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Virsto's Multihypervisor Solution To Transform VM Storage

Against the backdrop of VMware and friends' "post-PC" product blitz at VMworld, Virsto Software has announced a new release of its VM (virtual machine)-centric storage hypervisor software for VMware vSphere. Currently in beta, and due to ship next quarter, Virsto for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) vSphere Edition is "the industry’s first multihypervisor solution" to address the storage challenges specific to virtualized environments. Initially launched in April, the software, priced at $2,800 per host, can reduce overall storage costs for VDI projects by 70% or more, says the company.

According to a recent report from IDC, ("IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Desktop Virtualization 2011 Vendor Analysis)," the desktop virtualization market will make significant gains in both revenues and total customer count well into the second half of the decade. "Customers are intrigued by the possibility of a better desktop management model and the operational savings desktop virtualization could deliver," says Ian Song, senior research analyst, Enterprise Virtualization Software. Only Citrix was placed in the Leaders category, while VMware was one of seven vendors, including Microsoft, considered to be Major Players. Song adds that in the next 12 to 24 months, desktop virtualization technologies will move beyond just managing PCs to become a solution that can provide a holistic management paradigm addressing many different facets of end user computing.

VDI was very popular at VMworld. VMware announced VMware View 5, which will deliver protocol enhancements that provide as much as 75% bandwidth improvement over LAN and WAN connections, advanced support of 3-D graphics, scalable unified communications integration for voice and video media services with industry leaders, including Avaya and Mitel, and virtual desktop personalization with integrated persona management. The virtualization leader also announced a partnership with Symantec to deliver desktop-as-a-service solutions.

Virsto believes its approach disrupts traditional storage in the same way that VMware’s hypervisor transformed the server market, according to a new blog from CEO Mark Davis. "The industry is recognizing that the storage side of virtual computing needs to catch up with the server side evolution that has occurred over the last 10 years. Specifically, we need a hypervisor for storage just like we have a hypervisor for the server computing infrastructure."

The company's new solution enhances vSphere by delivering high performance, with storage thin provisioning and simplified, self-service bulk provisioning of VMs, all managed through integration with the vCenter management interface. According to Virsto, vClones consume up to 90% less storage capacity than traditional approaches, I/O performance is significantly improved, back-end storage hardware costs per desktop are reduced by up to 70% or more, and thousands of VDI instances can be provisioned in minutes, while unlimited snapshots and thin-provisioned clones enable projects to easily scale to tens of thousands of virtual desktops.

Simon Bramfitt, desktop virtualization analyst, The Virtualization Practice, says Atlantis Computing's ILIO is the market leader in software-based storage acceleration for desktop virtualization. "ILIO is seeing a lot of success in addressing the price-performance barrier that is slowing VDI deployment, but as a vSphere-only solution, it is limiting for VDI customers that for financial, technical or operational reasons are looking to deploy Hyper-V hosted VDI desktops."

He says as a newcomer to vSphere, Virsto has its work cut out for it to challenge Atlantis, but with a successful Hyper-V solution already in place and an aggressive pricing model to compete against Atlantis, it is primed to do well. "Most importantly, as the number of competing solutions increases, widespread adoption will follow and the overall cost of VDI will fall."

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