Will VMware’s Virsto Buy Make Software-Defined Storage Hot?

No, not that kind of storage.

When VMware acquired Virsto Software earlier this week, it promised that the acquired company’s assets would accelerate its development of storage technologies—and improve the efficiency of storage within a virtual infrastructure.

Virsto’s founders have said they took inspiration from VMware’s abstracting various components of the data center. “Someone—and hey, it might as well be us!—had to do the same for storage,” John Gilmartin, vice president of storage and availability, wrote in a blog post.

Virsto will continue to offer its standalone virtual appliance for accelerating the VMware vSphere environment. In addition, Virsto technology will be integrated onto VMware’s future products. VMware’s parent, storage giant EMC, will also license Virsto’s assets for its own use.

Of course, VMware has its own storage virtualization technology, most notably in its vSphere and vSphere Storage appliance products. Like VMWare’s storage appliance, Virsto’s technology pools disparate types of storage data, but also provides a dedicated vLog device to speed up writes by as much as 10 times. The writes are then asynchronously de-staged to a shared storage pool, known as vSpace.

Will the VMware-Virsto deal open up a buying spree for related storage virtualization technology? In July, VMware bought Nicira for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. At that point, the SDN store opened: Oracle bought Xsigo, Cisco snatched up vCider, and Juniper bought Contrail Systems. To cap off the year, analyst firms IDC and Ovum called out SDN as the wave of the future.

In its most basic form, storage virtualization is as common as RAID, which pools a number of disks together into a common volume, or a SAN or NAS. Providing a shared pool of storage to virtual machines, as Virsto does, is a much more specialized task. Even so, there are potential acquisition targets: InfoStor provides a list of seven storage virtualization companies that could fit that bill.

From a financial perspective, the market should be a fertile one. Venture funding for storage companies totaled $458 million through the first three quarters of 2011, according to Strategic Advisory Services International. Companies are growing and maturing; potential applications include facilitating data transfer without physically connecting devices, as well as connecting them with the “Internet of Things.”

So, who’s next on the buying block?

 

Image: astudio/Shutterstock.com

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