Feeds

vSphere 5 takes on HP with virtual storage appliance

Now there is more than one VMware-certified offering

Intelligent flash storage arrays

EMC's VMware unit is taking on HP with a Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA), building a small and medium business mini-SAN from servers' direct-attached storage.

The vSphere 5 launch included the in-house developed VSA, which combines storage directly attached to just three physical servers and combines it into a single (iSCSI) block-access storage pool accessible by apps running in virtual machines (VMs) in these servers. The pool is built up using VSA software running inside virtual machines (VMS) in the three servers, described as clustered by VMware but with no specific interconnect mentioned.

The storage in VSA is protected with synchronous mirroring across the nodes. There is a RAID 10 set-up in each node and RAID 1 across the nodes. If a single VSA node fails, the VSA process fails over to another node – and VMware says that VSA offers up to 99.9 per cent availability.

VSA is managed through vCenter Server and the installation process handles network set up and vSphere high-availability implementation. It also handles the installation and configuration of vCenter Server, vSphere as well as VMware VSA itself.

VMware VSA supports the Storage vMotion movement of apps between servers and to shared storage with no disruption of service access.

An additional limitation, apart from the 3-node cluster maximum, is that the VSA node count and individual server disk capacity cannot be changed once VSA is set up. A future VSA release should remove this restriction.

HP VSA

HP inherited its own VSA (Virtual SAN Appliance) when it bought LeftHand Networks in 2008. It has since extended the P4000 VSA so that it supports Microsoft's Hyper-V. HP's VSA can manage dozens of nodes and it has VAAI integration and a high-availability option, as well as thin provisioning. The data protection levels include Network RAID 5 and 6.

HP says its VSA is, presumably now "was", the only VMware-certified VSA, and it is Microsoft-qualified as an iSCSI SAN.

Other suppliers offering VSA-type functionality include Chelsio, DataCore, FalconStor, Fujitsu/NetApp and StoneFly with Fusion-io.

VMware is now competing with all of these.

VMware and storage arrays

VMware is increasingly taking on storage array controller functionality. The idea is to enable SMB-type customers, who don't have sophisticated storage arrays, to enjoy roughly equivalent functionality, such as array-to-array replication and, in VSA's case, a shared storage array in the first place, by using VMware and its host server's CPU cycles.

VMware will offload this functionality to shared storage arrays if they exist and, because VMware is owned by EMC, should not try to displace these storage arrays by emulating their expensive controller-based functionality with VMware software and cheap JBODs.

This wish to optimise VMware's storage offering with the whole EMC storage offering should limit the VMware VSA competitive affect on HP and other virtual storage appliance suppliers. They will have the Hyper-V VSA market to themselves and can, if they wish, use their VSA offerings to compete with low-end EMC arrays far more than VMware will be able to do so. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.