Yesterday Oracle Corp announced their intention to acquire Xsigo Systems Inc for an as yet undisclosed sum of money. Xsigo was one of the original presenters at Tech Field Day back in November 2009. That was the the inaugural event where I met great friends like Simon Seagrave, Greg Knieriemen and many more.
Xsigo’s technology is all about consolidating the storage and networking fabric in the data centre. Rather than having HBAs, CNAs and NICs in each server or blade chassis, you deploy a single Infiniband card, which is used as the physical transport layer. Virtual devices are then enabled for the host carrying the specific traffic protocols required. Aside from the obvious physical consolidation of connections and cabling, virtualising the network has some major advantages:
- It enables efficient use of bandwidth per server per protocol rather than providing many connections into expensive shared switches that are always potentially underutilised.
- It enables virtual networks to be created – including fibre channel – to provide added security.
- It simplifies the entire networking fabric setup, with only a single adaptor to consider or replace or maintain (think of all those HBA firmware and driver upgrades).
- Devices can be deployed on-demand, creating a true fully virtualised infrastructure.
I recently mulled over writing a post describing Xsigo as the next storage “outlier” (read the book if you don’t know what I’m referring to). The technology is the glue that brings the various components used in deploying virtual infrastructure together – we can virtualise servers today; we can virtualise storage today and with Xsigo we can virtualise the (storage area) network.
Entering The Oracle
Of all the companies that could acquire Xsigo, I think the one I’d least like it to have been was Oracle. I guess it’s equivalent to being assimilated by The Borg - Oracle will strip what they can out of the product and it will be built into some kind of converged infrastructure offering. Unless you’re buying their stack, the product will never see the light of day again. It will be a shame if this happens, however as they say – Resistance is Futile.