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The Missing Link: Making Virtualized Server Environments Storage-Aware

As many end users have learned the hard way, the networked storage requirements of a set of consolidated applications can quickly overwhelm the bandwidth of traditional I/O connections in a virtualized server environment. This phenomenon surprised many early VMware users, who often lacked the visibility needed to address growing I/O bottlenecks until they had fully materialized.

Emulex recognized this problem early on, and has enhanced its various I/O adapters with NPIV and other capabilities to help server administrators better deal with I/O performance issues in a virtualized environment. The company's latest announcement takes this one step further. Emulex's Performance and Resource Optimization (PRO)-enabled management pack for Microsoft shops alerts administrators to changes in I/O rates flowing through its adapters, enabling them to re-balance virtual machine workloads to avoid bottlenecks. The new offering supports Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008, which administrators can use to monitor and manage SAN-connected virtualized servers running on Hyper-V or VMware ESX Server.

With this simple new offering, Emulex will help server administrators in newly virtualized environments to get off on the right foot, by detecting and acting on bandwidth issues before they become real problems. This, in turn, should encourage users to virtualize additional applications, including those I/O-intensive production suites that many shops have not regarded as serious virtualization candidates in the past.

The initial incarnation of the product enables administrators to recognize there's a developing problem, but does not tell them which VMs are responsible. As a next step, we believe that Emulex should integrate its NPIV technology with the PRO management pack to enable the detection of I/O performance issues at an individual VM level. Nevertheless, given the complexity of performance monitoring and management in a virtual server environment, this first offering is clearly a great start.

  • Premiered: 11/11/08
  • Author: Jeff Byrne
Topic(s): Emulex Hyper-V Microsoft networked storage NPIV SANs Server Virtualization


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