New Virtualization Tool Plows Field for Big Server Farms

Enterprise virtualization provider 3Leaf Systems announced Monday the release of its V-8000 Virtual I/O (input/output) Server version 2.0.

This software, part of the 3Leaf Virtual Compute Environment, is designed for disaster recovery, streamlined management and enhanced availability for large x86 server deployments. The V-8000 version 2.0 software is the first I/O virtualization solution to run on standard, off-the-shelfcommodity and commercial x86 servers.

“Version 2.0 is the culmination of the evolution of I/O virtualization. For the first time it allows running our software on a customer’s own hardware,” Yair Dolev, director of product management for 3Leaf, told TechNewsWorld.

Environmental Factors

The vision behind 3Leaf’s Virtual Compute Environment is the ability to virtualize the central processing unit (CPU), memory and I/O in commodity servers and achieve mainframe-class scalability, flexibility and reliability, according to Dolev. The Virtual Compute Environment allocates server resources on demand to service enterprise applications.

“This brings operation and capital expenditures under control,” Rob Reiner, senior director of marketing for 3Leaf, told TechNewsWorld. “It reduces the number of LAN (local area network) and WAN (wide area network) ports by 80 percent.”

3Leaf achieves this by having customers use standard x86 servers with no network cards (NICs) and host bus adapters (HBAs). The software runs on the Linux, Windows and VMware ESX hypervisor (ESX ) platforms using standard adapters and drivers. Also, users do not have to configure changes in their SANs (storage area networks) and LANs. The 3Leaf software uses standard fiber channel (FC) and network switches and standard storage devices.

New Features

V-8000 Virtual I/O Server version 2.0 completely controls what the servers are doing from a central location. It also enables automatic or manual recovery when a virtual server fails, according to Dolev. Automatic service recovery of production server farms and sites is managed on a consolidated recovery site.

Version 2.0 has an enhanced backbone I/O fabric of up to 40 GB per second. This gives servers a wide data path for I/O-heavy operations, especially for heavily loaded hypervisor hosts and where VM migration such as VMotion requires an uninterrupted path.

The latest version of V-8000 Virtual I/O Server software simplifies management and provisioning of large-scale server deployments. The deployment design relies on asset hierarchies and separation between infrastructure architecture and ongoing operations.

Diversified Admins

3Leaf V-8000 version 2.0 helps eliminate interruption and improve business continuity by separating work between infrastructure administrators and application administrators. Infrastructure admins set up the physical infrastructures of the network. Application administrators define and deploy server profiles that use this infrastructure.

In addition, enterprise server capabilities that have traditionally required expert setup are now available out of the box even for novice users. This is achieved with the use of preconfigured profiles.

“We tried to make the administrators do the least amount of work. So we differentiated between server administrators and infrastructure architects. For the server admins, there is no need to rely on others to approve changes because the infrastructure architects have all the planning done,” saidDolev.

Driving Forces

3Leaf is targeting an x86 server market dominated by Linux and Windows. 3Leaf V-8000 is the first product that addresses allocation of server resources, said Reiner.

“I/O virtualization is a crucial step towards the next-generation data center,” said Arun Taneja, founder and analyst of the Taneja Group. “3Leaf is leading the charge in this area with a software solution that runs on commodity hardware.”

That makes 3Leaf’s approach appealing to the data center buyers because it gives IT more control over costs and allows for easier integration into their infrastructures, Taneja said.

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