VMworld 2009: Vendors showcase new vSphere4 products; Admins grapple with growing VMware deployments

Headlines: Storage vendors are adding support for VMware's new vSphere 4, disaster recovery with Site Recovery Manager, as well as converged data center networks at VMworld 2009; as VMware server virtualization penetrates further into the data center, enterprise data storage managers find storage efficiency is often at odds with virtual machine performance.

VMworld 2009: Storage vendors showcase new vSphere 4 products

SAN FRANCISCO -- Storage vendors will line up at the VMworld 2009 conference this week to declare their support for VMware Inc.'s new vSphere 4 and its vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM).

VMware claims vSphere 4 has reached more than 350,000 downloads in the first 12 weeks of general availability. vSphere 4 is heavy on data storage updates, including thin provisioning and hot extension for virtual disks, support for third-party multipathing software and a low-end data protection tool that competes with Microsoft Corp.'s Data Protection Manager (DPM).

New APIs opened to storage vendors in conjunction with vSphere 4 will also lead to the proliferation of vCenter plug-ins for storage management systems. These plug-ins can give VMware administrators visibility into the underlying storage infrastructure, or manage replication and failover for disaster recovery through Site Recovery Manager.

Here's a first look at some of the new storage product developments being showcased this week at VMworld 2009:

FalconStor, Neverfail boost VMware disaster recovery

FalconStor Software Inc. is updating its IPStor software suite to Site Recovery Manager and vCenter, as well as a new virtual appliance for its data deduplication software.

A new set of features for FalconStor's Network Storage Server (NSS) storage virtualization software lets customers failback following an SRM failover by using NSS and FalconStor replication to reverse replication from the DR site, re-register virtual machines at the primary site and power them on.

Read the rest of this story on new vSphere 4 products.

VMworld 2009: Storage admins grapple with growing VMware deployments

SAN FRANCISCO -- Storage administrators at VMworld 2009 this week say maintaining enterprise data storage efficiency and manageability while scaling growing VMware server virtualization environments remains a delicate task.

Looking for help, administrators turned up at breakout sessions where VMware Inc. officials and data storage consultants offered tips for managing storage in virtualized environments.

"The biggest challenge in our environment remains picking the right VMFS [Virtual Machine File System] store size" as new virtual machines (VMs) are deployed, said Jules Thomas, system engineer at Pitt Ohio Express in Pittsburgh.

Pitt Ohio Express has approximately 25 TB capacity on a Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. StorageWorks 8100 enterprise virtual array (EVA), supporting mostly Windows servers. Thomas said the server environment is currently about 70% virtualized with a goal to get that number closer to 100%.

"Even if it's one VM on a box, we want all servers in virtual encapsulation for easier backup, recovery and DR," Thomas said.

Read the rest of this story on VMworld 2009.

VMware Site Recovery Manager to add support for NFS, multi-site failover

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- VMware Inc. demonstrated the next version of vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) at VMworld Monday night, previewing new support for NFS and multi-site "hub/spoke" replication and failover. However, automated failback after a disaster will have to wait until future releases.

Site Recovery Manager, which first shipped in spring of 2008 after being previewed at VMworld 2007, automates the setup and failover processes needed to bring up the VMware environment at a secondary data center in the event of a disaster or outage. It can also be used for DR testing or to test patches and other updates to the VMware environment without affecting production.

VMware product marketing manager Jon Bock said SRM 1.5 is due out before the end of the year.

Leran how to choose the right tools for virtual machine-based disaster recovery.

Dell brands Brocade Fibre Channel, Ethernet, FCoE devices

Dell Inc. and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. are expanding their relationship, with Dell planning to rebrand a broad array of Brocade's Fibre Channel (FC), Ethernet, and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) switches and adapters.

Executives of both companies said Dell will begin shipping the branded Brocade gear with its storage and server products around December. Dell already sells embedded Brocade FC switches, but the new OEM deals calls for it to add newer Brocade DCX Backbone FC directors, FC host bus adapters (HBAs), FCoE switches and converged network adapters (CNAs), Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) switches, and management software. Brocade expanded into Ethernet switching when it acquired Foundry Networks last year.

Learn how to help customers choose among storage networking protocol options for VMware.

