Making sure that all the pieces fit together in a virtualization strategy is not easy. Working in a testing environment is one thing; working with high I/O rates and multiple error conditions is completely different. Reducing the number of moving parts that need to be tested by introducing common technologies such as MPIO makes strategic sense. But as a strategy, users should look to vendors to integrate the technologies and certify that the hardware works together, not only initially but as new microcode is released over time. The components that have to work together are the appliance(s), the arrays, the SAN, and (if intelligent switches are used) the requisites blades and software.
Action Item: Include in the virtualization RFP and contract negotiations the time to certify new levels of microcode on the virtualization appliance (and the blades on the intelligent switch if applicable), and clearly define inter-vendor problem resolution processes and escalation procedures.