Virtualization Technology News and Information
Xsigo Virtualization Survey Results

Xsigo Systems, Inc., the technology leader in data center I/O virtualization, today announced the results of a recent survey that sought to better understand server input/output (I/O) requirements when using server virtualization in today’s data centers. Responses from more than 100 IT staff members at Fortune 5000 companies using server virtualization expressed concern for the server connectivity challenges they currently face.

This survey revealed that IT managers encounter significant cost and cabling issues when configuring connectivity on servers running virtualization software. Compared with traditional servers, virtualized servers are being configured with more connections, and those configurations are being changed more frequently – two factors that significantly drive up costs. Growing at nearly 41% per year, server shipments in support of virtualization are expected to reach 1.7 million units annually by the year 2010, according to IDC research.

Current I/O infrastructure in the data center was designed for traditional server usage, not virtualized server implementations that are currently on the rise. Because users often prefer dedicated connectivity for individual virtual machines, servers frequently require additional I/O. A simple problem, like having a server with six I/O ports when seven is needed in order to accommodate virtualization capabilities, can add significant capital and labor expenses to a data center.

The Xsigo survey’s most significant finding is that server virtualization significantly increases connectivity requirements: 75% of virtualization users configure seven or more I/O connections per server, compared to two to four connections for a server running without virtualization software. Because virtualized servers run more applications and operate at higher levels of utilization than conventional servers, they are more likely to encounter I/O bottlenecks. As a result, there is an increased need for more I/O connections, to the extent that configuring server I/O for virtualized servers frequently exceeds the cost of the server itself.

Other key findings from the virtualization survey revealed:

  • 58% virtualization users had to add connectivity to a server specifically for virtualization requirements.
  • 65% of virtualization users consider cable reduction a priority.
  • 35% of virtualization users had to re-configure I/O connections six or more times in the past year.

As cited by users in the survey, these findings indicate there is a direct impact on costs and management processes for the following:

  • Increased requirements for large 4U high servers that consume more space and power than compact 1U high models.
  • Difficulty configuring required I/O for blade servers, since connectivity on blades is limited.

“Users often overlook the demands that server virtualization puts on their I/O infrastructure,” said John Humphreys, Vice President of Enterprise Virtualization at IDC. “We see this as a growing problem, and one we encourage IT groups to consider as they move forward with virtual server deployments. Additionally, we have found that connectivity challenges stemming from live migration can be reconciled through I/O virtualization, technologies delivered by companies like Xsigo.”

“We know now that virtualization users must add additional connectivity, but the question is whether the IT staff has the resources and tools to address I/O connectivity effectively and efficiently before applications experience a major impact,” said Jon Toor, vice president of marketing, Xsigo Systems. “With virtual I/O, resources can be allocated in real time, without re-configuring cards or cabling.”

Xsigo Systems launched in September of 2007 specifically to address the I/O connection bottlenecks currently faced in the data center. It is estimated that large data centers can lower their server-related operational expenses by up to 80%, cut capital costs by 50%, and use 70% less cabling by using Xsigo’s technology. With Xsigo’s VP 780 I/O Director, IT managers can provision I/O resources on-the-fly without disrupting network and storage configurations, and without physically entering the data center. Xsigo consolidates the I/O infrastructure and replaces physical network and storage interfaces (NICs and HBAs) with virtual resources that are remotely manageable from a single console. Unlike alternative approaches, the Xsigo I/O Director offers reduced capital costs, greater management simplicity, and support for open standards.

Published Monday, December 03, 2007 7:15 PM by David Marshall
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