Virsto Adds XenDesktop to the Mix

Virsto's all-software, VM-centric storage hypervisor got a shot in the arm with the introduction of Virsto for vSphere 2.0, which expands Virsto's vision by adding support for Citrix XenDesktop VDI, upgrading the performance of Tier 1 apps, and improving integration with existing workflows. In addition, version 2.0 offers integrated wizard-based provisioning that the company says provides a 50 percent cut in the cost of storage per VM.

When Virsto began operations in 2010, it initially supported Hyper-V, but brought vSphere into the fold at the beginning of this year in order to capitalize on its dominant market share.

The support for XenDesktop VDI comes at a time when VDI is trying to gain traction by moving beyond previous problems associated with high upfront costs and excessive complexity. Virsto maintains that it comes to the rescue of VDI implementations that have succeeded as pilots, but then faltered as production systems.

In an effort to allay user fears that the Citrix product will upset existing environments, Virsto says the XenDesktop integration "completely preserves the image, image update and image rollback workflows that XenDesktop administrators are already using in Desktop Studio, while delivering higher-performance, space-efficient VDI."

Virsto for vSphere 2.0 strengthens support for Tier 1 apps by providing faster and comprehensive automated recovery options. For example, Virsto infrastructure monitoring is now integrated into vCenter, and the product is enabled to leverage pre-existing vCenter security roles and permissions while taking advantage of Virsto-enhanced workflows.

Virsto's integrated, wizard-based provisioning is designed for cloud-scale deployments , and creates up to 10,000 high-performance, cluster-aware clones , which the company says leads to the 50 percent reduction in the cost of storage per VM.

Virsto for vSphere 2.0 is now available, with subscription-based pricing beginning at $2,500 per TB.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/13/2012 at 12:48 PM3 comments


Cloud Elements Takes PaaS-centric Track

Working on the premise that a PaaS-centric approach to cloud application and development based on external services is superior to a monolithic, IaaS approach. Cloud Elements, a consultancy and application integrator, announced that it has picked VMware and its open-source Cloud Foundry as the basis for its cloud application development offerings.

Cloud Elements, a seven-month-old company with 20 employees and 12 clients, currently offers its clients pre-built elements that integrate common services, reducing the time and expense required to build highly functional cloud apps by 50 percent over traditional, infrastructure-based approaches. Twenty-five services that can be integrated into cloud apps range from e-mail to payments, and include Twilio for text messaging apps, PayPal for payments, Xendesk for customer service and management, and Box.net for file-sharing.

Cloud Elements CEO Mark Geene says his company is the only VMware ecosystem partner to feature such a PaaS-centric service, and he is pleased by VMware's announcement of The Pivotal Initiative, which is headed up by longtime VMware chief and current EMC chief strategy officer Paul Maritz. This initiative, which draws on resources from both EMC and VMware, including VMware's vFabric, Cloud Foundry and Cetas organizations, is being created to "enable a new generation of workloads that can exploit the advancements VMware is driving in the datacenter." In Geene's view, The Pivotal Initiative raises the tide, and boosts the market for PaaS-centric application development.

"The Pivotal Initiative further validates that we have picked the right platform to work with," Geene states. "As a partner in the VMware ecosystem, we are very happy." He is also quick to note that his service, which is evenly split between subscription and traditional license agreements, avoids the kind of ungainly, monolithic, vendor lock-in associated with Microsoft Azure. "Azure can't be deployed and moved to your private cloud," he adds.

By way of contrast, Geene points out that the combination of services, technology and reusable software elements with Cloud Foundry Core makes it possible to build apps that can be "ported instantly to any Cloud Foundry Core-compatible cloud, including multiple public cloud providers and private instances that Cloud Elements installs and manages."

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/12/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


ScaleIO Emerges with Simplified SAN Strategy

ScaleIO has $12 million in venture backing and a master plan for success in the emerging, software-defined storage market. According to CEO Boaz Palgi, his company's ScaleIO ECS 1.1 aggregates all the free capacity of grossly underused internal disks located in application servers and creates a more-for-less SAN that does not require any additional hardware, power, cooling, space, ports host bus adapter cards or dedicated storage resources.

