October 15, 2010 -- To simplify the storage equation in Hyper-V virtual server environments, and to decrease costs, VM6 Software is shipping a suite of modules that, among other things, allows end users to leverage direct-attached storage (DAS) and eliminate the need for a physical SAN.
To understand where these folks are coming from, a little history: The company started out about six years ago as VM6 Inc., a systems integration and services provider specializing in VMware virtualization. According to COO and co-founder Eric Courville, the company started encountering a lot of remote sites that didn't have expertise in virtual servers, much less complex SANs. In addition, those sites found it difficult to justify the costs associated with VMware and SANs.
VM6 delivered its first software product -- VMex 1.0 -- about five years ago, but it was based on VMware and required a shared-storage physical SAN.
Given the requirements of remote sites and SMBs, VM6 went back to the well and introduced in September 2009 Version 2.0 of VMex, with two key changes: The software now leveraged Microsoft's Hyper-V, instead of VMware, and VMex 2.0 eliminated the need for a physical SAN.
Courville claims that VMex now provides all of the storage functionality users would expect from an iSCSI SAN, including high availability, but the software leverages DAS and eliminates the need for expensive SAN components such as switches.
VMex sits below Hyper-V and on top of Windows 2008 R2. Connections between servers provide high availability via heartbeats and failover. VMex also includes block-level replication across connected servers.
In addition to the Virtual Shared Storage (V-SAN) module, the VMex suite includes Advanced Clustering for high availability, support for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and virtualization management and monitoring tools. The latest version is VMex 2.1.
The company is targeting companies with less than 50 servers.
If you're looking for inexpensive, SAN-free virtualization, it might be worth checking out VM6.