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Tackling virtual storage

Tackling virtual storage

CEO of virtual storage vendor DataCore, George Teixeira, hit Australian shores for the first time last month to attend the Citrix Applications Delivery Conference. He caught up with ARN to discuss the rise of virtual storage and its product roadmap.

Where do you see DataCore's position in the Australian virtualisation market?

I'm here because I see virtual storage growing in conjunction with virtual desktops and virtual servers. There is a wave happening; we are seeing 50 per cent growth around the world and Australia is experiencing that same trend. Storage is interesting because it goes in waves. Upfront I think everybody obviously focused on what VMware and Citrix were doing because you get better computing, resources and better utilisation. But then what happens is you find out that if you're going to do virtual servers you've put all your eggs in one basket. So the first thing you need is a shared storage SAN to protect all those machines and the data. The problem is they are sometimes complicated and costly and it takes a bit of time to get it all set up. DataCore comes with a software solution that lets you do a shared storage SAN starting at $1000. It changes the game fundamentally and allows us to get into the marketplace and really build capability that has been missing out there.

Where are we at with virtualisation adoption - have we moved passed the hype?

Like anything there is always some hype. I am a big believer in the green movement but if we could make all the savings the marketing guys claim this earth would be completely green. So we're not quite there but on the other hand it is clear people have figured out products such as VMware, Citrix XenServer and DataCore can fundamentally give them more out of their basic hardware. And if you do that you save by not deploying as much hardware and therefore reduce energy usage and so forth. I think we are finally past the stage of hype as it [virtualisation technology] has proven itself.

What is on the horizon for virtualisation in terms of technology?

Virtual applications are going to grow. I think virtual desktops are going to be the next big battleground, the reason being that if you look at virtual servers they are handling tens of machines typically. Once you get into virtual desktops you're deploying hundreds of thousands and there is a fundamental trade-off for a lot of the big organisations dealing with those. From the storage side I am excited about it because when you deploy a virtual desktop the tail holding it back tends to be a lot of fat storage.

How do you see competition between the big virtualisation players panning out? Are we going to end up with a battle between VMware, Citrix and Microsoft?

In some ways virtual servers and hypervisors are becoming a commodity. That's an interesting battle and I'm not sure [who will lead] over time. Microsoft's price drops and $28 a core offering means it's going to be a hard battle to fight. Right now VMware has the advantage with VMotion and some of its distributed resource management features that add more value at the high-end. But I believe over the next year most of those features will become pretty common across Microsoft, Citrix and VMware. The battleground is then going to be around things like what they are doing with virtual desktops, and I do think Citrix has a much better story with XenApp and XenDesktop. I also think it is going to be how they involve virtual storage. We enjoy working with Citrix but we are also working with VMware and Microsoft. That [integration] part has to be solved as well.

One thing most people don't realise with virtualisation is that if you are virtualising one aspect but not the rest of your resources, you're not really getting the full benefit. For example, why just virtualise your servers and not your storage and allow waste to occur in certain parts?

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