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Emulex Tunes Up I/O Monitoring And Analysis Solution

The new 2.0 release of OneCommand Vision delivers increased scalability, usability improvements, custom alerting, and added operating system and hypervisor support, says Emulex. The software, which addresses the proverbial "blind spot" in the data center--namely, I/O--analyzes end-to-end I/O latency, various protocol events and other critical performance metrics, says Emulex VP Shaun Walsh. "That has really been the key, understanding the latency; the more you eliminate latency, the easier it is to achieve SLAs [service level agreements]."

Emulex, better known for its hardware-- including Fibre Channel host bus adapters, network interface cards, converged network adapters, controllers, embedded bridges and switches--rolled out OneCommand Vision in 2009. Hundreds of companies, primarily service providers and hosting companies, adopted version 1.0, which was targeted at the Microsoft ecosystem. With the addition of Oracle and Solaris support, demand is expected to climb, says Walsh.

Expected to ship this quarter with an entry-level configuration starting at $28,000, Version 2.0 provides an "application view" of performance availability, end-to-end performance management that covers 100% of the I/O path. I/O SLA management is provided by real-world performance baseline and availability metrics that ensure the specific needs of each application are met after the storage infrastructure is migrated. There are five feature modules for I/O management: I/O Latency (to collect, trend, analyze and present end-to-end latency information specific to each I/O path), I/O Profile (to collect, map and present I/O characteristics specific to each I/O path), I/O Analyzer (to collect and present protocol event information, including SCSI and transport information), Intelligent Alerts (to detect and resolve issues) and I/O Reports (to provide a data center-wide view of pertinent I/O network information).

Through the company's Analytics and Correlation Engine (ACE), users can detect performance issues and relate them back to infrastructure hot spots and protocol errors by combining historical I/O availability and performance data, exposing potential oversubscription in the server, network and storage domains. In addition to Oracle Enterprise Linux (OEL) and Solaris 10, the new release supports Microsoft Windows Hyper-V and VMware ESX 4.1 and 5.0.

The addition of Oracle and Solaris support should help drive interest in this product, especially when you consider the mission-critical apps that are typically running on Solaris or are being supported by an Oracle database, says Bob Laliberte, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. Starting with Windows made sense given the rise in server virtualization, says Laliberte, who adds that he expects increased adoption for that environment as VM density increases during the next 18 months and the I/O blender really gets going.

According to ESG research, 30% of enterprise respondents anticipate having 25 or more VMs per physical machine. "Getting back to Oracle and Solaris, the ability to provide additional insight into the performance of these applications should be welcomed. Think about the firms on Wall Street looking for any advantage they can get. A key to the expanded adoption will be to help raise awareness of its capabilities."

Typically, vendors have not focused on the adapters as a source of information, relying instead on hypervisors, servers, SAN switches and storage arrays, says Laliberte. That means most management products will pull information from one or potentially several of those environments (so all those vendors have a management offering covering their area of expertise). "However, the technology in these cards has advanced dramatically over the past few years and can provide valuable information. Visibility into the I/O path will become even more essential as VM density increases, mission-critical apps are moved into virtual environments and even to help them move.”

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