Palgi says that his company, which has some 20 employees and "dozens" of pilot and production installations, is actually redefining the SDS market as the elastic converged storage market, which he says is characterized by the ability of users to build a SAN that is fully elastic and flexible. The CEO rattles off a bounty of benefits that accrue to users, including reduced complexity, lower costs, and shrunken capacity management requirements. With the elimination of disk price arbitrage, he says those lower costs are tied to the use of commoditized application servers using disks that are 10 to 40 times more expensive than those running in external storage arrays.

In this all-server datacenter environment, there is no need to define in advance what hardware will be designated to handle compute or storage, because all hardware can do either or both tasks. This simplified mode of operation also saves money by eliminating the need to train dedicated admins for specific disciplines.

A release from ScaleIO says "With ECS, any administrator can move or remove servers and capacity on demand during I/O operations. The software responds automatically to any infrastructure change and rebalances data accordingly across the grid. ECS helps insure the highest level of enterprise-grade resilience by deploying advanced clustering algorithms whose distributed rebuild capabilities achieve the quickest handling of failures while maintaining maximum storage performance."

ECS can be managed from a command-line interface and an intuitive GUI. The newly released 1.1 is said to natively support all leading Linux distributions and hypervisors, while working agnostically with SSD or HDD, no matter what their type, model or speed. Scale IO says the software linearly scales capacity and performance to thousands of servers.

ScaleIO customer OCF reports it has installed and tested ECS on a cluster with several hundred nodes in a large customer's high-performance computing environment. OCF managing director Julian Fielden says, "The software made previously unused capacity available to the business applications and to a distributed file system while demonstrating impressive performance and resilience."

The company says it has successfully installed ECS in a range of environments, including development and testing, VDI infrastructures, high-performance SAP databases, private clouds and environments that compete with Amazon EBS.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/10/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


Ipswitch File Transfer Unveils New Versions

During these cloudy days, it is more important than ever to be able to transmit data across multiple domains. Ipswitch File Transfer, which has been around for over 20 years, is looking to enhance its position in this market segment by announcing the general availability of MOVEit Cloud and MOVEit AD Hoc Transfer products.

MOVEit Cloud is the high-end version of these two products, as it offers enterprise-class, cloud-based, Managed File Transfer capabilities that enable file transfer with partners, customers, and employees. Ipswitch File Transfer is positioning the product as a response to the burgeoning demand for SaaS capabilities.

MOVEit Cloud provides cloud users with several key performance enhancements. They include a scalable architecture, elasticity to meet peak demands, system administration that supplements legacy IT resources, budget predictability and flexibility. Other enhancements include user-based pricing and configuration in hours without interrupting IT operations.

MOVEit Ad Hoc Transfer is available for the first time as a standalone solution. Ipswitch says the product addresses major security problems associated with the misuse by employees of personal e-mail, as well as their proclivity to abuse file sharing sites by sharing sensitive business information.

The product features a laundry list of features. These include the ability to take advantage of secure, person-to-person communication, to share larger files with employees, partners and groups, and to securely send encrypted files and messages to other people using a Web browser or Outlook.

Gartner principal research analyst Ben Huang endorsed the importance of sharing without specifically mentioning Ipswitch or any other vendors, saying, "We are seeing some definite file sharing business trends. First, the ever-increasing, non-secure personal file sharing habits of many employees are creating a significant risk for business, and second, IT is looking for enterprise strength cloud offerings to quickly address the personal file sharing risk as well as broader managed file transfer requirements."

These products, along with MOVEit 7.5 are immediately available.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/10/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


DIY Cloud-Based Storage Services

iWave Software offers an alternative to users who want to develop their own cloud-based storage services as opposed to hiring a service provider for the task. In addition to giving companies the comfort of knowing they have architected their own, on-demand, cloud storage solutions, iWave Storage Director 1.5 adheres to the immutable rule that states "Thou shalt not displace legacy storage infrastructures."

Storage Director 1.5 caters to budget-sensitive customers by automating the tasks associated with provisioning , reclamation and remediation for storage. In addition, it enables storage admins to push the self-service button, which enables them to automate storage services in private storage cloud environments that are available to storage consumers. In this way, admins are able to cost-efficiently leverage unified workflows across vendor products and within organizationally defined policies for regulatory compliance. Bottom line: fewer admins are required, and those who remain can focus on other, more core-competancy-related tasks.