Evaluating remote access in disaster recovery plans before a disaster strikes

It's important to evaluate and set up remote access services for your disaster recovery (DR) plan before a disaster strikes. Response Telemessaging Inc., a call center in Houston Tex., and vulnerable to hurricanes, has developed strategies to ensure remote access capabilities in a disaster over the years. The company provides call center services for companies that range in size from the Fortune 500 to SMBs. They use multiple generators for emergency power and multiple primary rate interfaces (PRIs) to ensure phone service.

Last year when Hurricane Ike made landfall, they also got rid of rules such as employee dress codes and eating on the job to help the company get past the crisis said Vonda Tackett, founder and president/CEO of Rite Response.

Learn how disaster recovery testing differs among large and small customers.

Iron Mountain Digital to add e-discovery features to PC cloud data backup service

Iron Mountain Digital plans to incorporate data classification for e-discovery into its cloud data backup services, using IP gained in a 2007 acquisition of Avalere.

Iron Mountain Digital director of product management David Asher told SearchDataBackup the classification product -- code-named Gryphon -- will be released first as part of a refresh of the Connected PC backup service this year. That Connected PC version, 8.4, will also include operating system support for Microsoft Windows 7 and Macintosh Snow Leopard.

Gryphon will add data classification to speed the process of collecting data for e-discovery at large corporations in the event of litigation or audit, Asher said.

"If you have 100,000 PCs, it's a lengthy and costly process to do e-discovery," he said. "Connected already has all the PC data. If it can also index that data, IT can go and look into the data instead of having to go to individual employees one at a time."

Find out how to get a foothold in the cloud storage market.

Iomega launches StorCenter network-attached storage upgrade with Mac support and data replication

Iomega Corp. today expanded its line of desktop network-attached storage (NAS) devices with a four-drive version with support for iSCSI, Macintosh computers and data replication between devices.

The StorCenter ix4-200d supports up 8 TB of total capacity and can run simultaneously as a network-attached storage file share and data backup target. Iomega, a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC Corp., introduced its first desktop NAS device, the two-drive StorCenter ix2 last October.

Read more on network-attached storage (NAS) for SMBs.

VKernel looks to reclaim VMware storage with Optimization Pack

VKernel Corp. is rolling out additions to its Optimization Pack software to help organizations better utilize storage attached to servers virtualized with VMware.

The Optimization Pack includes three new software features -- Inventory, Rightsizer and Wastefinder. Inventory provides a sortable list of all virtual machines (VMs) and their network and storage resources. That information can be gleaned through VMware's vCenter management console, but not in an aggregated view, according to Christian Simko, VKernel's senior director of marketing communications.

Rightsizer uses historical virtual machine performance data to assess storage, memory and CPU utilization to allow administrators to tune the infrastructure to improve performance. That can make it possible to consolidate more virtual machines on fewer physical servers. "Many people overprovision resources for fear of performance issues and because they don't have visibility into allocation vs. utilization," Simko said. "Rightsizer sees the actual utilization and provides recommendations."

Read the rest of this story on VKernel's Optimization Pack.

Survey tracks storage plans at SMBs

According to a survey results released by market research company Spiceworks, the majority of SMB IT managers plan significant investments in new hardware and software within the next six months. Twenty-five percent are planning backup and recovery purchases within the next six months. Of those with plans for backup and recovery expenditures, 25% say they'll use cloud-based storage solutions. According to Spiceworks, 42% of the data managed by survey respondents is slated to be stored on network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network (SAN) devices; 38% will be stored in direct-attached and local storage; 7% is planned to be hosted offsite; and 13% will be stored on tape and other media. The report surveyed 1,130 SMB IT managers.

Acronis to revamp its reseller program

Storage management and DR system vendor Acronis is overhauling its reseller program with a set of channel offerings to increase reseller margins. After moving its sales model exclusively to the reseller channel, Acronis will give out more than $7 million of in-house leads to its Gold- and Silver-level VARs; the company said it's still in the process of determining who will get the leads.

Before the move to a channel-only strategy, 70% Acronis' business was conducted through the channel and 30% was direct. The company currently has more than 25 Gold-level and more than 60 Silver-level resellers.

An enhanced deal registration promotion gives up to 30 points back to Gold and Silver resellers on deals of $15,000 or higher who record them with Acronis through Nov. 30. In addition, Acronis will provide a 10-point guarantee that pays channel partners for registering the deal, even if the transaction falls through.

Acronis is also launching a new market development funds (MDF) program. Acronis will reward partners with MDF funds ranging from 3% to 6% of their annual revenue commitment and sales.

Additional storage news

Check out last week's storage channel news roundup here.

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