Feeds

Where does WAN acceleration by virtual machine actually get us?

A tour of the estate

High performance access to file storage

Opinion NetEx is claiming its virtual machine-based WAN acceleration product, HyperIP, supports more software applications than any other similar product. Software like this is taking us towards a virtual mainframe environment.

NetEx's VM-based WAN acceleration converges WAN optimisation and servers. It also complicates the server software estate.

Data acceleration across a wide area network is mostly carried out these days by appliances that sit on the IP link and reduce TCP/IP chatter while also reducing the amount of data sent across the wire. NetEx, Riverbed and Silver Peak all have boxes and technologies that do this.

One NetEx product is NetEx/IP. Like the other two technologies it is software running in an embedded server. NetEx took the software functionality and launched it in October 2003 as HyperIP software that could run on a Linux/X86 server. HyperIP was packaged as a VMware virtual machine (VM) in the first quarter of last year.

The latest NetEx announcement says that the VM version of HyperIP works with more third-party apps than anyone else in the WAN optimising game. Supported apps include ones from all the main providers of disaster recovery, data migration and replication software, such as Dell/EqualLogic, EMC, including Data Domain, FalconStor, Hewlett-Packard/LeftHand, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Network Appliance and lots of others.

NetEx says: "Virtualizing applications for VMware eliminates the need for specialized appliances."

So let's envisage a set of physical servers that have been virtualised and run an application software estate. Whenever these apps need to squirt data across a WAN they set up a connection and pass it through the network infrastructure to the far end of the link. Unbeknownst to them a stealthy interloping appliance would squat on the link and massage their data communications so the far end receiver got the data quicker and with less network bandwidth required.

The data centre management structure for this was, in theory, simple. Application people looked after the apps, server people the servers, networking people looked after the networking while storage people looked after the storage. These boundaries are blurring. The NetEx HyperIP VM collapses a network appliance's functionality into the VMware server estate.

HP's Left Hand Networks VSA product runs a SAN storage application as a VM. So too does DataCore's Virtual SAN Appliance software. The storage array controller functionality becomes, like the HyperIP functionality, just another system app in the VMware server universe. Cisco has developed a software Ethernet switch that runs as a VM. Here are three examples of previously separate networking and storage technologies, running on their own dedicated hardware, that have their software functionality extracted and turned into VMs.

In the VMware universe everything is an app. We are seeing suppliers thinking that, where their product has software functionality running on a dedicated server, X86 hardware can do it faster and cheaper than dedicated hardware, unless that is you use specially developed ASICs and FPGA chips to accelerate past current X86 hardware limits; BlueArc and its filers for example.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
Amazon reveals its Google-killing 'R3' server instances
A mega-memory instance that never forgets
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.