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Xsigo Virtualizes Network Connectivity

It’ll connect to anything from anything & is supposed to ‘do for cloud infrastructure what server virtualization did for servers

In a move that could cut into aspirin sales, Xsigo Systems has developed a virtualized Server Fabric meant to save a whole lot of people a whole lot of screwing around mapping paths, assigning IP addresses, configuring switches, switch ports and VLANs and pulling cables just to connect a virtual machine to some network resource.

See, it does in a click what can take days doing by hand and enables end-to-end network connections from VMs to servers, networks, storage and other VMs by virtue of a private virtual interconnect.

The widgetry is advertised as "the industry's first fully virtualized infrastructure for cloud-optimized data centers."

It'll connect to anything from anything and is supposed to "do for cloud infrastructure what server virtualization did for servers."

According to Xsigo marketing VP John Toor, the only people who aren't going to like it are legacy switch and port-based vendors Cisco, Brocade and Juniper since it'll cut into their sales.

Yankee Group analyst Zeus Kerravala says, "Of the fundamental data center building blocks - servers, storage and the network connectivity that ties it all together - only connectivity remains as it was 20 years ago, locked to an inflexible and inefficient switch and port-based management model. The cloud computing era places demands on data center infrastructure that cannot be met through traditional networking technologies."

Done Xsigo's way, services are supposed to get to market 10 times faster, delivered at guaranteed levels of performance and seamlessly scaled to a thousand physical hosts at 50% lower cost of operation with 70% less infrastructure.

The widgetry involves a software upgrade to Xsigo's I/O Director, the company's black box appliance for connecting any server to any network and any storage plus its drag-and-drop XMS Management Software and Xsigo Fabric Extenders.

The upgrade, which won't be available until December, is called the SFS 1.0 Server Fabric Suite and includes host drivers, a management software plug-in and operating software. Each host needs a driver and all hosts have to be connected to an I/O Director. The extenders can connect 250 hosts to an I/O Director and four of them can service 1,000 physical hosts with 64,000 virtual connections linking virtual machines to each other and to network and storage resources at speeds of up to a zippy 40 Gbps.

Toor says compared with a 1G infrastructure, Server Fabric delivers  19x faster vMotion (virtual machine migration),  30x faster backups,  12x faster database queries and  40x faster file transfers.

There's also a way to set up what is effectively a cordoned-off virtual private data center for high-value services.

An I/O Director generally goes for $25,000 and they usually go in pairs. SFS 1.0 Server Fabric Suite will be licensed on a per-physical-host basis at a list price of $1,000 a host. Cards will run $600.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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