Reduced storage outages are another benefit provided by Storage Director 1.5, because it ensures best practices are automatically followed with each request for provisioning. This eliminates configuration errors during provisioning. Throw in finding and reclaiming unused storage, and improving end-user satisfaction by reducing the time required for provisioning new storage from weeks to hours, and you have a full solution set.

Company quote: "Our solution gives storage administrators the ability to develop a fully automated storage services catalog based on best practices, making storage easy for users to consume and for administrators to manage."

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/06/2012 at 12:48 PM2 comments


NComputing Covers New Enterprise Ground

NComputing goes right after two of the same bugaboos as everyone else in the desktop computing market place: reducing costs and simplifying management, and they say they are doing just that with vSpace, which they have repositioned as a fully integrated, end-to-end virtualization platform that supports the expected list of technologies: mobility, BYOD and migrations to Windows 7 and 8.

The company, which says it has four million vSpace seats in production supporting 20 million users in 140 countries, has taken a step up from its comfy mid-market, thin client confines to join the chaos of the enterprise desktop fray via its collaboration with Citrix, which includes the development of NComputing's high-performance HDX thin clients for Citrix. In this enterprise space, the company is targeting potential customers in the healthcare, manufacturing and financial services markets.

The complete vSpace platform delivers the essentials needed to "quickly deploy and manage desktop virtualization, including vSpace Server software, the User eXtension (UXP) protocol, thin client devices, vSpace client software, centralized management software, and premium support and services."

NComputing is highlighting three new additions to the vSpace platform, beginning with vSpace Server version 7 for Windows, which provides multi-user access to desktop computing by dividing computer resources into independent, virtual workspaces. This gives up to 100 users simultaneous access to a single Windows or Linux OS instance. The vSpace Server interacts with the NComputing UXP and the NComputing hardware and software access clients to deliver "an optimized end-to-end desktop virtualization experience." Other key features of this release include the ability to manage multiple vSpace instances from vSpace Management Center, support for NComputing Common Management Framework (CMF), and Smart Card Support that enables key vertical application functions.

The new vSpace Management Center provides a scalable, flexible point of enterprise-class management for organizations using NComputing desktop access devices. A web-based console enables IT admins to manage all client devices anywhere, anytime, which reduces overhead expenses relating to managing environments, no matter the size or number of sites. In addition, it provides a single, browser-based management facility and interface for both vSpace and N-series environments. Further, It is scalable to managing 10,000 sessions, and multiple instances. Beyond that, it automates functions like firmware upgrades and configuration changes.

The company also introduced vSpace Premium Support and Services that give vSpace users access to regular software updates and upgrades, along with online web sources, and direct access to dedicated vSpace support engineers. The upgraded vSpace Desktop and Application Virtualization Platform is currently available.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/05/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


Mobile Phone Users Concerned with Security (Survey)

Mobile network providers who have been aggressively building out their networks and hawking low-priced data plans would be better served by strengthening their security infrastructures and offering value-added security services along with extra protection to end users and their multiplicity of devices.  This finding came from a survey of over 1,000 adult smartphone users sponsored by security vendor Crossbeam Systems, and conducted by the firm Opinion Matters in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

The headline here is "Mobile Network Providers Face a Potential Exodus of 74 percent of Smartphone users after a Security Breach." Getting to that number is a bit tricky because the survey initially says that 63 percent of respondents cited high monthly fees as the primary reason that would motivate them to change mobile network providers, while only five percent reported they would change carriers over poor security. Looking at it another way, however, respondents said that if their smartphones were compromised by hackers, malware or other security failures, 55 percent would consider swapping out their mobile network providers, while 19 percent would definitely change carriers, which brings us to the 74 percent figure.

Crossbeam attributes the seemingly lackluster concern by customers over security to their inclination to not worry about security until they have been hacked -- an attitude that has lulled mobile providers into concentrating less on security and thus underestimating the risk it engenders. The company goes on to note the implications of not focusing on security in the age of BYOD and consumerization.

Not surprisingly, 41.7 percent of survey respondents said that if their smartphones were hacked by criminals it would be the fault of their mobile network providers, while another 21.8 percent said they would blame their smartphone manufacturers. That's a total of 63.5 percent who would blame someone other than themselves, while 26.9 percent said they would shoulder the blame.

