Brace yourselves. You are going to hear more and more about I/O virtualization, as well as storage and network virtualization, over the coming months. As server virtualization and the cloud continue to expand throughout the IT community, the I/O bottleneck will continue to surface and present itself as a challenge to be solved.
VirtenSys introduced a new storage virtualization switch that virtualizes storage controllers and disk drives, creating a way for datacenters to quickly add I/O resources and remove I/O bottlenecks. The company's new I/O Virtualization (IOV) switch expands its support to Ethernet, SAS/SATA, and Fibre Channel technologies, as well as to storage infrastructures such as direct attached storage (DAS) and storage area networks (SAN).
VirtenSys IOV switches create what the company calls virtualized I/O clouds. These are essentially where server I/O resources are pooled, consolidated, and dynamically allocated by datacenter administrators in an on-demand fashion based on the application's needs.
The company said that IOV switches provide servers connected to the I/O cloud with full-connectivity bandwidth to the corporate network and storage infrastructures. The switch also eliminates multiple layers of aggregation switches, I/O adapters, disk drives, and cables that can be expensive and complicated to manage.
The storage virtualization IOV switch now virtualizes the LSI MegaRAID Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and shares them between multiple physical servers, without changing the servers, operating systems, applications, HBAs, or device drivers. The SAS/SATA disk drives are also consolidated inside the switches and allocated between the connected servers.
VirtenSys claims that the IOV switch reduces datacenter operational expenses, improves I/O utilization to greater than 80 percent, enhances throughput, decreases equipment costs, and reduces I/O power consumption by more than 60 percent. Additionally, the company claims deploying IOV switches and setting up virtual I/O clouds is totally transparent to servers, networks, and management processes, which means you can protect your existing IT infrastructure investments and speed up the migration toward new usage models such as cloud computing.
The I/O virtualization market is still taking shape and defining itself. But that hasn't stopped a host of players joining this space along with VirtenSys such as DataCore, Xsigo, NextIO, and Neterion, to name but a few. As server virtualization and the cloud continue to mature, so too will the I/O virtualization market.