Thursday, April 22, 2010

Virtual I/O, I/O, it’s off to work we go

April 22, 2010 – You’ve virtualized a lot of your servers. You’re looking into virtualizing your desktops. It’s time to virtualize your I/O.

Faster processors, proliferating and dense VMs, and the need for speed and component consolidation are calling into question the traditional practice of loading up servers with more and more I/O cards, whether it’s Ethernet NICs, Fibre Channel HBAs, or other types of I/O adapters. There are a number of options.

If you’re an HP shop, you may be familiar with the Virtual Connect technology on HP’s c-Class BladeSystems.

If you’re an InfoStor reader, you’re certainly familiar with multi-protocol, FCoE-based converged network adapters (CNAs) from vendors such as Emulex and QLogic.

An emerging option is virtual I/O, which is often implemented on I/O virtualization switches or gateways (and could be complementary with FCoE CNAs). It’s a flexible way to dynamically configure servers and accommodate multiple I/O protocols while reducing your adapter, switch port, cabling, and power requirements.

If that sounds appealing, start your evaluation by checking out these early players in the virtual I/O space:


Early next week we’ll introduce a new entrant in this market – Aprius – in the News and Analysis section of

To get you started on virtual I/O, read “Virtual IO takes off in 2010,” by analyst David Floyer.

Related articles from InfoStor:

Dell to resell Xsigo’s virtual I/O products
VirtenSys unveils VIO switches
I/O virtualization is a sweet spot for 10GbE


Anonymous said...
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Ken Oestreich said...

Dave -

I might add Egenera to your list. We don't sell "a la carte" Virtual I/O systems, but rather embed them within provisioning, HA and DR services. We take a purely software (vs. hardware appliance) approach to virtualizing NICs and HBAs, and use standard Ethernet as transport.

Virtualizing I/O is a huge enabler when "cloning" failed servers, or migrating virtual HBAs around as VMs move (for example). We'll see more in the future

~ Ken Oestreich (Egenera)