Even though high fees were a major issue for survey respondents, 53 percent of global respondents (U.S., U.K. and Germany) indicated that they are willing to pay additional fees to help improve security. According to the survey, "Regionally, 59 percent of U.S. and 65 percent of German respondents would be willing to pay extra for security services, although almost two-thirds of U.K. respondents (63 percent) were against any type of additional fee."

More information about the survey is available at http://www.crossbeam.com.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/03/2012 at 12:48 PM2 comments


Asigra Cloud Backup 12 Unifies Enterprise Data

Asigra took the wraps off its Asigra Cloud Backup 12, which it says is the first and only backup solution that backs up all enterprise data in a single, consolidated repository. The new version offers cloud application support for SaaS and PaaS, as well as mobile endpoint support, virtual disaster recovery for VMware environments, and the seemingly mandatory anytime/anywhere enterprise-wide data recovery capability.

Highlights include enterprise-class support for cloud application data, which the company says it employs to protect "the complete" Salesforce.com database, including accounts, contracts, leads, campaigns, and custom objects. An Asigra press release says ,"When recovery is required, users have the option of recovering just the data, or can recover both the schema and data. Users retain control of their Salesforce.com backup data and maintain security with AES 256 encryption in flight and at rest."

The anytime/anywhere capability covers a "comprehensive" range of end-point target coverage, including support for Windows, Linux and Mac desktops, Android/iPad tablets, iPhones, and Android smartphones. The company says, "Enhancements include support for non-rooted Android devices for complete recovery of call logs, settings, applications, SD card data, calendar, alarm clock settings, music, SMS/MMS communications, bookmarks, photos and videos."

Version 12 also offers high-performance snapshot support, including protection of large data sets, e.g. big data, using storage snapshots and a no-host snapshot manager interface to catalog, configure and manage snapshots. The product's virtual machine disaster recovery function protects against machine failures with back-up copies of VMs and instant activation of back-up copies. Remote site protection is provided with backup of VMs to offsite datacenters with "continued business operations as data is recovered to the primary site."

Asigra Cloud Backup 12 is available exclusively through Asigra Hybrid Partners, and pricing is available on request.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/30/2012 at 12:48 PM4 comments


Citrix Foresees the Future

Citrix has looked into its crystal ball and come up with some predictions for the coming year, starting with software networking and how it's outpacing physical networking. After establishing that virtualization has had a big impact on datacenter infrastructures, and how this development has been "magnified" by cloud computing, the company gets down with some virtual networking comments i.e. dynamic networks are the way to go as we constantly redefine traffic flow for individual users and VMs. As Citrix puts it, "The stage will be set in 2013 for SDN to become the dominant form of networking."

Next up: the megacloud, which will be borne of the large and growing number of cloud players in the market -- which Citrix says was 32 at last count. Look for enterprise apps and workloads to move to public clouds, and watch these apps be addressed by a "handful" of large cloud providers who will become front and center during 2013. Citrix also sees lots of room for improvement in cloud management, an area that is currently not served well by the big or midsized management vendors. "Keep your eye on this space -- in 2013 we'll see continued consolidation, players will disappear and new products will emerge," Citrix predicts.

Of course, the company could not predict a future without heavy-duty mobility implications, and in the vein, it says mobility goes well beyond devices or apps, and first-generation mobile device management (MDM) solutions are not the answer. MDM is just a feature of app delivery, management infrastructure and data protection. "With the uptick in BYO, draconian MDM measures are not being adopted because users don't want a blanket kill pill," Citrix declares, adding "In the next 12 months, mobile device management will adapt to the changing devices that are coming into the entgerprise. It will become an enhancement to a much broader enterprise mobility strategy."

Will it all happen the way Citrix predicts? The company is well-placed to prosper from its prognostications, and it will surely be in the middle of the changes it foresees.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/29/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


Splashtop for Business Starts Fast

With its recent introduction of Splashtop for Business, Splashtop has completed its transition from the instant-on movement it championed when it was still called DeviceVM to a global, enterprise-ready purveyor of management and remote access solutions for mobile devices and BYOD environments. As CEO and co-founder Mark Lee puts it, "We're looking at a consumerization play."

