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Mar 14 2015

Only 4 vendors support VVOLs on Day 1 of vSphere 6 GA

VMware has added a new category to their Hardware Compatibility Guide specifically to show vendor support for Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) called vSphere APIs for Virtual Volumes (VVols). On Day 1 of the vSphere 6 launch just 4 partners showed up as supporting VVOLs on their storage arrays, those partners & supported models are shown below:

VVOL-HCL

Below is a detailed listing if you click on one:

VVOLs-HCL2

A summary of the the full list of what storage array models are currently supported by those partners is shown in the below table:

PartnerModelsArray TypeFW/OS Ver.Features
HP3PAR StoreServ 7000 & 10000 StorageFiber Channel3.2.1
IBMXIVFiber Channel11.5.1Multi-VC,VPHA (active-passive)
NEC iStorage M110, M310, M510, M710Fiber Channel & iSCSI010A
SANBlaze TechnologyVirtuaLUNFiber Channel & iSCSI7.3Multi-VC,VPHA (active-active)

I few things to note about the above:

  • Of the 3 original VVOLs design partners (HP-Fiber Channel, Dell-iSCSI, NetApp-NFS) only HP delivered day 1 support for VVOLs. This doesn’t mean the other arrays don’t support VVOLs yet, their array firmware may very well support it but they haven’t completed the certification process yet. Expect to see more show up as vendors complete their certification process.
  • The Features field in the VVOLs listing is a bit mis-leading as it doesn’t indicate which storage array features each vendors supports with VVOLs such as snapshots, QoS, thin provisioning, etc. No vendor specific features are part of the certification process, the tests may use specific features but it doesn’t know what those features are. Instead this column lists features related to the implementation such as if multiple vCenter Servers (Multi-VC) are supported with the VASA Provider and if the VASA Provider has High Availability (VPHA) features built-in. Note vendors can choose to implement their VASA Provider embedded within the array or externally as a VM or physical server. Of the ones listed I know that 3PAR implements their VASA Provider in the array and IBM’s is external as part of their Storage Integration Server.
  • Certification is protocol specific, right now all 4 vendors support Fiber Channel and only NEC & SANBlaze supports iSCSI. Expect to see NetApp show up as supporting NFS and Dell EqualLogic as supporting iSCSI.
  • In the listing their is Profile section which lists Virtual Metro Storage Cluster, all arrays listed say No for this as vMSC is currently not supported with VVOLs.
  • The VASA provider version is based on VMware’s current VASA Provider specification. Version 2.0 was the new VASA Provider spec in vSphere 6 that was specifically developed to support VVOLs replacing the version 1.0 in vSphere 5.x. I’d have to check the latest specification document but I’m assuming 2.1 was an incremental upgrade to this. I have no idea why SANBlaze lists their as 7.3.

UPDATE:

On the VASA Provider version I checked with our engineering team and that is the version specific to each vendors VASA Provider. So this is not related to VMware’s  VASA 2.0 specification and is really up to the vendor on how they want to version their specific VASA provider.

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2 comments

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  1. Nick Howell (@datacenterdude)

    Disclosure: Nick Howell from NetApp

    Wanted to shed some light on a couple of things…

    This is all about the VASA Vendor Provider, as that is REQUIRED to support VVOLs. It’s a completely new architecture. This is something NetApp (and myself) have been working very closely with VMware on for going-on five years. (Also, I believe it was HDS, not HP, for the FC contribution to the spec. Not 100% sure on that, but what I’ve always been led to believe.)

    In the 11th hour, we chose quality, and delayed a bit to sneak in some additional [needed] enhancements, at a cost of a few weeks of additional dev/QA time on our VSC/VP plugins.

    You’re spot-on with the storage controller part, as we’ve been “VVOL-ready” in that respect since Data ONTAP 8.2 in June 2014.

    If anyone wants to check out how our integrations will work, they can take the Hands-On-Lab from VMworld 2014, as we were part of the open beta as well, and heavily demo’ed our VSC/VASA integrations in that lab.

    We’ll be out before you know it. If anyone switched over their infrastructure to vSphere 6 and all VVOL’s on Day 1, I would love to meet you. 🙂

    As far as our support, NetApp will support FC, iSCSI, and NFS protocol endpoints. The only one that I know of that supports all three. Look for some blog posts from me and the team on this coming very soon (on holdout until the new versions launch).

    -Nick

  2. esiebert7625

    Thanks for the update Nick on where NetApp is at, I know they have been pretty visible with showing off and talking about VVols over the past year so I was actually surprised to not see NetApp listed. It’s understandable about the last minute engineering, it certainly was no easy task for storage vendors to make the major changes necessary to their arrays to support VVols. I think that is really evidenced by the so few vendors that currently support VVols.

    I can confirm HP is the FC reference platform, 3PAR was chosen before the HP acquisition of 3PAR. I’ve been pretty heavily involved with VVols as well on the HP side.

    Look forward to finding out more about NetApp’s implementation of VVols.

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