VMware Gives Storage Virtualization a Boost - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

VMware Gives Storage Virtualization a Boost

VMware has launched a program that could help boost sales of storage virtualization products.

The new hardware certification program for storage virtualization devices will work with the virtualization-enabling technologies in VMware ESX Server to give customers "the greatest choice of storage vendors when deploying virtualization across their organization's infrastructure," said Parag Patel, vice president of alliances at VMware.

The program will likely add to the already-heated competition among storage vendors for VMware business (see Storage Vendors Take Aim at VMware and Making Sense of VMware Storage Options).

A VMware spokesman said the certification program "is designed to test and ensure interoperability between the storage virtualization device and VMware ESX Server. Once a device passes this test suite, VMware places it on the VMware SAN Compatibility Guide, which is published on the VMware Web site, and provides customer support for the configuration."

VMware said the program will let it work with hardware vendors "to bring to market the complementary technologies of server virtualization and storage virtualization. As a result of this program, customers will be able to leverage the flexibility of management, cost efficiency and high availability of VMware Infrastructure as well as storage virtualization to create an end-to-end solution."

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO, said the program's substance makes it "good for the customer and the ecosystem. In the meantime, we now get to hear from some creative vendors as to why and how their level of support and status in the program is virtually more unique and virtually better than virtually anyone else."

Indeed, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, HP, IBM and Network Appliance have already signed on to be among those to get certified later this year, and all trumpeted their offerings in the VMware press release.

Patel said VMware Infrastructure "leverages and drives significant new adoption of iSCSI and Fibre Channel SANs with its native capabilities for distributed volume management, VMware VMotion and rapid application recovery. Many customers are looking to implement network-based storage virtualization as their VMware environments continue to grow in order to optimize the storage resources that support these new capabilities."

VMware said it has worked closely with its storage partners to extend storage virtualization services to virtualized environments, including collaborating to integrate products such as VMware Site Recovery Manager with third-party LUN-based replication. The new program to certify storage virtualization devices, with their complete feature sets, "is another step forward in VMware's ongoing efforts to work with the storage industry to bring server and storage virtualization together to improve customers' flexibility, efficiency and total cost of ownership."

VMware said its 7-year-old hardware certification program has already certified about 2,000 different server and storage hardware models from 46 vendors and is working directly with its Global- and Premier-level Technology Alliance Partner (TAP) program members to certify storage virtualization devices. VMware said it is also working to expand the certification program "to the broader storage ecosystem," including to Select-level TAP members, later this year with testing done by VMware's authorized testing centers or by AppLabs or Cognizant Technologies.

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