VMworld 2012: Software-Defined Storage – Vision INF-STO2143

This session was an overview of where VMware sees the direction of storage for virtualized datacenters. To keep with the theme of ‘software defined’ everything, they also have a vision for software defined storage. It is a radical departure from how we view storage today, and the concepts of LUNs and datastores will go away. A session later today will do live demos of some of these features, so stay tuned for another blogpost on this subject. Session notes:

  • Software-defined datacenter simplifies the process to define an application and all the resources it needs.
  • Takes 5+ days to fully provision a VM (firewall, IDS, storage, load balancer, etc.). Vision is to take that down to minutes.
  • Virtualization had a major impact on storage – more arrays, more shared storage, and a new data container (VMDK). New workloads like VDI and added expectations for fast provisioning.
  • Three pain points: Storage management is too complex, cost of ownership is too high, SLAs are too difficult to ensure.
    • Current storage model is manual and inefficient
    • Storage costs are high due to inefficient storage usage and data services are tied to a LUN and not VMs.
    • Multitude of device specific tools to manage
    • Inability to make efficient usage of SSD and HDD without losing VM mobility
  • vSphere 5.1 Storage Features
    • Storage vMotion, Storage DRS, VAAI, VASA, VADP, Storage I/O control, profile driven storage
  • Software Defined Storage Vision
    • Defined Storage Policy Wizard – Size, RTO, IOPS
    • Data services from HW partners – E.g. de-dupe, snapshots, replication, caching, encryption.
    • Automate SLA delivery while increasing storage efficiencies
    • Policy based automation for all apps across all types of storage
    • Enhance SAN/NAS with VM-awareness and virtualized flash
    • Enable scale out DAS for vSphere
  • How will VMware deliver this?
    • Storage Policy Based Management
      • Auto-provisioning of data services such as de-dupe, backup, snapshots, DR
      • Ongoing SLA remediation
    • Enable traditional SAN/NAS systems using virtual volumes
      • Existing SAN/NAS systems become VM-aware
      • Native representation of VMDKs on SAN/NAS
      • New API for data operations at VMDK granularity
      • “Virtual Volume” abstraction – No more LUNs, no more mount points
      • VMs in virtual storage pool
      • Per-VM storage operations
      • No datastore scale limits
    • Virtual flash frameworks
      • Local flash storage pool
      • Allows VMs to share server flash while allowing vMotion
      • Intelligent VM placement on flash characteristics
      • vMotion and DRS integrated
      • Converts server flash to another pool, like CPU and memory
      • Accelerates performance for mission critical apps by 5-10x
  • Enabling Scale out DAS
    • Aggregates locally attached storage creating a distributed storage datastore for VM consumption
    • Integrates with HA, vMotion, DRS, snapshots, etc.
    • Primary use cases – VDI, Test/Dev, big data, DR target

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