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