One of the fastest growing segments of the virtualization software market between 2006 and 2007 was storage virtualization software. As organizations adopt a more virtualized approach to their IT infrastructure, it makes sense that they would also separate the storage function from other parts of the infrastructure. Why, then, do the big folks in virtual machine software spend so little time rounding out their stories?
Let's run through some of the players in the virtual machine software market and review where they stand on the subject.
- Citrix/XenSource mentions virtual storage as an important part of a virtualized environment but, refers to its friends and partners in that arena rather than spending much time on the topic itself.
- Microsoft, on the other hand, a large network of partners and alliances in this area. It's pretty clear that Microsoft is also letting others play the music here.
- Sun Microsystems offers virtual machine software and an array (pun intended) of storage systems and software. They're one of the few "one stop shops."
- Virtual Iron spends a great deal of time pushing the "server consolidation" button and talks up its relationship with FalconStor and Snapserver as an important part of the story.
- In the case of VMware, it's pretty clear that their parent/largest stockholder/good buddy EMC's major added value is storage virtualization. It's quite possible that VMware has chosen to focus its marketing resources on its virtual machine software, virtual machine migration software, management software for virtual resources and leave the focus on virtual storage to others.
As organizations develop their plans for a more virtualized environment, they would be wise to consider a number of topics, not just virtual machine software. The topics that ought to be included at how peope are going to access virtual resources, how applications can be "freed" of being tied to a specific instance of an operating system, where and how processing is going to be accomplished, where and how applicaitons and data are going to be stored, how resources are going to connect to one another and, most importantly, how the organization is going to be able to manage this increasingly complex environment.