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VMworld 2014 – Lots of VMware VVols Talk

VMworld 2014 – Lots of VMware VVols Talk
Eric Wright, vExpert, Cisco Champion

The long awaited Virtual Volumes (VVols) product from VMware is in tech preview at the moment, but the focus at VMworld in San Francisco was on vendor integration. As more heat comes around this new VMware storage management feature, storage partners are working tightly to ensure that the product lands with full support on day one of production.

Stop Thinking LUNs and Volumes

The fundamental change that comes with VVols is the shift in the management of storage from LUN and volume down to the VMDK. By making the VMDK storage for a virtual machine into a management boundary, this lets the storage policies portable and increases the granularity and accuracy with which we apply the quality of service against storage in a VMware environment.

It isn’t just the new policy-based management that applies to the VVols storage container either. VVols are also able to leverage the VASA features to reduce the load at the hypervisor by leveraging storage hardware features. Cloning and backup operations are offloaded and more efficient which was once only available at the LUN and volume level.

Policy = Win

The focus of nearly all of the new VMware products that are being introduced is around the enhancement of service through policy-based management. Even evolving products are moving towards the policy-based approach which began with SDRS and datastore clusters in recent years.

By containerizing the virtual workload using policy at the storage layer and network layer, the integrity of the workload and performance are ensured wherever it lands in the virtual infrastructure. By exposing storage hardware features through VASA we get the best of breed capabilities pushed right through to the virtual machine.

Storage Admins Will be Pleased

What should be noted is that storage administrators seem to be lining up behind this strategy proudly. The ability to move towards SLA delivery at the storage layer is going to reduce the “blame the SAN” feeling that is often associated with storage environments.

And the SAN isn’t the only place that VVols will live. Using VVols will extend to SAN, NAS, and VSAN. The SDS (Software Defined Storage) capabilities are no longer limited to a single style of storage. This is a very important shift in the way that VMware and its customers will manage their virtual workloads going forward.

As VVols makes its way to a general availability release we will be excited to see the performance in action and how customers jump on board to make use of the best of the features that are coming with it.

Cormac Hogan has given a great review of the experience from VMworld here that talks about VVols and the advantages to customers that come with it.

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