Xsigo IT Survey Reveals Need for I/O Virtualization in Today’s Virtualized Data Center

October 21, 2009
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Server I/O remains a big challenge in virtualized environments. The results of an interesting online survey recently done by Xsigo Systems highlights these challenges. They show that users continue to suffer I/O bottlenecks, I/O related outages and spend too much time on I/O issues and cable maintenance.  This comes as no surprise as the consolidation brought by server virtualization puts even more demands on I/O infrastructures. In our article on I/O virtualization we highlighted emerging vendors at VMworld 2009 that address these issues – particularly cabling and I/O related outages.

Given the potential cost savings, higher asset utilization, and performance and availability improvements of these emerging technologies. It is clear that I/O is going to be virtualized and that it will happen rather quickly.

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Xsigo IT Survey Reveals Need for Virtual I/O in Today’s Virtualized Data Center

SAN JOSE, Calif. , October 20, 2009 – Xsigo Systems, the leader in data center I/O virtualization, today announced the results of a recent technology survey where IT managers from eighty-five blue chip corporations — including Deloitte & Touche, JPM Chase, Kawasaki, Lockheed Martin, Qwest, Savvis, The World Bank Group, Toyota, Caltrans, and Verizon — disclosed they have encountered major data center connectivity challenges in the past twelve months.

Xsigo recently hosted a live webcast where 106 IT managers voluntarily gathered to learn more about virtual I/O in the data center setting.Eighty-five of the attendees responded to survey questions regarding server connectivity. Of the respondents, 92% indicated they have deployed virtualization in their data center.

Over fifty percent of respondents reported an I/O-related issue during the previous 12 months. The responses revealed that top areas of concern for those who reported issues included I/O bottlenecks (49%), server lacked needed I/O (44%), and I/O related outages (41%).

I/O Issues

I/O Issues

IT Managers also revealed the types of server I/O they were currently using. The answers indicate the increasing diversity of connectivity types that IT managers must now contend with, a problem that is becoming more severe as newer standards gain acceptance while co-existing with older connectivity types.

Types of Server I/O used

Types of Server I/O used

Results of an earlier survey conducted by Xsigo indicated that virtualization users typically need anywhere from 7 to 16 I/O connections per server, a requirement that drives up both cost and complexity. This requirement is expected to grow as users capitalize on the enhanced capabilities of vSphere, the newest generation of VMware virtualization software that adds more I/O bandwidth capacity and also includes new fault tolerance features. Both capabilities increase connectivity requirements, further increasing the quantity and performance loading of server connections.

Xsigo virtual I/O addresses these issues by allowing up to 64 server connections to be accommodated with only one cable to the device. Those connections can be either Fibre Channel, iSCSI, 1G Ethernet, or 10G Ethernet, allowing IT managers to accommodate all I/O types – both now and in the future – with a single, wire-once physical link.

“This survey shows that server I/O is an important problem, especially as virtual machines replace traditional servers,” said Jon Toor, Xsigo’s vice president of marketing.  “More virtual machines mean increased bandwidth requirements and more physical connections per server. Xsigo virtual I/O eliminates the limitations of physical connectivity, allowing IT managers to connect from any server to any network or storage, over any physical transport, without re-cabling, and without having to visit the data center.”

Nick Allen (8 Posts)

Nick is a veteran storage industry guru with more than 40 years' experience in information technology who now consults on best practices in information storage at The Tod Point Group which he founded. Previously, Nick spent 20 years with Gartner Inc. as Vice President and Research Director where he focused on information storage, storage networking and storage management. Prior to Gartner, he was a senior management consultant specializing in system planning, capacity and storage performance management. Previously, he worked in IT management, operating systems, and business and scientific applications. He also brings his storage expertise to bear at Wikibon.

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