It’s been a while since my last post, and with summer officially over (I know most people think summer ends on Labor Day in the US, but the weathermen insist the official end is late September), it seems like a good time to look at a recent announcement. Among the flurry of press releases at the recent VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, there was one in particular I’d like to discuss.
VMware has certified the FalconStor® Network Storage Server (NSS) as a storage virtualization device for use with VMware Infrastructure 3. But the real point here isn’t that FalconStor NSS was certified, it’s that NSS isn’t a device at all – it’s software. Now the FalconStor NSS certainly isn’t the first storage device that’s been certified by VMware, and it’s not even the first storage virtualization device certified. But as far as I know, it’s the first storage virtualization software that’s been certified. Just as the VMware ESX Server isn’t a device, neither is the FalconStor NSS. Both are software that can be run on industry standard x86 servers to provide an abstraction layer between the operating system and hardware. So why does this matter to you. Because one of the key benefits of virtualization servers is that a business’s crucial application servers are no longer tied to the hardware that they were installed on. If there is a need to upgrade equipment for any reason – due to problems, increased usage, or just replacement for end-of-lease – virtualization servers make it easy to just move a virtual machine to new hardware. But while it is easy to move the virtual machine from one ESX server to another, the data that the virtual machine relies on doesn’t move – it stays on the same storage array it started on. And if users want to take advantage of new VMware features like Site Recovery Manager to implement a disaster recovery plan that takes advantage of virtualization, then they have to use storage hardware that supports this. So users can have independence from all their server hardware, but not from their storage hardware. With software-based virtualization services, users can now have real independence from the storage hardware to complement their independence from the server hardware that VMware gives them. That means they can easily move not only the application server to a faster server, but can also move its data to faster storage if needed. Or they can move the application to a lower performing server and storage if it no longer needs a fast server or storage. It also makes it possible to provide the advanced services for Site Recovery Manager without requiring the use of matching storage hardware at the two sites. So now users can have real virtualization with independence from all the hardware in their data centers, both servers and storage. And in an election year, who isn’t in favor of independence?