Virsto Software leaves stealth mode and enters virtual storage optimization market

Posted by Staff   |   Wednesday, March 10th, 2010   |  

virsto logo

A new US startup entered the virtualization market in mid-February: Virsto.

Founded in 2007 and sustained by a $8.5M investment led by August Capital and Canaan Partners, the company is managed by Mark Davis, former CEO of Creekpath Systems (acquired by Opsware, which was then acquired by HP). Davis also served as Vice President of Marketing at Monosphere, acquired by Quest.

Davis is leading an interesting team of managers and advisors, which includes the co-founder and CTO Alex Miroshnichenko (former CTO at Acronis), the co-founder and Vice President of Engineering Serge Pashenkov (former Senior Director of Software Development at PowerFile and Veritas – acquired by Symantec), the Vice President of Sales Rafael Santini (former VP of Worldwide OEM Sales at XenSource – acquired by Citrix), and the advisors Frank Artale (current Vice President of Business Development at Citrix), James Phillips (co-founder and former CEO of Akimbi – acquired by VMware) and Shaw Chuang (former R&D Executive at VMware).

This team developed a solution to improve efficiency and performance of Hyper-V virtual machines, by hijacking and optimizing their interaction with the underlying storage.

Virsto One in fact is a lightweight solution (10Mb) that installs inside the Hyper-V parent partition and places a filter driver between VMs virtual hard drives (VHDs) and physical volumes (no matter where they are and what storage protocol is used to reach them).

To hijack VMs I/O stream, Virsto creates fake VHD files (this is done through a snap-in for the Hyper-V console) that administrators must map to virtual machines in place of standard Microsoft VHDs.
Nor the virtual machine neither its guest operating system recognize the difference: the Virsto VHD containers have the same properties of standard VHDs.
What happens behind the scene is that all the data a VM saves inside a fake VHD is actually redirected to the Virsto filter driver, which optimizes it before sending it to the physical storage volume.


The optimization Virsto is talking about here consists in three things:

  • unlimited snapshots with zero performance impact
    Virsto claims the capability to generate thousands of thousands of snapshot (and thus of VM clones), in deeply nested structures, without the degradation seen in VMware environments.
  • I/O flow control for up to 5x performance
    Virsto believes that a key issue impacting the virtual machine performance when accessing storage is the randomness of data stream. When multiple VMs concurrently try to access the same physical volume, the hypervisor has to randomize the guest OSes I/O flows and this may reduce throughput up to 80%.
    The Virsto filter driver intercepts and controls all guest OSes data streams by journaling their I/Os and then sequentially writing them to the physical volume.
  • integration with Live Migration and Windows VSS
    Virsto One supports Hyper-V Cluster Shared Volumes (CSVs) and live migration, and it comes with a Volume Shadow Service (VSS) provider to integrate with 3rd party backup solutions.

In some way this could be considered an approach similar to the one VMware took with its Consolidate Backup (VCB) proxy.
The difference is that while VMware is discontinuing VCB, Virsto is so confident about the approach that it claims storage costs can be cut by more than 50%, achieving 3x-5x server consolidation ratios than with VMware.

Virsto One is licensed per server, with pricing starting at $1,250 (for up to 2 sockets) and reaching $5,000 for unlimited sockets.

The decision to support Hyper-V rather than ESX at its first release is quite interesting and definitively different from what the large majority of virtualization startup do at launch.
This choice may depend on technical issues to hijack the access to VMware VMFS volumes, but it’s clear that Virsto is trying to leverage the opportunity to be the first player in a market where there are no competitors.
Of course the big risk for the company is that Hyper-V will never be adopted by the kind of customers that have the storage problems Virsto is trying to solve.

blog comments powered by Disqus Newest articles
Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.5

June 13th, 2017

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analysis tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and considered a competitor of Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced the release of version 4.5, available for…

Release: VMware vRealize Automation 7.3

June 6th, 2017

Today VMware announced the latest release of its cloud management platform vRealize Automation, former vCloud Automation Center.
VMware vRealize Automation 7.3 release notes can be found at this link.


Paper: Introducing the NSX-T Platform

February 9th, 2017

“We see greater potential strategic opportunity in NSX over the next decade than our franchise product vSphere has had for the past decade.”
said VMware’s CEO Pat Gelsinger talking about…

Paper: VMware vSphere Virtual Machine Encryption Performance

November 22nd, 2016

Encryption of virtual machines is something that has been requested for years by the security community. VMware continued to postpone its implementation due to the negative operational impact that many…

Quest Software leaves Dell

November 1st, 2016

In September 2012 Dell announced to have completed the acquisition of Quest Software, a Californian company with an history in systems management, security, business intelligence and, falling back in our…

Citrix announces Q3 2016 results

October 21st, 2016

Citrix announced its financial results for third quarter 2016.
The revenues for the second quarter were $841 million for an increase of 3% compared to Q3 2015.
Net income was $132…

Release: VMware vSphere 6.5 & Virtual SAN 6.5

October 19th, 2016

2016 edition of VMworld US has been quite turbulent, on the other hand during VMworld Europe, happening these days in Barcelona, the company announced a few more products for the…

Release: VMware vRealize Log Insight 4.0

October 18th, 2016

Log Insight is a log aggregation, management and analisys tool, that VMware first introduced in 2013 and now is usually compared with Splunk.
Yesterday VMware announced Log Insight’s new major…

Release: Windows Server 2016 with support for Window Server & Hyper-V containers

October 13th, 2016

Yesterday Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Server 2016 which the company defines as a cloud-ready OS.
Beside fancy definitions, one of the most relevant perks of this release…

Release: Oracle VM 3.4.2

September 22nd, 2016

During Oracle OpenWorld 2016 the company released version 3.4.2 of its enterprise virtualization solution.
Oracle VM is available for both x86 and SPARC based processor architectures and uses the Xen hypervisor…

VMworld US 2016 Wrap-up

September 1st, 2016

Today was the last day of VMware’s flagship conference VMworld in Las Vegas, an highly controversial edition which left a good chunk of the audience disoriented if not properly disappointed….

Gartner releases its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for 2016

August 11th, 2016

Last week Gartner updated its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the year 2016. The Magic Quadrant for the year 2015 was released in May last year…

Release: Ansible Tower 3 by Red Hat

August 2nd, 2016

Ansible is one of the four main players in the automation market, younger then the well known Chef and Puppet, has been launched in 2013 in Durham, N.C. and acquired…

IBM announces earnings for Q2 2016

July 19th, 2016

Yesterday IBM announced its results for Q2 2016.

If we compare with the same quarter in 2015 earnings per share, from continuing operations, decreased 22%. Net income, from continuing operations,…

Monthly Archive