VMware introduces Virtual Volumes in vSphere 6
VMware has introduced a new storage option in vSphere 6 with the addition of Virtual Volumes.
Virtual Volumes expands upon VMware’s virtualized storage infrastructure that began with their VSAN product by allowing the power of the hypervisor to extend to an organizations storage array. With VMwares new VASA 2.0 API, it allows an organizations storage array to take advantage of Virtual Volumes and expand storage into the Software Defined Datacenter.
Traditional storage is a hardware centric model that focuses upon Luns and the devices that connect to those Luns. Luns act as both the unit of storage and the communication target of an ESXi host. Storage arrays recognize these luns and perform storage functions on the Luns themselves and not individual virtual machine VMDKs. Virtual Volumes removes the physical restrictions of only recognizing Luns and not VMDKs as objects in storage themselves. Virtual Volumes use storage containers to hold VMDKs and the array recognizes the VMDKs as unique objects in storage and can perform operations like cloning and deployment on these individual VMDKs, as opposed to working with entire Luns in a VMFS based infrastructure. The physical size limitations of Luns(64 TBs)are no longer a drawback as Virtual Volumes storage containers can be as large as the entire array’s storage size. Also, Virtual Volumes no longer need a Lun to connect to, to establish communications between the ESXi host and the target. This communication function has been separated from the storage function and is established by what is known as a Protocol Endpoint. By separating the functions of the storage container from the communications function, Virtual Volumes can improve performance.
Another major improvement that comes with Virtual Volumes is in the new VASA 2.0 API. The new API allows the storage array to pass on all of its capabilities to ESXi, which can then be used to create storage policies to ensure SLAs and add to performance optimization via automation and more predictable storage needs.
To learn more about VMware’s Virtual Volumes and other new features in vSphere 6, sign up for one of vSandbox’s upcoming vSphere 6 classes today!!
Frank Berardi VCI, VCP
Director of Educational Services