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VirtenSys virtualises RAID controllers

Storage controllers and disk drives

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VirtenSys has enabled the sharing of LSI MegaRAID host bus adapters between servers connected to its IOV switch.

Typically a RAID controller will provide RAID protection for a set of disk drives that it controls and represent them to a server. The VirtenSys IOV (I/O Virtualisation) switch is an external PCIe switch that connects to multiple physical servers and virtualises connectors or adaptors, such as Ethernet NICs, plugged into its back end such that they can be shared by these servers.

That switch can now virtualise LSI's MegaRAID adapters and so enable servers to share access to an array of SATA and SAS disk drives controlled by the MegaRAID card. That means that each server's individual MegaRAID-controlled arrays can be consolidated into a single array. This is accessed by each server over its own PCIe bus, which is extended out to the VirtenSys switch, to which the LSI adapter is connected.

Ahmet Houssein, VirtenSys president and CEO, says VirtenSys has "removed the last bastion of dedicated hardware in the server by virtualizing the storage controller and disk drives." The VirtenSys switch already virtualises Intel Ethernet NICs and QLogic Fibre Channel HBAs.

The company says its IOV switches create "virtualised I/O Clouds where servers’ I/O resources are pooled, consolidated, and dynamically allocated on demand based on the applications needs." Their deployment is transparent to servers, networks, and management processes.

With this LSI support VirtenSys enables an individual server's directly-accessed storage (DAS) to become a shared network resource over a PCIe network. The QLogic HBA support virtualises Fibre Channel SAN access amongst servers so that both DAS and SAN resources can be shared out amongst servers without equipping each of them with the requisite adapters and network links. VirtenSys says this inceases data centre resource utilisation and reduces costs. ®

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