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The A-to-Z of VMware suitors

Why virtually all storage vendors are so keen

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Isilon

Its IQ arrays are VMware-certified, and it says its scale-out NAS arrays are far easier to manage than block-access storage with LUNS, etc. The IQ Series is also much easier to use than NetApp storage, with Isilon quoting a customer as saying: "NetApp was a management nightmare. We had to redesign our product to support multiple NAS locations, and we still had fragmentation problems. We were constantly moving data from filer A to filer B and back again. With Isilon, we are able to scale one large volume.”

With the launch of ONTAP 8, Isilon is pretty firmly focussed on NetApp as its main competition.

Isilon's sales VP in Europe, Mark Stevens, says that iSCSI storage access is under review at Isilon and also says that the firm isn't ready to talk about solid state storage yet.

NetApp

NetApp has announced a $1 Million Virtualization Challenge contest to award NetApp storage hardware, software, and services to a qualifying new customer to reduce the company's storage usage by 50 per cent in a VMware environment.

NetApp guarantees customers that they will use 50 per cent less storage in their virtual environments with NetApp compared to traditional storage. It is now taking the guarantee a step further by offering up to $1 million of NetApp technology and services to a new NetApp customer to further prove NetApp's efficiency in VMware environments. An independent third party will benchmark and measure this.

NetApp has also announced Virtual Storage Console, another plug-in for vCenterServer that enables IT administrators to manage and monitor NetApp storage in vSphere 4 environments.

SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure integrates with VMware environments and automates data protection polices for NetApp Snapshot and SnapMirror features. Customers get virtual machine backup and recovery and can reduce backup time using NetApp Snapshot. Additionally, customers can instantly recover a datastore, virtual machine, virtual machine disk, or an individual file within a virtual guest.

Rapid Cloning Utility is a vCenter plug-in that simplifies the way administrators clone VMware virtual machines and datastores. In conjunction with NetApp FlexClone, a single image can be replicated hundreds of times in minutes while using almost no additional storage capacity.

Neverfail

Neverfail 6.0 integrates local high availability and remote disaster recovery, across any combination of physical, virtual, and cloud-based servers. The company says it is the only solution that keeps users working even when multiple software applications go down.

It include Neverfail Tertiary, which enables a trio of servers to be configured to ensure that local server failures as well as site-wide issues, such as floods, hurricanes, or power outages, will not bring the business down. It's roughly like a sort pf RAID 6 approach since users are protected against two server failures.

Neverfail WANSmart adds deduplication, Neverfail's own, to the replication of Neverfail data from one site to another. The company claims as much as 30 times reduction in bandwidth can be achieved, avoiding costly network upgrades and the use of special WAN acceleration hardware.

Neverfail is also announcing vAppHA, which continuously monitors and analyzes the health and state of Tier-1 applications running within virtual machines. If it detects availability or performance issues with applications, such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server databases, it uses vSphere application programming interfaces (APIs) to restart the virtual machine or migrate it to a different host using VMotion.

It automatically works with vSphere to switch application services over to other servers to avoid application downtime when an application failure or outage is detected.

Neverfail vAppHA will be available in Q4 2009.

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