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Virsto upgrades virtual machine storage management SW for HA

Todd Erickson

Virsto Software Corp. this week updated its virtual machine storage management software for VMware Inc.'s vSphere server virtualization platform. Virsto for vSphere 2.0 includes improved high-availability functionality

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to protect data during hardware failures and increased support for Citrix Systems Inc.'s XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure platform.

Virsto launched in 2010 with support only for Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor, and added its vSphere product in January 2012. Virsto's software, which the vendor refers to as a storage hypervisor, uses a logging architecture to improve virtual environment performance. It also supports writable clones and snapshots for provisioning storage and protecting data.

The high-availability (HA) improvements in Virsto for vSphere 2.0 work with the storage software's integration into VMware vSphere HA. Prior to this update, Virsto was integrated with vSphere HA, but hardware node failures could still cause data loss or disrupt users. The upgrade is designed to detect failures and recover Virsto environments faster.

"We want people to be able to preserve existing workflows and tools," said Eric Burgener, vice president of product management for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

Virsto intercepts I/O coming from guest machines and creates a sequential log file as a database would, so that writes and reads from disk are sequential in all cases. Making the writes and reads sequential improves virtual machine storage efficiency.

Burgener said Virsto's new functionality works in addition to vSphere HA's native tools.

Virsto for vSphere 2.0 also includes improvements to the software's functionality within the vSphere management system. "We've improved the integration to the point that you can manage and monitor everything about the Virsto environment directly through the vSphere client tools that you're already using," Burgener said.

Virsto will continue to have a tab in the vCenter client, but Burgener said that will mainly be used for the initial Virsto software installation and configuration.

Burgener said Virsto's customers' increasing interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) led the company to increase its support for XenDesktop environments. Virsto first announced support for XenDesktop in May. With Version 2.0, it is adding the ability for Virsto to automatically intercept and fulfill XenDesktop workflow requests such as image creation, image update and image rollback. After fulfilling the requests, Virsto transfers the process back to XenDesktop. That allows XenDesktop to take advantage of Virsto's logging, thin provisioning, snapshots and cloning features through the VDI application.

Mark Peters, a senior analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., which is based in Milford, Mass., said Virsto for vSphere 2.0 shows "steady progress" for the software company. "Users are increasingly looking for central points of control as we move to a world with either less IT specialization or an active desire to have a more integrated approach," he said.

Virsto for vSphere 2.0's subscription pricing starts at $2,500 per terabyte of storage managed.


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