Video: SANS in Virtual Server Environments (Interview)

Virtual Instruments' CEO blends a historical perspective of FC storage with case studies of benefits of SAN management using his company's products

Fibre Channel Fabrics, popularized as SANs, have been notorious for some time as a storage platform with extremely poor utilization efficiency. Less than 15 percent of the capacity of a FC switch port is typically being used, despite costing users between $800 and $5000 per port. Part of the reason has to do with the lack of a management protocol designed into Fibre Channel standards themselves. Add in the tendency of many vendors to obfuscate the visibility of their FC-attached arrays and you are quickly looking at a very poor management story.

                  
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Bringing management to the SAN is no easy task; doing so in a virtual server environment is an even bigger hurdle. Perhaps the greatest challenge of all is to partner with hypervisor and SAN vendors to promote a management capability whose very need is a reflection of certain inadequacies of their wares. Somehow, Virtual Instruments CEO Mark Urdahl has found a way to promote a best-of-breed I/O management solution without upsetting his many partners in the server virtualization or SAN market. Keep that in mind as you listen to this interview, recorded for the C-4 Summit in Cyberspace.

In this clip, Urdahl provides an overview of the company’s two flagship products, NetWisdom for SAN management and VirtualWisdom for managing storage I/O in a virtual server environment. NetWisdom taps traffic traversing the FC link from server host bus adapters to FC switches and storage devices, then correlates this data to derive key metrics for optimizing the infrastructure and troubleshooting performance issues. VirtualWisdom works with server virtualization wares to isolate and identify the metrics of traffic between guest machines and their storage resources, working in concert with hypervisors themselves.

His discussion is compelling, especially if you are driving FC storage behind a virtualized server platform. Given Urdahl’s role in the original development and promotion of FC fabrics, he blends a historical perspective together with case studies describing the actual benefits of SAN management via Virtual Instruments that you can’t afford to miss.

To see the other parts of this interview, visit the C-4 Project at www.c4project.org).

Click this link to play the video.