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VMware Buys Virsto: Is It About Storage Hypervisors?

VMware has announced that it is acquiring the IO performance optimization and acceleration software vendor Virsto

Yesterday VMware announced that it is acquiring the IO performance optimization and acceleration software vendor Virsto for an undisclosed amount.

Some may know Virsto due to their latching and jumping onto the Storage Hypervisor bandwagon as part of storage virtualization and virtual storage. On the other hand, some may know Virsto for their software that plugs into server virtualization Hypervisor such as VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V. Then there are all of those who either did not or still don't know of Virsto or their solutions yet they need to learn about it.

Unlike virtual storage arrays (VSAa), or virtual storage appliances, or storage virtualization software that aggregates storage, the Virsto software address the IO performance aggravation caused by aggregation.

Keep in mind that the best IO is the IO that you do not have to do. The second best IO is the one that has the least impact and that is cost effective. A common approach, or preached best practice by some vendors server virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) that result in IO bottlenecks is to throw more SSD or HDD hardware at the problem.

server virtualization aggregation causing aggravation

Turns out that the problem with virtual machines (VMs) is not just aggregation (consolidation) causing aggravation, its also the mess of mixed applications and IO profiles. That is where IO optimization and acceleration tools come into play that are plugged into applications, file systems, operating systems, hypervisors or storage appliances.

In the case of Virsto (read more about their solution here), their technology plugs into the hypervisor (e.g. VMware vSphere/ESX or Hyper-V) to group and optimize IO operations.

By using SSD as a persistent cache, tools such as Virsto can help make better use of underlying storage systems including HDD and SSD, while also removing the aggravation as a result of aggregation.

What will be interesting to watch is to see if VMware continues to support other hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V or close the technology to VMware only.

It will also be interesting to see how VMware and their parent EMC can leverage Virsto technology to complement virtual SANs as well as VSAs and underlying hardware from VFcache to storage arrays with SSD and SSD appliances as opposed to compete with them.

With the Virsto technology now part of VMware, hopefully there will be less time on talking about storage hypervisors and more around server IO optimization and enablement to create broader awareness for the technology.

Congratulations to VMware (and EMC) along with Virsto.

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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Cheers Gs

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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