VMware has agreed to acquire Virsto and has estimated that the acquisition will be complete by the end of first quarter 2013. 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 has its own file system in the same way hybrid storage providers such as Tintrí do. This allows a one-to-one connection between VM IO queues and the target storage objects. Benefits include reduction of IO latency and improved bandwidth for IO that has gone through the VM "IO blender", and provision of an end-to-end performance dashboard by virtual machine (VM). Greater simplicity is achieved by eliminating the complexity of LUNs and creating a simpler VMware storage construct managed by VMware.
Virsto also provides storage functions such as snapshots, clones & thin provisioning as system-wide software functions rather than storage array functions. This allows 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 Microsoft's announcement of Storage Spaces as a component of Windows Server 2012. VMware is aiming to provide the same type of simplicity and 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.
Action Item: VMware users should look forward to VMware integrating Virsto functionality quickly into its stack, and providing important simplifying softare-led storage functions on the road to software-led infrastructure.
Footnotes: There is further information and analysis from John Furrier of SiliconAngle