VMworld 2016: Virtual Volumes Deep Dive

Session STO7645

*LUNS Suck

Pain Points: Siloed management, rigid infrastructure, complex process, no visibility into storage, capabilities applied at the LUN level, vendor specific configuration required, LUN sprawl.

VVOls offer: storage policy-based management, capabilities applied at the disk level. Consumed on demand.

Storage policy-based model simplifies operations significantly

What are VVols?

  • Virtual disks are natively represented on an array
  • Enabled VM granular storage operations
  • Supports FC, iSCSI, NFS
  • Based on T10 industry standards
  • Uses a VASA provider for the control path
  • No filesystem
  • Data services offloaded to array
  • 5 types of VVols: Config, Data, Mem, Swap, Other

Data Plane

  • Storage container – Storage admins create the container that sets the array capabilities. Can be sized up/down as needed.
  • Virtual datastore uses protocol end points to talk to the array
  • End points can be iSCSI, NFS v3, FC, FCoE
  • Existing multi-pathing policies and NFS topology requirements can be applied to PE (protocol endpoint)
  • PEs are provided by the VASA provider to vSphere

Management Plane

  • Storage policy-based management – App centric automation
  • Intelligent placement
  • Automation at scale through policy
  • Single VASA provider can manage multiple arrays
  • ESX and vCenter server connect to VASA provider

VVols in Operation

  • Create VMs
  • Assign a VM storage policy
  • Choose a suitable datastore


  • Snapshots may be read-only or read/write
  • Managed snapshot – Created by vSphere
  • Unmanaged snapshot – Created and managed by array
  • Snapshot creation is offloaded to array
  • Snapshots impose no I/O penalty and can very quickly revert with re-playing logs

Future Considerations

  • Integrate data services – Replication, encryption, device advancements
  • Simplify management – Usability, operate at scale
  • VASA Replication model – “Replication group” between “fault domains”
  • Sync, failover, test failover, reverse replication


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