Virtualization Technology News and Information
NextIO: I/O Virtualization Provides Agility to Solve Tough Virtualization Projects


What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2012? Find out in this series exclusive.

2012 Prediction: I/O Virtualization provides agility to solve tough virtualization projects

Contributed Article by John Meadows, Director, NextIO

In 2011, IT departments have been asked to continually do more with less:  deploy on-demand clouds and enterprise wide VDI, virtualize mission critical applications, upgrade to 10GbE, and implement ever more complex tiered storage solutions.  At the same time, IT budgets have remained flat or even decreased.  Architects are realizing that current hardware designs are inefficient at deploying I/O resources to keep up with the agility and reliability required for virtual desktop and cloud deployments.  Current designs are both expensive (have you priced a 10GbE uplift lately?!?) and inflexible.  Much like server virtualization 8 to 10 years ago, I/O virtualization is a disruptive technology that improves reliability, consolidation, and flexibility, while ultimately lowering IT costs.

What do I expect with regards to I/O virtualization in 2012?  Read on:

I/O virtualization provides the key to cloud agility

I think we can agree that for many enterprises the easy stuff has been virtualized.  Now admins are tackling much harder problems:

  • Virtualizing database servers and mission critical and high performance apps
  • VDI, which has been evaluated to death over the last 3 to 4 years, must now be deployed in production. End users are sensitive to the performance of their desktop apps and IT staff will hear about any deficiencies.
  • Internal customers are no longer satisfied with the "one size fits all" VM templates deployed in the cloud - don't box me in!

To keep up, IT staff will have no choice but to invest heavily in their current architectures or look to new technologies such as I/O virtualization. 

Much like server architecture before virtualization, currently I/O resources are inefficiently deployed, inflexible, and expensive, generally with a lot of excess capacity.  I/O virtualization is the separation of I/O (Ethernet, Fiber Channel, FCoE, etc.) from the compute resources (CPU and Memory) so that the I/O resources can be consolidated, managed, and deployed most effectively. 

I/O virtualization provides both cost savings and flexibility, with the agility to match I/O resources to workload requirements with the same ease as provisioning servers.  The hardware limitation of the host is removed so that staff can easily scale I/O up or down according to the VM workload (as well as bill customers for the I/O resources consumed).  In addition, GPUs and SSDs can be added for specific high demand workloads.

Eliminate vendor lock-in and reduce hardware costs

Proprietary architectures such as blade chassis' or interconnect fabric can be very effective for certain virtualization projects, but that effectiveness comes at a price.  Many enterprises will be looking for ways to match the flexibility of their hardware architecture to the flexibility of their cloud services.  This includes technologies that scale up easily and cheaply, accommodate a variety of vendors, and do not force them to make long term bets on the viability of certain architectures to meet their processing needs 4 or 5 years out.

While third party cloud providers are stepping in to provide scalable resources on an as-needed basis, I/O virtualization provides much needed flexibility and cost savings for dedicated environments.  I/O virtualization is based on industry standards such as PCIe so that it can accommodate compute nodes from a variety of vendors - pick your server according to availability, cost, and performance, not on a blade chassis purchased years ago.  IT staff can easily deploy new technologies to take advantage of cost savings or performance improvements.  I/O virtualization provides a cost effective way to deploy 10GbE or Fiber Channel in the datacenter.

In 2012, IOV will help enterprises tackle some of their more difficult virtualization projects.


About the Author

John Meadows knows his virtualization by working with hundreds and hundreds of VMware architects, engineers, and administrators while first working as Director of Sales at Hyper9 (a virtualization management company acquired earlier in the year by Solarwinds) and now, as Director of vNET sales at NextIO.  NextIO provides rack-level IO consolidation and virtualization solutions that maximize value, productivity and efficiencies of complex server IO. Our innovative architecture is based upon industry standard PCIe switching technology. By separating the compute from the IO we create pools of server IO resources at the rack level that can be shared, virtualized or dynamically allocated across servers within the rack. Data center managers benefit from lower TCO and increased time to rev­enue.  For more information, visit
Published Tuesday, November 08, 2011 3:23 PM by David Marshall
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Comments - Virtualization Technology News and Information for Everyone - (Author's Link) - January 4, 2012 7:08 AM

I'd like to personally welcome each and every one of you to the start of 2012! As we begin what will certainly prove to be a fantastic new year, I wanted to make sure to thank all of the loyal member's and readers of Once again, with the help

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