Based on customer reaction to date, it looks like Splashtop has hit a nerve. Since the beginning of August, the company has provided prospective users with preview versions of Splashtop for Business via its Early Access program, and according to a release, in just a few months, an "astounding" 10,000 businesses joined the program.

The new product is showing its versatility to customers, who are using it for a wide range of applications, such as a mobile VPN alternative, a supercharged remoting protocol, a VDI extension, and for high-performance remote 3D graphics access. It also supports a mobile interactive white board, and is further employed to "tabletize" Office, Outlook and other corporate apps.

The product's list of features is also extensive, including SSL encryption deployment, one-hour deployment times, support for existing apps on mobile devices, pooling, Active Directory integration, and optimal bandwidth use on 3G, 4G, and Wifi networks.

Clearly, Splashtop is on a roll. The company has some 10 million users, it is used my most major PC players, and its new Splashtop for Business offering is inexpensive and user friendly, even if it requires some work to set up. Lee touts the new product's high performance and says it outperforms current VPN, RDP, VNC and Citrix-based solutions.

He says he met with Citrix chief Mark Templeton about a year ago, and while he would like to find a way to work with Citrix, he believes the company is adamant about widely implementing its ICA protocol. "We don't want to get into a protocol war," says Lee. "It's all about optimizing end points, not just remote access."

Splashtop for Business is a welcome change for IT shops that are increasingly shouldering the heavy burden of mobility and BYOD. That is because it combines high performance and its intuitive user interface with a management console. "As the only solution in the marketplace with broad, platform support, including iOS, Android, and Windows 8, Splashtop is the perfect bridge for users to access their data and programs while ensuring interoperability," Lee says.

Splashtop for Business can be purchased at the Splashtop Web site. Pricing begins at $2,400 for up to 25 seats as an introductory offer.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/27/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


VMware Calculator Aids, Assists Archrival Microsoft

Microsoft is in full gloat mode after running across VMware's cost per application calculator and using it to prove that vSphere 5.1 is more expensive than Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 combined. In its Nov. 15 Server & Cloud Blog, Redmond was quick to point out that this is not just about the cost of license acquisition, but also the CAPEX costs for items such as power, space and server hardware.

Anxious for customers to view the situation first-hand, Microsoft urged them to plug the following values into the calculator:

  • Number of VMs: 100
  • Virtualization host type: Server
  • Network storage type: iSCSI SAN
  • Compare to vendor: Microsoft
  • VMware vSphere 5.1 edition: Enterprise Plus
  • Management deployed on physical or virtual: virtual
  • Electricity: low
  • Real estate: low

At this point, Microsoft says it is important to understand that the aforementioned values are not random, but represent a common datacenter virtualization scenario.

Turning to results, Microsoft says that in this scenario, the cost-per-application to virtualize 100 apps using VMware vSphere 5.1 Enterprise Plus edition is 19 percent higher than with Microsoft Hyper-V and System Center 2012.

According to Redmond: "However, we firmly believe you will save far more with Microsoft. According to VMware's calculator, Microsoft's total software cost ($974) is much lower than VMware's ($1,491), but the infrastructure cost ($1,198) is higher than VMware's ($1,083) infrastructure cost.

"Why is this the case? This happens because the calculator assumes that a VMware ESXi host can run 20 percent more applications than a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 (Hyper-V) host -- an assumption with little credibility or real-life customer evidence."

Microsoft goes on to say that the calculator bases the "run 20 percent more applications advantage" on an August, 2011 report VMware commissioned to a third party that compares vSphere 5 to Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1, and that Dynamic Memory, which was initially unveiled in Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1 has been improved in Hyper-V 2012. Microsoft calls that "a fact that VMware simply ignores." Continuing, Redmond says you cannot apply the results of a test performed with a previous version of the product (Hyper-V 2008 R2 SP1) to the current version (Hyper-V 2012), and assume that "everything remains constant."

"Why would VMware choose to base results on older technology?" Microsoft asks, referring to a white paper about the advantages of Hyper-V over vSphere 5.1 which Microsoft says "provides the likely answers."

Microsoft goes on to point out that the August 2011 report fails to build on a realistic customer scenario, declaring, "VMware was able to show an 18.9 percent performance improvement (and higher consolidation ratio) only when using many VMs running the exact same workload with the exact same data and overcommitting the host -- under specific VM configurations and settings. Ask yourself: do you ever run the exact same workloads with exact same data on a host and overcommit in a production environment? Your most likely answer is no."

