John Fruehe, vice president of outbound Marketing at NextIO, says:

Virtualization has had a dramatic impact on the manageability and efficiency of IT environments over the last decade. CIOs were able to greatly reduce both capital and operating expenditures by virtualizing, driving down the cost of IT and helping businesses grow while keeping IT costs in check. However, as companies became addicted to the TCO savings of virtualization and virtualized more of the IT environment, it became harder to wring out more savings from additional projects. CEOs and CFOs grew to expect similar savings as IT expanded, but when the majority of servers are already virtualized, “doing more with less” becomes more of a challenge.

We’ve seen key components of the server – the CPU, the memory, and the storage – being virtualized, giving customers more flexibility and more agility than ever. The problem is that the I/O devices – network controllers and storage controllers – are still tied to the physical platform, creating the final bottleneck in the system. While server CPU and memory tends to cycle about every 18-24 months, I/O typically lags and is on a different cadence, leading to unbalanced systems.

As customers face the challenge of driving better I/O, they look to technologies like 10GbE down to the server or converged infrastructures which bring the promise of higher bandwidth but typically come with a very steep price tag. Blade growth has flattened out as well; those that believe blades are the answer have staked their claim in the market, but the rest of the world is grappling with how to increase I/O bandwidth without breaking the budgets. Many servers in the data center need more bandwidth but not all of them do. Buying into these solutions brings more bandwidth to all the servers in the rack at a high cost, regardless of whether or not they need it.

By virtualizing I/O, individual servers can access a shared pool of I/O resources that can be dynamically added and re-allocated across the rack depending on workload demands, putting the bandwidth where it is needed without taxing those that don’t need more bandwidth. Taking this final virtualization step will enable the other server components to operate more efficiently with more flexibility, and ultimately save companies money. It’s time to explore the last frontier.

Replacing the current top of rack solutions with I/O consolidation appliances such as NextIO’s vNET I/O Maestro allows businesses to get all of the benefits of blades, 10GbE infrastructure and even converged infrastructures.  However, these solutions do not break your budget or lock you into a proprietary technology – truly the best of both worlds – all of the benefits with none of the downside.

Author bio: John Fruehe has been in the enterprise market for more than 20 years and is the Vice President of Outbound Marketing at NextIO. He is responsible for helping the company roll out its marketing strategy for the vNET I/O Maestro, which helps companies affordably pool, share and manage I/O.  You can contact the author at