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Virtual Instruments: Avoiding "The Abyss", trouncing Brocade and not hiding behind SDN

Bob Brown | April 16, 2013
Virtual Instruments, the nearly 5-year-old infrastructure performance management software and hardware maker, is one of those companies that might never become a household name no matter how successful it becomes. In fact, many at first mistake the company for being in the music business.

While cloud computing itself might be described as similarly jargonish to SDN, Thompson is a big believer in the move to the cloud, though does question what the heck people mean by the term "hybrid cloud." He does, however, see customers moving to private clouds this year and next to become more agile and especially for highly regulated companies in financial, telecom and healthcare, to safeguard data that they don't want to trust to public clouds. He sees small companies like Virtual Instruments completely availing themselves of public clouds, using services such as and Microsoft Office 365.

On the road for the past couple of weeks visiting customers (including CIOs, vice presidents of infrastructure and operations executives), Thompson says he's had a good view into the challenges IT staffs are facing in terms of changing job responsibilities brought about by virtualization and cloud computing.

"More and more of the complex environments that have historically organized by server, network, storage are now realizing they have a systems problem, not a component problem, and to solve the systems problem they need to put people in place who think about capacity and performance. What's the capacity of the infrastructure I've built and how do I manage the performance of it such that it's not solely about provisioning new devices but is as much about optimizing the mix of where workloads live," Thompson says. "We've seen a number of customers put new organizations in place to try to organize horizontally as opposed to by vertical stacks."

Up next

Thompson pledged the company doesn't have any bombshells planned in the near future, but is plotting the next edition of its VirtualWisdom software for a fourth quarter release and will look to get on a schedule of alternating hardware and software releases every six months. A managed service could also be in the company's future, the CEO says.

The next edition of VirtualWisdom will be focused on scalability, better analytics and a better GUI. Virtual Instruments will also look to become more cross-platform, moving beyond Fibre Channel SANs to better support Fibre Channel over Ethernet (even though demand for FCoE hasn't exactly gone gangbusters yet), and will do network-attached storage for the first time.

Rather than just supporting VMware hypervisors, Virtual Instruments will add support for AIX LPARs in this upcoming edition of its new software. Over time, expect support for Microsoft Hyper-V and Linux offerings. Thompson is on Microsoft's board, but he says that won't influence how soon Virtual Instruments will support Hyper-V. "Our priority is solving problems for customers running mission critical applications and they don't run mission critical applications on any x86 hypervisor, even VMware," he says.


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