Microsoft further notes that when users purchase Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, they get a complete private cloud solution, and any realistic cost comparison with VMware should include VMware's private cloud solution, vCloud Suite 5.1, which was recently introduced.

Having thus dismantled VMware, Redmond goes for the kill shot, saying if you re-run the cost comparisons for 100 VMs using vCloud Suite 5.1, you will find that a VMware solution does not cost 19 percent more, but approximately 440 percent more than a Microsoft solution with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012.

This is a feel-good development for Microsoft, which just loves sticking it to VMware. From VMware's point of view, it's a thumb in the eye they could do without, but the train keeps on rollin'.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/16/2012 at 12:48 PM3 comments


VMware Calls Out Service Providers

As an early Christmas card to its many and valued service provider partners, VMware did a survey that started out by assessing the pervasiveness of public cloud, moved to addressing the adaptation of IaaS (it's going well), and finally wound its way to updating the challenges facing those valued service providers.

Starting with the pervasiveness of public cloud adoption, VMware didn't really need a survey to tell them that it has moved beyond test and development in many companies. More specifically, the study says that 67 percent of the mid-market and enterprise companies surveyed have implemented what they refer to as mission-critical workloads based on IaaS, and 80 percent of IaaS customers surveyed are running production workloads.

Reflecting on its relationship with cloud service providers, and elaborating on the study-- conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group-- VMware says "Seventy percent of current IaaS customers use cloud storage services, followed by 58 percent using cloud servers, and 53 percent are leveraging disaster recovery services."

In other findings, the survey shows that 85 percent of respondents say service and support tops a list of criteria for selecting cloud service providers, while 25 percent say TCO is the single most important criteria in that selection process. Compatibility was also an issue: "Seventy-eight percent of respondents reported that it was also important that their cloud service providers' infrastructure technologies were compatible with their internal private cloud/virtualized datacenter."

Finally, 83 percent of respondents say the underlying technology used to deliver IaaS was of "some level of importance" to them, with nearly half citing it as a very important or critical factor when considering IaaS.

According to VMware, "The VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) is for service providers offering cloud computing and hosted IT services built on VMware software. There are 9,400 service providers in more than 60 countries in the VSPP today."

Service providers are obviously a key factor in VMware's ongoing journey to the cloud, and it makes good sense for the company to call them out from time to time as they have with this survey.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/14/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


NexGen ioControl 2.1 Key to vCenter Datastore Performance

The future of software-defined datacenters is still hazy, but NexGen Storage sees an opportunity to capitalize on this enticing phenomenon and challenge VMware for a piece of the action. ioControl 2.1 is the key, which enables users to provision and guarantee VMware datastore performance within vCenter.

NexGen describes ioControl 2.1 as the basis for Storage Quality of Service (QoS), a key enabler that delivers intelligence about system performance and enables users to act on and manage that information without the need for storage performance monitoring software. Storage QoS also enables users to set guaranteed minimum levels of storage system performance directly on a VMware datastore. Users can change the priority and storage performance of any datastore on the fly, in real time, with no downtime.

NexGen offers a hybrid system featuring SSD and spinning disk. While the two are not always in sync due to the higher performance offered by the SSD, the higher performance prevents the buildup of shared storage bottlenecks.

According to NexGen, "Customers aren't necessarily asking to go faster, they need a solution to help them manage performance as a resource like capacity and be confident that storage performance will be delivered consistently."

NexGen views VMware as a jealous gatekeeper of the SDDC that is commoditizing all infrastructure equipment while consuming all management functionality and moving everything up into the hypervisor. The company asserts that in VMware's quest to control all SDDC software, the company is acting increasingly like a storage vendor by offering snapshots, thin provisioning, replication, and support for solid-state, scale-out, and provisioning automation.

Regarding VMware's increasing storage profile, NexGen CEO and founder John Spiers, states, "Any storage vendor who doesn't believe this is in denial."

Calling automated monitoring a "huge, huge issue," VP of Marketing Chris McCall says, "It's no good if you can't act on it," adding that ioControl 2.1 "enables smart, informed performance resource usage metrics" that include per-volume statistics, system response times and workload-specific metrics like block size and host queue depth.

