BLADE delivers migration-aware Ethernet switches for virtualised data centres

BLADE Network Technologies, Inc. (BLADE), a leader in data centre networking, has announced that its 1-10 Gigabit Ethernet switches can now be equipped with VMready - a virtualisation solution that automates the enterprise data centre for dynamic 'live' migration of virtual machines (VMs).
Data centre architects can use BLADE's VMready switches to overcome network-based obstacles. The inability for security policies to move in concert with the VM is inhibiting broader adoption of server virtualization in the enterprise data centre. VMready watches the Virtual Machine environment to ensure that when a live VM moves from one physical host to another, the destination network has been prepared in advance - preserving essential security, access and performance policies. 
"In order to fully realise the benefits of server virtualisation, dynamic migration of workloads is required," said Joe Skorupa, Research Vice President, Enterprise Network Services and Infrastructure, Gartner, Inc. "To enable this environment, the underlying network must be able to automatically reconfigure itself to ensure that the appropriate polices and resources are in place before a VM is moved to a new host."
BLADE's VMready is designed to automate VM migration by ensuring that the wrong Quality of Service (QoS) settings do not choke the application, the wrong Virtual LAN (VLAN) does not prevent the application from connecting to the network, and the wrong Access Control Lists (ACLs) do not compromise network security.  As a result, data centres can harness the promise of virtualisation, enabling applications to securely scale up for high availability or scale down for energy efficiency.
"Until now, primarily due to security and manual workload concerns, enterprises have been understandably wary of enabling their production application workloads for mobility and live migration in virtual machine environments," said Dan Tuchler, Vice President of Product Strategy and Management, BLADE Network Technologies. "BLADE's VMready Ethernet switches work with leading hypervisors to enable a virtualisation-enriched network that is not jeopardized by security vulnerabilities as virtual machines migrate, does not introduce performance bottlenecks and is easy to manage without continual manual intervention."
With more than 90 percent of enterprises using server virtualisation for consolidation and 10 Gigabit Ethernet now affordable for mainstream adoption, BLADE's VMready switches provide a "Secure, Efficient and Easier" pathway to the "live" server mobility required in a dynamic data centre environment:

  • Secure: Dynamic migration of network security policies as workloads shift.
  • Efficient: Automatic scale-up of application capacity and dynamic rebalancing to optimise server utilization for high availability and disaster recovery.
  • Easier: Massive scalability, performance and management advantages in data centre networks consisting of thousands of network ports. 

"BLADE Network Technologies is offering a very sensible solution to a very complex networking problem with VMready," said Joe Clabby, President of Clabby Analytics.  "Moving virtual machines can be tricky and fraught with security problems.  BLADE has found a way to simplify the VM migration process while ensuring that critical applications remain secure."
VMready is part of BLADE SmartConnect switch-resident software that runs on BLADE's 1-10 Gigabit Ethernet switches. Alternative approaches require a server-resident virtual switch that adds server CPU overhead and only works in certain VMware environments. BLADE's VMready switches will work with all leading server virtualisation offerings and releases, including Citrix's Xen, Microsoft's Hyper-V and VMware.
Using blade server systems equipped with BLADE's 1-10 Gigabit Ethernet switches and BLADE's SmartConnect switch virtualization software with VMready, enterprise data centres can deploy virtualized applications and services that can migrate dynamically across a secure, highly available infrastructure.

Here's how VMready works:

  • Discovers virtual machines as they become active on the network and monitors them to detect the start, middle and end of a VM migration event
  • Automatically enforces network settings on the physical destination server to match the original configuration
  • Supports virtual machine migration across a blade chassis, rack or group of racks
  • Interacts with management consoles for added management visibility and control
  • Appears to the administrator as a single stackable network switch.

Pricing and Availability

BLADE's VMready is available now as part of the SmartConnect software upgrade to new and previously installed BLADE switches. VMready is included with BLADE's 1/10Gb Uplink Ethernet Switch for IBM BladeCentre (Part number: 44W4404) as part of IBM's Virtual Switch Extensions. VMready will be available for BLADE's RackSwitch top-of-rack data centre switch products in mid-2009.

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