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How can Atlantis ILIO USX be used to optimize VMware vSAN storage?

Atlantis Computing's ILIO USX could be offered as a joint offering with VMware's Virtual SAN. Find out how it can improve capacity and performance.

How can Atlantis ILIO USX be used to optimize VMware Virtual SAN storage?

VMware's Virtual SAN feature is still very new, which makes it difficult to find third-party utilities specifically designed to support these vSANs. There's little doubt that an entire cottage industry of third-party utilities will eventually be based on vSANs, but this simply hasn't happened yet. Still, there's at least one third-party utility worth mentioning at this stage.

Atlantis Computing Inc.'s ILIO USX is designed to work as a storage optimization tool. At this year's VMware Partner Exchange, Atlantis announced it was forming a partnership with VMware centered on the idea of offering VMware vSANs and Atlantis ILIO USX jointly.

VMware's vSAN feature allows organizations to pool commodity hard disks and solid-state drives in a way that allows for SAN-like functions. Atlantis ILIO USX builds on this concept by allowing organizations to pool vSANs, existing hardware SANs, network-attached storage (NAS) devices and flash storage. It uses in-memory storage as a way of increasing performance while reducing physical capacity requirements. The software delivers other benefits, such as high availability and high-speed cloning.

At first, Atlantis Computing would seem to be a direct competitor to VMware, due to the overlap in the functions each company provides. However, Atlantis Computing cites a number of benefits to using Atlantis ILIO USX with VMware virtual SANs, such as:

  • Expanding the capacity of a vSAN data store by adding hosts or shared SAN or NAS arrays
  • Increasing input/output performance by five times
  • Deploying five times more virtual machines (VMs) per vSAN cluster
  • Instant storage provisioning and VM cloning

In the future, I expect some hardware companies to offer utilities to support vSANs. For example, VMware has strategic partnerships in place with companies such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard. I wouldn't be surprised to see these companies eventually offer management software features that augment VMware's vSAN capabilities. That sort of management software could potentially provide vSAN-level storage monitoring at the hardware level. Additionally, hardware manufacturers could theoretically make it possible to perform offloaded data transfer-style, high-speed copy operations across a vSAN.

This was first published in March 2014

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