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Network World - Name: BILL FIFE
Title: Director of technology
Company: Wholesale Electric Supply Co.
Favorite data center product: Xsigo Systems virtual I/O Director
The Xsigo Systems virtual I/O Director saves us a lot of money on individual parts and pieces, and by that I mean the Fibre Channel switches, redundant Ethernet switches for iSCSI and all these different cards in the servers. I can install two InfiniBand cards in a 1U server and have redundant equipment -- two Xsigo I/O Directors, two Fibre Channel switches, two SAN controllers. With this equipment, our integrator, Tradentrix, was able to create a quad Fibre Channel path from each server back to the storage network using Xsigo's virtual I/O along with our redundant equipment. That is highly beneficial because now I can have simultaneous Fibre Channel fabric device failures and never take a hit on I/O. That's almost unheard of.
I really can't even calculate how much money it's saved me because I'm not buying those Fibre Channel and Ethernet switches. I'm not buying additional cards. I don't have spares sitting on the shelf. I didn't have to get cables pulled from the server racks back to the equipment rack where the switches would sit. I'm not buying hardware contracts on those switches. I'm not paying for yearly support on the software either and I don't have to manage them.
It's also brought a huge benefit to our virtualization plan, and it's been very functional, has worked quite well and has allowed the users to notice that things are now faster. That's hard to get them to say. When users say something is faster, you almost want to fall over and faint because usually you can't get it fast enough for them.
Next product: Security information and event management
TriGeo Network Security makes a nice product (TriGeo Security Information Manager) for log analysis, and that's something we all need to pay more
attention to -- we don't need any VMs that decide to go off into never, never land. We need to be forewarned about problems.
Dream tool: End-to-end storage troubleshooting
I haven't looked extensively for this, but I did tear out a recent Network World article about benchmarking SAN performance, and have that sitting on my desk. This is something we probably need to do, and if there was an application or an appliance that could look at the switches, down through the storage network, and just tell me where a problem may be occurring in real time, that would be quite helpful. It might exist. I haven't looked for it yet.
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.