VMware bolsters storage virtualization smarts with Virsto buy

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VMware is buying Virsto, a specialist in storage virtualization, to ramp up its software-defined data center push. VMware, which made its name virtualizing servers, last year broke into network virtualization via its $1.26 billion Nicira buy, and is now honing its storage virtualization message and expertise as well.

In a blog post announcing the aquisition — terms of which were not disclosed — John Gilmartin, VMware’sVP of storage and availability, wrote:

“Our customers have told us that managing performance and data services for virtual machines can be challenging, especially in I/O-intensive environments like virtual desktops. Virsto has developed a VM-centric storage management model that accelerates I/O performance for any block-based storage system while providing efficient data services like VM snapshots and clones. These technologies have helped Virsto customers significantly improve the performance and utilization of their storage systems.”

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Virsto handles I/O at the VM level

VMware will keep selling Virsto’s standalone appliance but will also loop Virsto’s data management services into upcoming VMware products, he said.

In another blog post about the deal, Wikibon analyst David Floyer said one rationale for this deal was Microsoft’s decision to include Storage Spaces storage-pooling capability in Windows Server 2012. VMware, he wrote, wants 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 acquisition is just the latest evidence of VMware’s attempt to push beyond its core server virtualization into software defined data centers where compute is just one piece of the puzzle. That push is also one reason VMware decided to spin off “non-core” technologies like Cloud Foundry, Cetas and vFabric offerings to the Pivotal Initiative late last year.

That VMware went to a third party for storage expertise is interesting since its parent company is storage leader EMC.

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