Virtual I/O at VMworld


It just wouldn't be VMworld without a healthy dose of virtual networking technology.


This year's show sees a new round of solutions optimized for VMware environments, all claiming to improve performance and network scalability while cutting costs through increased server and storage consolidation.


3Leaf Systems unveiled its new VMware-ready V-8000 platform aimed at providing a more flexible I/O environment by eliminating the need for a single adapter for each physical server. The chief benefit here is that you can now use the VMware VirtualCenter as a single management point for tasks like remote provisioning and repurposing of ESX hosts, DRS clusters or individual virtual machines.


Xsigo Systems is placing its emphasis on server interconnect speed. The new version of the VP780 I/O Director doubles the speed of earlier versions to 20 Gbps per server. The package also features enhanced monitoring capabilities, including a single-screen view of everything from the virtual machine to the physical switch port.


Meanwhile, Broadcom sees an opening to extend VMware environments down market by combining its 10 GbE iSCSI HBAs with the converged networking and storage capabilities of its NetXtreme II network interface controller. The two companies are also working together to provide on-chip processing of VMware features like NetQueue and VMDirectPath.


If running multiple Ethernet or Fibre Channel cards on your server doesn't appeal to you, then check out Voltaire's newly VMware-certified Infiniband-based solution, which consolidates connections on a single 20 Gbps adapter. The package consists of the company's Grid Director 2004 or 2012 switch, plus DDR host channel adapters and a unified management software stack.


More than 90 percent of servers out there have yet to be virtualized, so the need for a new I/O infrastructure is probably not a crucial requirement for many of you. But rest assured, as more virtual machines start to vie for limited network resources, virtual I/O will quickly make it to the top of your list.