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Nov 18 2016

Which storage vendors support VVols 2.0 in vSphere 6.5?

Answer: Not many at all. The vSphere 6.5 release introduces the next iteration of VVols that is built on the updated VASA 3.0 specification that brings support for array based replication which was not supported with VVols in vSphere 6. If you take a look at the VVols HCL for vSphere 6.5 there are only 4 vendors listed there for supporting VVols right  now. This is pretty much in line with what happened with the first release of VVols in vSphere 6, only 4 vendors supported VVols on day 1 of the vSphere 6 launch as well.

vvols20-day1The 4 vendors listed in the HCL for supporting VVols in vSphere 6.5 are Fujitisu, Hitachi (HDS), HPE & Huawei. One thing that is not clear though is of those 4 vendors, which of them support replication with VVols. I had heard that there would be an indication of some sort in the HCL listing if a vendor supported VVol replication, presumably this would be listed in the Feature section. If this is the case it looks like there are no vendors that support VVol replication yet. Supporting VVols in vSphere 6.5 doesn’t automatically mean that you support replication as well. I know with HPE specifically, 3PAR does not yet support replication despite supporting VVols in vSphere 6.5, replication support will be coming in an upcoming 3PAR OS release.

I’m not really surprised by the lack of support on day 1 as implementing replication of VVols is complicated and requires a lot of development work. I’ve seen this first hand as I sit in on weekly meetings with the 3PAR VVol development team. To be fair, I don’t expect most vendors to rush their VVol support out the door as there are not really a lot of customers that are upgrading to vSphere 6.5 on day 1. The VVol design partners and reference platforms (HPE, Dell, NetApp) have an edge as they have been working longer at it and also working close with VMware to develop and test VVols through the vSphere 6.5 development lifecycle so I would expect them to be quicker to market with VVols 2.0 support.

So if you don’t see your vendor on the HCL today, have patience as they will likely introduce support for VVols when they are are ready. Remember that VVols is a specification that VMware dictates and it’s up to each vendor to develop their own capabilities within that specification however that want to. I suspect if you check the HCL again in 3 months it will start to grow larger, I’m sure Dell, NetApp and Nimble may be there soon. So stay tuned, if you’re really antsy to replicate VVols check with your storage vendor and ask them when they will deliver it. VVols 2.0 delivers both maturity in the VASA specification as well as replication support so it’s going to be worth the wait.

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