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Vol. 11 Num. 1 March 2012

Virtual I/O for storage networks

Virtualizing network resources can help reduce the contention for services and significantly improve performance. The network -- both storage and IP -- is the next target in the march toward a totally virtualized data center. Virtual I/O is more than a nice-to-have feature; it’s essential to providing a more economical infrastructure that can meet the new I/O demands being placed on storage systems by server and desktop virtualization. Virtual I/O can be implemented in the host that’s connecting to the network and storage system, or it can be deployed in the infrastructure. Where it’s implemented may slightly alter the definition of virtual I/O. We’ll look at both approaches and describe how they’re different, as well as how they can work together. Today’s server/host barely resembles its predecessors from four or five years ago. In the past, when a single server supported a single application, all its I/O capabilities where dedicated to that application. In the virtualized data center, the network interface cards (NICs) and ...

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