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Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems / Software Defined/Virtualized Infrastructure

Akorri Acquisition Proves that Visibility is Valuable

Congratulations to our friends at Akorri on their acquisition by NetApp, completed today. Taneja Group has been working with the leading vendors of virtual infrastructure optimization solutions from the beginning of the virtualization megatrend. In fact, in 2009 we coined the Virtual Infrastructure Optimization (VIO) tag for these vendors and the critical management need they address for mission-critical virtualization.

Akorri is a needed and valuable addition to the NetApp SANScreen product suite, giving storage admins the kind of visibility into the virtualized compute layer they need to solve the tricky performance challenges virtual machines create in the datacenter. Mobility can create chaos, and increasingly the chaos shows up first in the storage layer that’s at the heart of every virtualized app. Kudos to NetApp for getting ahead of the curve here.

I’ve been tracking the evolution of virtualization management tools since the beginning, and I’m convinced we’re just now starting to see the most vexing performance problems come to light, problems that demand end-to-end, cross-domain visibility PLUS advanced analytics that go deeper and wider than the current crop of VM capacity monitoring dashboards. Real time I/O monitoring from the VM level to the LUN level, from vendors who really understand storage networks.

I expect the VIO space to evolve like the virtual machine management space did back in 2004-2007: as VMware gained steam they gobbled up the most interesting management vendors—anyone with a solid solution that delivered true management added-value was folded into the vCenter management family or quickly became sidelined.

So who’s next? I expect Virtual Instruments to get some serious attention, since they are arguably the last independent VIO player with real revenue (substantially higher than Akorri's) and they have unparallelled storage expertise. Now that VMware is (wisely) pushing responsibility for storage optimization in large-scale, I/O-intensive virtual environments to the storage vendors themselves, NetApp’s competitors should move fast to make sure they can deliver Akorri-level visibility and analytics as well.


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