VVol Technical Overview

Another great session at PEX 2015 by Rawlinson Rivera.

Traditional storage architectures can’t keep up:

  • Specialized and costly HW – Not commodity, low utilization, overprovisioning
  • Device-centric silos – Static classes of service, rigid provisioning, lack of granular control
  • Complex processes – Lack of automation, time consuming processes, slow reaction to request

Hypervisor Enables App-Centric Storage Automation

  • Knows the needs of all apps in real time
  • Sits directly in the I/O path
  • Has global view of all underlying storage systems
  • Can configure storage dynamically
  • Hardware agnostic

Traditional Model – long provisioning cycles, managing LUNs, complex, frequent data migrations

App-Centric Automation – Dynamic delivery of storage services when needed. Fine control of data services at the VM level. Common management across heterogeneous devices.

vSphere Virtual Volumes

  • Virtualizes SAN and NAS devices
  • Virtual disks are natively represented on arrays
  • Enables VM granular storage operations using array-based data services
  • Storage policy-based management enables automated consumption at scale
  • Industry-wide initiative supported by major storage vendors
  • Included with vSphere

What is a VVol?

  • Five types of VVols (objects): Config, Data, MEM, SWAP, Other
  • NO filesystem needed (VMFS is history)
  • Virtual machine objects are stored natively on the array

Storage Container

  • Logical storage constructs for grouping of virtual volumes
  • Typically defined by storage administrators on the array in order to define storage capacity allocation and restrictions
  • Capacity is based on physical storage capacity

Differences between Storage Container and LUNs

  • SC Size based on array capacity
  • Max number of SCs depends on the array
  • Size of SC can be extended
  • LUNs need a filesystem, fixed size mandates more number of LUNs

Protocol End Points

  • Access points that enables communications between ESXi hosts and storage array systems
  • Scope of Protocol End Points: iSCSI, NFS v3, FC, FCoE
  • A protocol endpoint can support any one of the protocols at a given time
  • End points receive SCSI or NFS reads, write commands
  • Storage container – For large number of VMs metadata and data files

Management Plane

  • VASA Provider (VP) – Developed by storage array vendors
  • Single VASA provider can manage multiple arrays
  • VASA provider can be implemented within the array or as a virtual appliance
  • Out of band communications
  • ESX and vCenter server connect to VASA provider

Storage Capabilities and VM Storage Policies

  • Are array based features and data services specifications that capture storage requirements that can be satisified by a storage array’s advertised capabilities.
  • Storage array capabilities define what the array can offer to storage containers as opposed to what the VM requires
  • VM storage policies is a component of the storage policy based management framework (SPBM)
  • Published capability – Array based features and data services. Advertised to ESX through VASA APIs
  • Managed on a per vDisk basis
  • Has a concept of compliance to ensure service level is being met

Operations Scenarios

  • Can offload: VM provisioning, machine deletes, full clones, linked clones, snapshots
  • Snapshots: Managed by ESX OR managed by the array

Note: SRM will NOT support vVols in this release. You will need to wait for the next release for this support.

Q&A: Future VVols will allow storage pool to span physical arrays.

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