The folks at EMEA TSX had a brainstorming session for ideas for VMware, called “The Next Big Thing.”
There were several ideas thrown out there that are good, but I know what I would have voted on: the “ESX SMB Edition.” Hands-down, this would be sweet. A cross between MogileFS and ESX Server would rock.
I talk to a lot of people that just cannot justify the price of a SAN-based VI3 implementation. Yeah, SANs are good for lots of things, but it’s a big chunk of change for a small business. Heck, it’s a big chunk of change for a big business, too, and a major source of IT complexity. SANs add major points of failure to anything they’re attached to, unless you spend a lot of money to make everything redundant, and then you’re trading money and increased complexity for some additional reliability. They also require training, upkeep, monitoring, management, and all sorts of things that are just plain hard for an SMB to get done.
Second reason that a SAN-free ESX would rule: DR. I could truly have an offsite copy of my VMs without the expensive, pain in the duff remote SAN copy stuff that storage vendors want to sell you. In my environment EMC’s MirrorView software has caused a number of outages on our CX600/700s, and even if it wasn’t just taking storage processors out it still means way more complexity. I’d love to not have to use it. Even if the implementation was merely an asynchronous mirror, copied every hour or two, that would cover 98% of my servers.
Yeah, I know it’d be tricky to do, especially to get VMotion working, but VMware has built their business on making tricky things seem like magic. They did it first with VMotion. Now DRS is doing a good job of making resource management brainless. What if the storage & DR could just magically happen, too, and growing your virtual infrastructure just truly meant racking another box?