Virtual Iron adds iSCSI support to virtualization app

Version 3.5 adds iSCSI support at low cost

Virtual Iron yesterday released an update to its software aimed at reducing the cost and complexity of deploying and managing virtual environments by adding support for iSCSI storage and enabling users to deploy the server-slicing software and its management features all on a single machine.

A key new feature in Version 3.5, which is priced at US$500 per socket (you can try it for free here), is support for iSCSI storage, meaning that companies can take advantage of the dynamic capabilities of virtualization, such as live migration and resource allocation, without having to make pricey investments in Fibre Channel.

In order to move virtual machines, they must not be chained to storage on physical resources. Hooking into shared, network storage is the only way to enable advanced capabilities such as failover and resource allocation within the virtual environment, says Mike Grandinetti, chief marketing officer at Virtual Iron.

By supporting iSCSI, Virtual Iron is making it easier for companies to move their use of virtualization beyond server consolidation and into areas such as high availability, resource scheduling and disaster recovery, Grandinetti says.

"Fibre Channel is about 10 times the cost per port of iSCSI and it requires very specialized knowledge where IP-based storage connectivity is a skill set that is ubiquitous within any IT department," he says.

VMware, which leads the market for x86 server virtualization, also provides support for iSCSI in VMware Infrastructure 3.

Streamlined deployment

In addition to the iSCSI support, Virtual Iron is streamlining the deployment of its x86 server virtualization software by enabling customers to deploy Virtual Iron Virtualization Manager, the software that manages and moves virtual machines, on the same physical server where the virtual machines are running. In the past, the management software had to run on a separate server.

Further, Virtual Iron's software now supports LDAP, meaning that access rights held in Microsoft Active Directory or in OpenLDAP will be transferred to the virtual servers.

By simplifying the process of virtualizing servers, Virtual Iron believes that it will open the door for more companies -- big and small -- to enjoy the benefits of virtualization, Grandinetti says. Virtual Iron also is focused on price, an area where VMware has been criticized. Grandinetti says Virtual Iron provides virtual capabilities at about a fifth of the cost of similar capabilities from VMware.

Virtual Iron builds its virtualization technology on top of Xen, the open source hypervisor, and can keep costs low as a result. The supported product is priced starting at around US$500 per socket for a perpetual license. VMware, meanwhile, initiated a tiered pricing scheme with VMware Infrastructure 3, with basic capabilities starting at around US$1,000. Enterprise-class features, however, are priced starting at around US$3,000.

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