Maximizing Virtual Machine Scalability with iSCSI Storage

Server virtualization is being deployed on an almost universal scale to reduce costs and optimize data center resources. To underscore this point, a recent survey* reported several key findings:

  • Server virtualization is widely used—74% of respondents are currently using server virtualization and another 19% are planning deployments.
  • The number of virtualized servers is relatively small today—58% of respondents have virtualized 30% or less of their servers
  • The number of virtualized servers is growing—the percentage of virtual machines (VMs) run in production will increase from 39% to 58% within two years

This trend is accelerating with new multi-core servers that support many more VMS per physical server and meet the requirements of resource-demanding, mission-critical applications.

As server capabilities grow, many data centers are finding their 1Gbps Ethernet (GbE) infrastructure is the next limiting factor for server virtualization. The solution is migration to 10Gbps Ethernet (10GbE) and the transition is gaining momentum as prices drop for 10GbE adapters and switches.

As part of this next- generation iSCSI environment, VMware introduced support for 10GbE iSCSI adapters with VMware vSphere 4.1. With this new capability, data center administrators have more choices for 10GbE iSCSI deployments. The goal of this technical brief is to provide information that will be helpful when choosing network connectivity for a 10GbE iSCSI solution.

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