Hifn and QLogic Optimize VMware Performance on Swarm Series of iSCSI Storage Appliances

Hifn has announced the first customer installation of a new performance-optimized configuration of its Swarm iSCSI storage appliance with VMware ESX Server, combining the benefits of a virtualized IT infrastructure with the cost advantages of iSCSI storage networking and QLogic's iSCSI HBA.

Hifn's latest Swarm VMware Edition is optimized for ESX Server configurations. The latest VMware Edition was installed on a Swarm Model 3200 appliance with 7.5 terabytes of shared SAN storage utilizing the high-performance QLogic QLA4852 iSCSI HBA. The Hifn-QLogic VMware solution allowed five physical blade servers, each running multiple virtual machines in an ESX clustered configuration, to share the virtualized storage of a single Swarm appliance. The addition of the QLogic iSCSI HBA allowed for more virtual machines to be added to the cluster with nominal performance degradation.

The customer installation also included VMware's Vmotion, providing the live migration of a running virtual machine from one physical server to another with zero downtime, continuous server availability and complete transaction integrity. Hifn's Swarm appliance was a key enabling technology for the Vmotion functionality by storing and sharing a set of VMware files that encapsulate the entire state of the migrated virtual machine. VMware's clustered Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) allows multiple installations of ESX Server to access the same virtual machine files concurrently on the shared Swarm storage pool. Live virtual machine migration gives customers the freedom to perform hardware maintenance without scheduled downtime and proactively migrate virtual machines away from failing or under-performing servers, and perform load balancing across all available ESX virtual machines.

The Swarm is a series of IP SAN appliances that deliver the benefits of storage networking to small and mid-sized business that want encryption, storage consolidation, centralized management, automatic backup, high availability and seamless integration with the Microsoft operating environment. The Hifn Swarm Series of iSCSI storage appliances provides an ideal IP SAN storage alternative to complex and costly Fibre Channel products with up to 9.75 terabytes of RAID-6 protected storage along with a full suite of storage services, including encryption, replication, point-in-time copy backup used for Windows Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS)-consistent snapshots and multipath I/O for high availability active-active configurations.

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