VMworld Storage Product Highlights: Round 3

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VMware’s VMworld conference had the storage world buzzing with a spate of product announcements over the course of the week. The first installment of our storage product roundup from this week’s show focused on the cloud, file-based storage and iSCSI. The second recapped the data protection, backup and recovery, business continuity and disaster recovery products unveiled at the show.

This third (and final) roundup includes news on vSphere 4.1 support, a promotional campaign that offers a free petabyte of storage and a free tool for bouncing VMs from your desktop.

Compellent (NYSE: CML) made news with a new plug-in for VMware vSphere 4.1 that allows vSphere users to provision, resize or expand storage volumes, configure storage and VM hosts, replicate VM datastore volumes for disaster recovery, clone volumes to accelerate test and development, and gather virtual storage statistics.

Compellent expects to ship the vSphere 4.1 client plug-in in Q4. The company is also developing a plug-in for the VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) with plans to deliver features such as Full Copy Offload, Block Zeroing and Scalable Lock Management for enterprises and cloud services.

SAN startup Coraid, which recently doubled the density of its ATA-over-Ethernet (AoE) SAN arrays, unveiled a new program called “Buy a Petabyte, Get a Petabyte.”

As part of the promotion, Coraid will offer customers 2PB of high-performance Coraid EtherDrive storage arrays for less than $1 million through December 15, 2010.

Coraid’s CEO Kevin Brown said the U.S. Department of Defense was the first customer to take Coraid up on its offer and saved approximately $10 million while expanding performance and capacity for a VMware private cloud initiative.

ATTO Technology announced that its 8Gbps Celerity Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBA) have achieved VMware Ready status for VMware vSphere 4.1, earning the Celerity HBAs a spot on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List (HCL).

The ATTO Celerity line of 8Gbps Fibre Channel HBAs include single-, dual- and quad-channel configurations and join ATTO’s 4Gbps HBAs as well as the ExpressSAS 6Gb/s and 3Gb/s SAS/SATA HBAs on the VMware HCL.

Server and storage manufacturer Aberdeen released a SAN Virtual Appliance (SAN-VA) Plug-in for its AberSAN storage platform. The AberSAN combines Fibre Channel and iSCSI block- level connections with multi-user network sharing. The Aberdeen SAN-VA Plug-in provides a virtual SAN on a VMware ESX server by utilizing internal disk resources on an AberSAN into a shareable pool of storage.

The AberSAN platform incorporates the ZFS file system, powered by NexentaStor. Aberdeen designed the AberSAN to grow by removing storage and partition size limitations.

The virtual SAN Plug-in can be deployed on two AberSAN servers to enable high availability (HA). Multiple AberSANs can share storage with each other as well as additional Aberdeen Stirling VMware Certified servers. In this model, each AberSAN with the SAN-VA Plug-in maintains mirrored data from the other SAN server. If one of the servers is lost, all VMs that were running on the failed server can restart using the storage resources of the remaining server.

An 8TB AberSAN appliance with SAN-VA starts at a price of $12,995. Larger models can be custom configured up to the 132TB AberSAN Z80.

Zmanda, a provider of backup solutions based on open source technologies, announced enhancements to its VMware Backup Client for Amanda Enterprise (AE). In addition to running a full image-level backup of a live VM, users now have the ability to run faster and more efficient block-level differential backups of VMs. During recovery, the Zmanda VMware backup client automatically combines a full backup image with the relevant differential backup image.

The new VMware Client only backs up blocks that are being used by the VM. The client skips the unused raw space on the Virtual Machine Disks (VMDKs), which considerably reduces the size of backup images. This also makes the backup process faster by reducing the amount of data being transferred over the LAN.

In addition, VMware vSphere backup is now a built-in feature of the Zmanda Backup Appliance (ZBA). The ZBA is a pre-loaded VM, licensed, and configured with Amanda Enterprise and can back up all VMs running on the same hypervisor as the appliance, according to the company.

The VMware Client for AE is available for $300. The ZBA is available at a starting price of $600 per year.

SolarWinds is now offering a free tool designed to bounce (shutdown and restart) and track VMs from a real-time, desktop dashboard. Using the free tool, dubbed VM Console, users can bring a hung, frozen, or otherwise unresponsive VM back to life.

VM Console allows IT professionals to bounce VMs, track up/down status, take a snapshot to compare the VM before and after it’s bounced, and restart VMs all without logging into vCenter or vSphere.

In addition to VM Console’s bounce and track capabilities, users have built-in access to an additional 15 free tools, SolarWinds’ online user community thwack, and a preview into Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM).

Rounding out this week’s VMworld product announcements, data center switching and network virtualization specialist BLADE Network Technologies announced VMready 3.0 with Virtual Vision for automating, provisioning and securing data center networks in virtual environments.

BLADE’s Virtual Vision technology “sees” virtual machines (VM) as they migrate from server to server and protects them as they move throughout the data center. The software automatically synchronizes network policies and configurations across both physical and virtual networks.

VMready 3.0 equips a single switch or a stack of switches for live VM migration, and now with Virtual Vision, can unify physical and virtual networks across an entire data center and even between geographically dispersed data centers, according to the company.

VMready works with BLADE’s RackSwitch Ethernet switches or BLADE switches for IBM BladeCenter, HP BladeSystem or NEC SIGMABLADE.

BLADE’s switch-resident VMready 3.0 with Virtual Vision is available immediately for BLADE’s RackSwitch and embedded blade server switches for the IBM BladeCenter, HP BladeSystem and NEC SIGMABLADE. Click here to learn how to buy.

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Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega
Kevin Komiega is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor.

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