Oracle Makes Data Centre Network Move With Xsigo Buy

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Oracle has acquired Xsigo as it seeks to beef up its I/O expertise to cloud-optimised data centres

Oracle continues its acquisition spree after it paid an unspecified amount of money to acquire Xsigo, one of the first companies to virtualise and accelerate data streams to make IT systems more efficient.

Xsigo, based in Sunnyvale, California, spent three years in R&D and launched in September 2007 at VMworld. The company name is pronounced see-go.

Virtual Infrastructure

Xsigo’s first product was a $30,000 (£19.097) data centre box appliance called VP780 I/O Director, which opens up the heretofore hardly touched world of I/O to data centres. Its products have been deployed at several hundred enterprise customers that include British Telecom, eBay, Softbank and Verizon.

A year ago, Xsigo unveiled its own server fabric software that it claimed was the industry’s “first fully virtualised infrastructure” for cloud-optimised data centres.

Xsigo’s Server Fabric enables one-click network connections from virtual machines to any data center resource – including servers, networks, storage and other virtual machines.

A server fabric is the set of consistent services offered by one or more switches working together in a storage network. Any node connected to any switch in a fabric sees exactly the same information about the network.

Xsigo’s server fabric is designed to ease hardware constraints on the agility and scalability of the cloud. It can scale to up to 1,000 physical hosts, Marketing Director Jon Toor told eWEEK.

Xsigo’s I/O Director uses specialized processors and Infiniband connectivity to overcome the limitations of regular server I/O by virtualising the flow of data through a system. It consolidates cabling and replaces multiple physical network and storage interfaces (network interface cards and host bus adapters) with virtual resources that appear to applications and operating systems exactly as their physical counterparts.

I/O Director has a foundation of purpose-built silicon designed to streamline the management of complex I/O resource mappings. Traditional server I/O employs physical interfaces with fixed identities that are “mapped” to storage and network resources. Because these mappings are time-consuming to change, applications become locked to specific devices, thus impacting agility and overall resource utilisation.

Competitive Move

With the acquisition, Oracle immediately takes the inside lane in the virtual networking space over some big-name competitors–such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell – none of which has anything like this technology in house.

Cisco Systems has I/O virtualisation functionality inside its Server Fabric Switch that it uses in its Unified Computing System.

“The proliferation of virtualised servers in the last few years has made the virtualisation of the supporting network connections essential,” said John Fowler, Oracle executive vice president of systems. “With Xsigo, customers can reduce the complexity and simplify management of their clouds by delivering compute, storage and network resources that can be dynamically reallocated on-demand.”

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