Feeds

Xsigo gooses I/O virtualizer

40 Gb/sec of InfiniBandwidth

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Hot on the heels of its introduction of two Ethernet-based I/O virtualization director switches Xsigo Systems will roll out a line of I/O director switches based on 40 Gb/sec, quad-data rate InfiniBand silicon.

The original VP780 I/O Director was based on dual-data rate (20Gb/sec) InfiniBand networking. The I/O director replaced multiple Ethernet server and Fibre Channel storage links coming out of the back end of blade or rack servers with a single, full-duplex 20 Gb/sec link back to the director switch.

This director switch then linked out to other servers or storage. The software running on the VP780 I/O Director could provide up to 64 virtual network interface cards or host bus adapters for storage to a single server and change them on the fly as workloads changed.

Xsigo launched a scaled down VP560 I/O Director in May; both the VP560 and VP780 switches required companies to install an InfiniBand host bus adapter on the server and use InfiniBand cabling back to the I/O director.

Because lots of companies don't want InfiniBand (despite its benefits on several fronts), in late August Xsigo introduced tweaked versions of these two virtual I/O directors that supported Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet links to and from servers. This meant the Xsigo switches could plug into any existing server's on-board Ethernet ports and virtualize those links - no extra hardware required.

The new VP780q and VP560q I/O Directors are based on QDR InfiniBand chips that Xsigo buys from Mellanox. Both directors offer 20 ports out to servers, with the difference between the two machines being how many I/O modules can be added to the box.

The VP780s (both the DDR and QDR speeds) come in a 4U chassis and have 15 I/O modules. The slower IB switch has 24 ports to servers and the faster one has 20 ports. The VP560s have the same number of IB ports, but sport only four I/O modules for linking out to external networks and storage. Each I/O module has four Gigabit Ethernet, one 10 Gigabit Ethernet, two 4Gb Fibre Channel ports, and an SSL encryption offload module.

So why do people need virtualized I/O switches that have 40Gb/sec of bandwidth? Because they are starting to get serious about server virtualization.

"We're seeing people get really serious about getting all of their applications virtualized," vice president of marketing Jon Toor explained. "This is a real big change from a year ago."

There are two things driving up bandwidth needs. For one thing, it is not uncommon these days to see 20 virtual machine hosts per physical server, and running a decent mix of I/O heavy and I/O light workloads, these 20 virtual machines can saturate a 20Gb/sec link from the server out to the I/O director when supporting both server and storage networking needs.

The other thing driving the need for 40Gb/sec links between servers and the I/O directors sold by Xsigo is customers are starting to virtualize I/O heavy workloads like Oracle databases and Exchange email servers.

With the bandwidth available in the new VP780q and VP560q I/O Directors, Toor says that companies can cram more than 50 virtual machines on a single server host and have enough bandwidth to keep them fed and applications running smoothly. That full-duplex QDR InfiniBand link is fat enough and fast enough to support 15,000 Netflix HD video streams at the same time.

Xsigo Systems VP780 and VP560 I/O Directors

The original VP780q (left) and VP560q (right) I/O Directors using QDR InfiniBand.

The VP780q and VP560q I/O Directors will be available in December, and they carry a premium price compared to the 20 Gb/sec units they replace. The VP560q costs $35,000 in a base configuration, compared to $20,000 for the VP560. Twice the bandwidth and 83 per cent of the ports for a little less than twice the price.

The VP780q will sell for $45,000, compared to $30,000 for the prior VP780. The VP780 Ethernet I/O Director costs $45,000 and the VP560 Ethernet I/O Director costs $35,000. These latter machines sport 32 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and the varying degrees of I/O modules.

In addition to the new InfiniBand virtual I/O director switches, Xsigo is rolling out XMS 3.0, a new release of its management console for the directors. With this iteration of the XMS console, network and server administrators can groups of servers or groups of connections and manage them as a single unit instead of dealing with connections on a port-by-port basis.

With hundreds to thousands of servers in a cloudy pool of boxes, such groupings are the only way of managing connections. XMS 3.0 creates connectivity templates that standardize the virtual network interfaces so they can be created and changed all at once.

The GUI in the tool allows for pools of connections that are identical to be viewed as a pool, and performance of the I/O links can be monitored as a pool but also allow for drilling down into individual connections to locate performance bottlenecks. XMS 3.0 is available now and costs $10,000. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
Disaster Recovery upstart joins DR 'as a service' gang
Quorum joins the aaS crowd with DRaaS offering
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.