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Xsigo Doubles Virtualized I/O To 40 Gbps

I/O Director, previously limited to 20 Gigabits per second, boosts servers' ability to handle increasing numbers of virtual machines.

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The 40 Gbps announcement Tuesday moves Xsigo to the opposite end of the virtualized I/O spectrum from the stance it took in August. At that time, it said it could handle Fibre Channel over Ethernet traffic, or 10 Gbps Ethernet, via a standard link a server's Ethernet port.

The 10 Gbps speed represented a reduction in its 20 Gbps Infiniband capabilities, but it connected the I/O Director directly to the new servers coming off manufacturer's assembly lines with a 10 Gbps Ethernet switch on the motherboard. In the past, Xsigo required pricey, specialized network interface cards and host bus adapters produced specifically for I/O Director. With the August announcement, converged traffic could be moved directly off the virtualized server with no additional network device expense.

Xsigo opened up the bandwidth to Infiniband's maximum capability of 40 Gbps with Tuesday's announcement.

Toor said 12-15 VMs per physical server used to represent a heavily virtualized host. Now the rule of thumb comes closer to 20 VMs per server, he said. "They're pushing I/O harder. The objective is to get as high (as many VMs) as they can," he said.

"We're the only ones using Infiniband in the (I/O hardware/software device) market at this time," he claimed.

The XMS management interface to I/O Director is now in its 3.0 version, with a number of new features for large-scale server management. A virtual infrastructure manager can define connectivity to a particular type of virtual machine as a template, then apply the template to a set of servers that meet its definition, such as 20 web servers or 10 Microsoft Exchange servers. I/O Director then establishes all the virtual connections. It allows the manager to view the connections to thousands of VMs from a single pane of glass. And it allows managers to monitor I/O activity, checking for bottlenecks and identifying underutilized resources.

XMS 3.0 also lets a manager migrate VM connectivity identities from one site to another to help speedily restore a set of VMs to operation in the event of a data center failure. The XMS interface can be accessed from an iPad and server I/O can be adjusted with drag-and-drop finger controls.

Creating and managing large sets of x86 servers, heavily virtualized, is considered one of the attributes of a private cloud inside the enterprise. The additions and enhancements to I/O Director are meant to further support the creation of private clouds, Toor said.

I/O Director VP780 and VP560 models with 40 Gbps speed will be available in December and will be priced at $35,000. The XMS 3.0 management interface is available in October priced at $10,000; one unit can manage three I/O Director appliances.