Henry Baltazar, senior analyst for The 451 Group says, "With its differentiated Storage QoS offering and hybrid solid-state architecture, NexGen Storage is well-poised to capitalize on what we view as a rapidly growing storage market opportunity. The majority of data center workloads are virtualized today. As organizations move to virtualize their remaining applications, which are primarily business- and mission-critical apps, the need for storage solutions that guarantee each application has its required performance will continue to grow."

NexGen also introduced I/O efficiency reports that provide users with insight into performance gained from NexGen's data reduction, which is designed specifically for primary storage.

ioControl 2.1 will be available Dec. 14, 2012 on NexGen's full line of n5Sries storage solutions. Similar to previous releases, ioControl 2.1 will be offered at no charge to existing customers.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/10/2012 at 12:48 PM0 comments


iWave Storage Automator 6.5 Debuts

With iWave Storage Automator v6.5, iWave Software is out to save users money by lowering storage administration costs and enabling users to provision, extend and reclaim enterprise storage. The company is in a potentially lucrative market niche with its storage and cloud automation solutions for enterprises, and v6.5 solidifies its standing.

The beneficiaries of the new product's benefits include VMware and Linux admins, and Windows users who are provided with a comprehensive catalog of automated storage services accessible via an intuitive, Web-based, self-service portal.

In a press release, iWave stated, "While end-users are empowered to provision, extend and reclaim their own storage, storage administrators retain total control of all automated storage services through a robust set of storage automation policies." iWave's automated services are extensive through a RESTful API that enables admins to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IT process orchestration platforms, cloud orchestration tools and IT system management apps.

According to Ron Smith, V.P. of Sales and Marketing at iWave, the company now has 47 employees and 12 customers, and is strong in the banking and healthcare markets. He goes on to note that where it previously took up to 25 days to provision IT requests, with v6.5 users can now anticipate their needs and set future dates for automatic storage provisioning. There is also a positive impact on SLAs. "Why wait for three-to-five-day SLAs to deliver storage when a server can be built in 45 minutes?" Smith asks.

Individual features that come with iWave Storage Automator v6.5 include automated services for block and file storage, expanded multi-vendor support, automated chargeback/showback functionality, a software development kit, ease of integration with RESTful Web API, and execution windows for automated storage services.

Currently available, v6-5 can be downloaded by storage professionals via a free, 30-day trial here.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/31/2012 at 12:48 PM2 comments


Riverbed Cascade 10.0 Increases Virtual Visibility

Beleagured network network operations teams who are the first to hear about bad news from aggrieved users when communications links under-perform, got some help from Riverbed Technology when the company introduced Cascade 10.0. This new product addresses network and application performance issues across three levels of virtualization, including VDI, server virtualization and fully virtualized data centers that employ VXLAN software defined networks.

The lack of comprehensive visibility into virtual network environments has made it difficult for network admins to fix performance problems, but Cascade 10.0 has opened doors that were previously locked. "We can now plug into the hypervisor and see what's going on there," says Dimitri Vlachos, senior director of products and marketing at Riverbed.

That means users can now centrally monitor and manage images and data from VDI sessions based on the PCoIP and ICA protocols, which are offered by VMware View and the newly integrated Citrix XenDesktop-XenApp offering. Specifically, visibility is provided for actions such as screen refresh, print, type, etc. These details are critical for troubleshooting and optimizing the performance of interactive apps in VDI environments. The Common Internet File Systems (CIFS) protocol is also supported.

Cascade 10.0 further monitors performance of VXLAN SDNs by providing visibility into the UDP-encapsulated traffic and virtual tunnel endpoints, which enables network operation teams to control and comprehend VXLAN virtual overlay network performance; monitor and troubleshoot software-defined data centers and physical networks in a single solution; and provide software-defined data center owners with a singular view into data center performance and service level agreements.

In its press release, Riverbed quoted a happy user, Jeff Boyer, who is network engineer at Ministry Health Care. "The Riverbed Cascade products give us the visibility we need to monitor application performance, even if the underlying traffic never touches the physical network," Boyer says, adding "The flexibility of the solution allows us to proactively monitor and alert for performance metrics that can impact the end-user experience, whether the application is hosted on physical or virtual servers."

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 10/29/2012 at 12:48 PM7 comments


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