Virsto Ramps Up Its Microsoft Virtualization Support

Data storage virtualization startup Virsto says it has increased I/O performance for Microsoft Hyper-V R2 environments and joined the Microsoft System Center Alliance to allow better product support.

Back in February, startup Virsto introduced both itself and a new brand of storage virtualization software, a product the company promised would allow better control of random data flow threads inside virtualized systems.

After all, storage administrators were finding out all too often that hypervisors were not only providing virtualization advantages, but also causing irritating storage I/O bottlenecks. Plus, the virtual machines being created, increasing the density of the VM farm, presented even more control problems.

Virsto was back in the news Sept. 16, explaining that is has increased I/O performance for Microsoft Hyper-V R2 environments and joined the Microsoft System Center Alliance to enable better product support.

The basic problem Virsto solves is this: Data gets scrambled as in a blender when it travels from servers through pipelines to a hypervisor and then into storage containers. Reassembling increasing amounts of data wears heavily on a conventional system because it takes extra time-at ultimately higher cost-for unoptimized systems to straighten all the bits out and get them put back together so they can be used.

"Because of the way our software works, we can deliver significantly better I/O performance on a much smaller disk hardware footprint, with much simpler administration and management," Virsto CEO Mark Davis, a former Sun Microsystems software engineer, told eWEEK. "So the net result for customers is that they spend a lot less money on storage in their virtual machine environment."

Storage always the biggest IT expense

The biggest expense in any virtual machine deployment is, of course, storage. Industry research has consistently shown that storage typically consumes 40 to 50 percent of an IT budget.

"Usually, you spend about three times more on storage than you do on a virtualization platform itself," Davis said. "Thus, IT managers want to be able to use as much of their capacity as possible in order to get the best ROI for the company. This is the value Virsto brings."

The company was not shy about claiming that "Virsto One v1.2 can reduce VM storage consumption by 90 percent, triple I/O throughput and provision virtual hard-disk (VHD) clones in less than a second."

Virsto's statement continued, "The performance delivered by Virsto One's unique architecture is ideal for test and development environments, server consolidation, cloud application hosting and centralized desktop virtualization.

"New support for Hyper-V includes tight integration with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2010," faster provisioning support for System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and "full implementation of Microsoft VSS, ensuring that users deploying storage compatible with Hyper-V and the Hyper-V VSS Writer can perform a full server backup that helps protect all of the data required to fully restore the server."

"Our software actually will work with any hypervisor you use-including VMware, XenSource, KVM-but we productized it first with Microsoft because we saw a good market opportunity there," Davis said.

Hyper-V comes bundled free of charge in Windows Server 2008, so many companies-whether they are primarily Windows shops or not-have taken advantage of using the free virtualization layer. VMware and Citrix Systems cannot make the same claim.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...