VMware Marching Towards Software Defined Datacenter with Software Defined Storage Acquisition of Virsto

VMware today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Virsto Software, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of software that optimizes storage performance and utilization in virtual environments.

This is a big move for Virsto.  Virsto has done a great job in VM Centric and purpose built software that addresses the automation and orchestration for the virtual cloud environment.

Virsto was founded in 2007 and positioned themselves as the VMware of Storage.  In other words VM-centric “storage hypervisor” software.  They have Citrix products so perhaps we will see a VMware product here that can cross Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft Hyper-v.

“VMware is committed to continuing to deliver software innovations that bring significant efficiencies to our customers while simplifying infrastructure and IT,” said John Gilmartin, vice president of storage and availability, VMware. “We believe that the acquisition of Virsto will accelerate our development of storage technologies, allowing our customers to greatly improve the efficiency and performance of storage in virtual infrastructure.”

As part of its strategy to deliver the software-defined datacenter, VMware continues to invest and innovate to extend the benefits of virtualization to every domain in the datacenter — compute, network, storage and the associated security and availability services. VMware has been at the forefront of innovations to storage in virtual environments, and the acquisition of Virsto will expand VMware’s storage portfolio, which includes the storage virtualization and management capabilities of VMware vSphere and the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance. In addition, EMC Corporation plans to license the Virsto technology, extending the cooperative efforts between the two companies in storage architectures.

“VMware and Virsto share a highly aligned vision to remove complexity and increase efficiencies through virtualization,” said Mark Davis, CEO, Virsto. “We are excited to combine forces with VMware to provide customers a more cost-effective, efficient, and agile storage architecture.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition is scheduled to close in the first quarter of 2013 subject to customary closing conditions.

Breaking Analysis

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I spoke to Wikibon’s co-founder and CTO David Floyer, who sees Virsto as an attempt to be the virtualization storage layer below the VMware Hypervisor for Servers (Virsto Storage Hypervisor) to enable software-led (defined) storage for enterprises and cloud.   Floyer says that the main function of Virsto is to reduce the IO latency and improve bandwidth for IO that has gone through the VM “IO blender” by connecting VM IO queues to logical storage.

Virsto also provides storage functions such as snapshots, Clones & Thin Provisioning to be provided as system-wide functions (rather than storage array functions).  Their main nenefit is to allow potential of end-to-end performance information to be known to vSphere for server, network & storage, where the storage is DAS, JBOD or storage array.

Bottom line:  VMware aiming to provide the same type of services that Storage Spaces  is providing to Windows 2012  Hyper-V.

This will help expand the customer base and especially important for entry level SMB customers.

Update:  David Floyer posted a research note on Wikibon.org – link here  see text below from David Floyer.

Virsto provides a virtualization storage layer below the VMware Hypervisor for Servers (Virsto Storage Hypervisor) to enable software-led (defined) storage for enterprises and cloud. Virsto (in the same way hybrid providers such as Tintrí) has its own file system which allows a one-to-one connection between VM IO queues and the target storage object. The main benefit is to reduce the IO latency and improve bandwidth for IO that has gone through the VM “IO blender,” and to provide an end-to-end performance dashboard by virtual machine (VM).

Virsto also provides storage functions such as snapshots, Clones & Thin Provisioning to be provided as system-wide software functions, rather than storage array functions. The benefit is to allow potential of end-to-end performance information to be known to vSphere for server, network & storage, where the storage is provided by directly attached storage (DAS), JBOD or traditional storage array.

One of the factors driving VMware to acquire Virsto was the announcement by Microsoft of Storage Spaces as a component of Windows Server 2012. VMware aiming to provide the same type of software-led services that Storage Spaces provides to Hyper-V and Windows 2012. This is a move away from the complex APIs that have previously been provided to help integrate storage arrays with VMware. This move is especially important for entry level SMB customers and their resellers, who will be able to provide the same function as storage arrays using lower cost DAS and JBOD.

About John Furrier

Founder and CEO of SiliconAngle.com.