The start of VMworld 2012 and the biggest Virtualization conference of the year is less than two weeks away and the surge of marketing emails have started to arrive about all the new and exciting offerings that the venders and 3rd party companies are planning on showing off at VMworld. This is one of the things I enjoy the most about attending these conferences, seeing what’s new and to see the direction of the trends in virtualization. At last year’s show, VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas, the trend that I saw was the advancements in storage and storage virtualization. My prediction at the end of VMworld 2011 was that 2012 would be the year for the network virtualization and or software defined networking.
Coming on the heels of VMware’s acquisition of Nicira, Oracle announced today that it is acquiring network virtualization vendor Xsigo Systems for an undisclosed amount.
Running VMware on legacy infrastructure is like driving a Ferrari on a gravel road. If you look at what is run in most production VMware environments today, the only really new things in the environment is VMware vSphere, and possibly some new monitoring, security and backup tools. We have barely started to reinvent everything that needs to be reinvented in order to properly take virtualization, IT as a Service and public clouds to their logical and most beneficial conclusions.
There seem to be three styles of IO Virtualization (IOV) taking place within the virtual environment. At VMworld, the IO Virtualization companies were out and talking to people about their wares, products, and approaches to IO Virtualization. These three methods are:
* Converged Network Adapters used within Cisco UCS, HP Matrix, etc.
* Attached IOV top of rack devices such as the Xsigo Device
* PCIe Extenders
Each of these provide unique benefits to your virtual environment but which to use? First, we need to know what each of these approaches brings to the table.
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Just like a Telco, the ‘last mile’ of Virtualization is often the most difficult, I would say even more difficult than the initial phase of virtualization. What do I mean by the ‘last mile’?
The 5-10% of systems that you have LEFT to virtualize.
These systems are your most highly used, too X to virtualize, the most complex to migrate, dependent upon specific hardware, or travel around the world (such as laptops and other hand held devices). These issues are also highly political as well.
Those of you who attended VMworld this year will remember the stack of servers and storage on display happily serving VM’s to the vistors, exhibitors and Staff at the conference, well one of the key components of that stack was provided by Xsigo. Their product the I/O Director offers signficant savings in large environments by effectively virtualising the I/O stack. I am not going to go into the ins and outs of I/O virtualization in this article. Well it now appears that they are expanding their partnerships.
I/O virtualization prominent at VMworld 2009. Whether it can displace Cisco at the top of the rack remains to be seen.