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Virsto Software digs deeper into VM storage management

Virsto for vSphere 1.5 VM storage management application includes greater integration with VMware View and vSphere and better storage migration.

Virsto Software Corp. today expanded its VMware storage management features with Virsto for vSphere 1.5, adding more integration into vSphere workloads, rapid-deployment wizards for VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments, and improved migration with Storage vMotion.

The Virsto application -- which the vendor calls a "storage hypervisor" -- provides virtual machine (VM) storage management, self-service VM storage provisioning and a vCenter-integrated management interface.

Virsto Software first released its vSphere edition in January after initially bringing a Hyper-V version to market in February 2010. Virsto for VDI vSphere edition was released in August 2011, and the vendor added a VDI version for Citrix XenDesktop last May.

Virsto for vSphere 1.5 allows customers to manage Virsto's software in VMware vCenter, VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop. Right-clicking on a VM in those management interfaces brings up a Virsto storage option.

"With the 1.5 release, you don't need to use a separate GUI [graphical user interface]," said Gregg Holzrichter, vice president of marketing at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Virsto. "We've plumbed into the vCenter workflows as well as [VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop], so we have rapid-deployment wizards."

Virsto added a zero-downtime migration process through VMware's Storage vMotion live storage migration technology. Customers can move a virtual machine disk (VMDK) to a Virsto vDisk without disruption. When moved to the Virsto vDisk, the data will be thinly provisioned.

The Virsto hypervisor installs as a virtual appliance in a vSphere environment and presents a storage target for each new VM. The user designates a certain amount of physical storage as the Virsto vSpace, and the software manages the physical storage as a virtual storage pool using thin provisioning, automatic space reclamation, snapshots and clones. The Virsto logging architecture intercepts I/O from each VM, commits it to a vLog and confirms the write to the VM. Virsto then sequentializes the IO and writes it to disk.

Mark Peters, a senior analyst with the Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, said as IT shops see less management segregation by technology, easier storage provisioning for virtual environments is becoming more important. "Whether it's a server person, or an IT person, or a storage person, they can all control the storage," Peters said.

Virsto Software also worked around VMware limitations on the number of cluster nodes and linked clones so it can now support up to 10,000 vDisks per vCenter server.

Version 1.5 of Virsto for vSphere will be available Thursday. Existing users can download the updated software for free, and the 1.5 version is backwards compatible with prior versions. Virsto's subscription-based pricing starts at $4,000 per terabyte.

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