Storage Networks Meet Virtual Ones

Virtual environments get disaster recovery, data protection, and SAN connectivity

January 25, 2008

4 Min Read
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Virtual environments share all the data protection requirements of their original physical counterparts, including SAN connectivity, and a growing number of suppliers aim to help.

This week alone, several vendors announced various levels of data protection for virtual networks, including the following:

  • Emulex The vendor announced today that it's worked with Cisco and VMware to integrate its 4-Gbit/s Fibre Channel HBAs, Cisco's Fibre Channel switches, and VMware's ESX Server 3.5. The offering deploys Emulex's technique of adding firmware to its HBAs that enables them to interact with virtual machines. Emulex is also leveraging N Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), which essentially fences off one virtual machine's storage from another.

    "Implementing Emulex's LightPulse Virtual HBA technology with industry-standard NPIV support is a necessary step in our ongoing transition to a virtualized data center environment," said Levi Spears, SAN and Windows system administrator for online shopping firm Home Interiors & Gifts, in a prepared statement. "With the full integration of Emulex Virtual HBA technology within VMware ESX Server, we now have an easy route to implement SAN management best practices with capabilities such as zoning, array LUN masking and mapping across all of our virtual machines."

    Emulex claims the solution is available now to interested customers.

  • DataCore This vendor has certified its SANmelody and SANsymphony products for Citrix XenServer environments. Storage virtualization goes hand-in-hand with server, desktop and application delivery virtualization,” said George Teixeira, DataCore's CEO, in a prepared statement.

    DataCore's products, which divvy up standard AMD/Intel or virtual servers into pools of disk storage, now can communicate directly with the applications running in Citrix networks based on virtualization from XenSource, the company Citrix purchased for its virtualization technology. XenSource was bought by Citrix for $500 million in October 2007.

  • Neverfail Group This company, which offers replication software for Exchange and other Windows-based apps, unveiled a version of its software that runs with VMware's VirtualCenter -- the product that contains administrative elements for managing a VMware Infrastructure.Neverfail says its new software, which costs $10,000 per pair of servers, specifically protects elements of VMware VirtualCenter like VMotion and VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS), which otherwise might be interrupted during a failure.

    "While individual VMware ESX Server hosts and virtual machines are unaffected by unplanned downtime, the overall productivity of administrators can certainly be impacted," stated Parag Patel, VP of alliances at VMware. "Neverfail's new product offering can be used to protect VMware VirtualCenter."

    There are currently a number of products that help back up and replicate VMware environments, including VirtualCenter. Both Double-Take Software and SteelEye claim to offer competing solutions.

  • Kidaro The desktop virtualization supplier announced its Desktop DR solution, software that allows IT managers to put virtual desktops on DVDs, USB drives, or Web servers, so they can provide users with ready access in case a workstation fails. Kidaro's pitch is that the virtual desktop is portable and does not come from software on a central server.

    "It costs more to rebuild a user's computer than it does to simply replace the hardware," says Kevin Brown, Kidaro CEO. "People have plenty of computers, that's not the problem. But if an employee's laptop goes down and they use little Johnny's gaming machine to dial into the VPN and pass along all the viruses, you've got a problem."

    Instead, he suggests, Kidaro keeps things local and safe by allowing a USB stick to reconfigure a computer without the user having to remotely access a new setup.

These are just the latest in a long series of announcements about the marriage of virtualized servers, applications, and storage networks. Other developments, such as the alliance between Virtual Iron and FalconStor announced earlier this month, herald even more products and services.

What's more, competition among virtualization suppliers, highlighted in Microsoft's sweep of releases, also made this week, signal the start of endless permutations of alliances in word if not in deed. Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)

  • Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS)

  • DataCore Software Corp.

  • Double-Take Software Inc. (Nasdaq: DBTK)

  • Emulex Corp. (NYSE: ELX)

  • Kidaro

  • Neverfail Group Ltd.

  • VMware Inc.

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