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Xiotech Automates VMware Storage Management Across Array, ESX Server and Virtual Machine Layers

Xiotech Corporation today announced Virtual View, a new add-on for its ICON Manager user interface that dramatically simplifies storage monitoring, management and provisioning tasks in virtual environments. Virtual View, designed for users of Xiotech’s Emprise™ 7000 and Magnitude 3D® 4000 storage systems, enables administrators to manage storage in their VMware infrastructure environments from a single interface. Users can have a global view of the three storage layers (array, VMware ESX and virtual machine) from a single console and then automate configuration across all layers. As a result, storage management becomes faster and easier with less risk of misconfigurations. 

The Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis just began implementing VMware Infrastructure 3 and is backing up all of its storage on a Xiotech storage system. Scott Ladewig, networking and operations manager, Information Services, at the school, has tested Virtual View and plans to add the plug-in next month.   

“Virtual View does in three steps and one console what normally takes us dozens of steps across three management systems,” said Ladewig. “We currently have a back-and-forth, time-consuming process to set up storage for new virtual servers. With Virtual View we will be able to do everything within ICON Manager. I expect we will be able to complete storage provisioning tasks in a few minutes rather than the hour or more it currently takes us.”  

Richard Villars, vice president of Storage Systems at industry analyst firm IDC, raised the challenge of managing storage in a virtual environment in an April 2008 report[1]. According to Villars, “The real challenge of server virtualization for storage administrators isn’t managing capacity growth. It is managing the operational burden associated with moves, adds and changes for these virtual servers exacerbated by the phenomena of virtual server sprawl. In extreme cases, storage managers can experience a quadrupling of administrative tasks.”  

The Virtual View plug-in expands the simplicity of Xiotech’s ICON Manager interface, enabling administrators to explore and map all VMware ESX hosts, storage relationships and properties in a unified view. As a result of Virtual View’s tight integration with the VMware APIs, it can automate the creation and expansion of virtual disks; logical unit number (LUN) assignments; and datastore creations for ESX systems and clusters – performing all in three simple steps. Virtual View also helps reduce operational errors and ensures storage is accessible by automatically managing interdependencies across the three different storage layers. A Flash demo of the capabilities of Virtual View is available at www.xiotech.com/video/Virtual-View.wmv

Dallas-based TAC, a Schneider Electric company and a leading provider of building automation solutions, added Xiotech Virtual View earlier this month. With more than 7,500 employees worldwide, and partners and branches in 80 countries, TAC has more than 50 virtual machines supported by a Xiotech storage system. TAC added Xiotech Virtual View to help it more easily provision storage while increasing server utilization.

“We can easily see the amount of disk storage each virtual machine is using and make immediate decisions to reallocate storage as needed,” said Ed Richeson, IT director, TAC. “We’re expecting significant time and cost savings from automating storage allocations to VMs in Virtual View future releases, but can leverage the storage information from Virtual View today for planning and storage resource management.”

Virtual View Illustrates Xiotech’s Continued Support of Web Services

Virtual View showcases another capability that will increasingly benefit customers: Xiotech’s development platform for storage management is based on Web services. As a result, Xiotech can add new management capabilities faster using industry-standard technology and more easily integrate storage services from other vendors.

Xiotech announced the latest version of ICON Manager in October 2007 with the release of its Magnitude 3D 4000 storage system. ICON Manager is built on a Web services platform and features innovative capabilities, such as Server View, which simplifies storage provisioning for servers, and Intelligent Provisioning, which enables automatic storage provisioning without the risk of over-subscription. All of these capabilities are now available for the Emprise 7000 storage system.

Xiotech provides its Web services software development kit (SDK) to both customers and partners and hosts a developers’ forum that offers access to Xiotech engineers to assist and speed customization initiatives. Customers and partners have already begun to create custom applications to improve reporting, automate their storage management, and integrate with key applications.

Because both VMware ESX and Xiotech ICON Manager support Web services, Xiotech was able to bring the Virtual View technology to market several months faster and more efficiently than would have been possible using a traditional development approach.

“Storage management systems typically only have visibility into and can only manage one layer of devices,” said Rob Peglar, technology vice president at Xiotech. “ICON Manager with Web services creates a powerful new paradigm, where administrators have a global view of storage and can automate tasks across all applicable layers. This greatly reduces the complexity, expertise, time and risks associated with traditional single-layer storage management. Virtual View is one example of the true potential of Web services.”

Xiotech also is seeing great interest in the Virtual View capabilities from its channel partners.

“We’re always looking for ways to provide greater value to our customers with a differentiated VMware solution,” said Rod Lucero, chief technology officer, VMPowered, a Xiotech and VMware Value Added Consultant Referral partner. “Virtual View provides a level of value for VMware customers that we’ve never seen before. This is fantastic.”

The first version of Virtual View, currently available, provides real-time correlated global mapping of systems and storage parameters across the array, VMware ESX and virtual machine layers. Version 2 will be available at the end of June 2008 and will add integration and automated configuration processes across all three layers for even more simplified storage management. Xiotech customers pay no additional cost for the plug-in and can download it from the Xiotech service and support Web site.

Published Wednesday, May 28, 2008 10:46 PM by David Marshall
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