualization may lead to unexpected problems, but what one technology can create, another technology can solve, and in this case that is what Virsto appears to have achieved.

At the time of publication, Virsto is not a client of David Hill and the Mesabi Group.

David Hill is principal of Mesabi Group LLC, which focuses on helping organizations make complex IT infrastructure decisions simpler and easier to understand. He is the author of the book "Data Protection: Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance." View Full Bio
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