Xsigo (see-go) produces an I/O consolidation appliance whose elegance impresses.

I/O clutter
Typical blade servers have several I/O adapters for networks and storage. Today’s multi-CPU – each multi-core – mobo’s need much bandwidth to stay busy, thus 2-4 GigE or 10GigE network ports and 2 or more SAS or FC HBAs configs are common.

Each HBA/HCA eats slots and power, adds cost and makes I/O a pain to upgrade or replace. Xsigo offers an alternative.

Big cheap pipe
Built on 20 Gb/s DDR Infiniband, Xsigo replaces physical NICs and HBAs with virtual ones configured on the fly. Xsigo says that the Infiniband is not visible in daily operation.

They physical I/O is implemented in Xsigo’s I/O Director, a 15 slot box with 24 non-blocking DDR Iband ports for server connection. The slots support your choice of single-port 10GigE, dual-port 4 Gbit FC or 10-port GigE I/O modules.

Each 10GigE module supports up to 128 vNICs. The FC module supports 128 vHBAs. And the GigE module can support 160 vNICs.

Xsigo says you can do most anything with the v-adapters that you can do with the real thing: jumbo frames; LUN masking; link aggregation; VLANs; SAN boot; and QOS features like committed information rates.

Here’s the cool part: the v-adapter addresses can dynamically migrate with a specific VM. Big improvement over the default VM-only migration.

The StorageMojo take
Good to see Iband used as a big cheap pipe. Its low latency, cheap switch ports and high bandwidth make it the best choice for this application.

VMware and Hyper-V have serious I/O problems. Xsigo helps manage them.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Xsigo was one of 10 or so sponsors that brought me and 15 other bloggers to Silicon Valley last week. They probably have some competition, but I couldn’t find them by Googling. Let me know who they are.