Tag Archive: VVols

Jan 18 2016

Customer adoption of VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols)

Tom Fenton recently published an article on Virtualization Review detailing the current state of VMware’s new Virtual Volume (VVol) storage architecture. In the article he polled a few vendors to find out what they are seeing as far as customer adoption of VVols. A few vendors responded including myself, both HDS & Dell did not have an accurate way to track adoption and where mainly relying on customer feedback. They are mainly seeing customers testing it out right now and using it in Dev/Test environments. HDS stated one of the limiters to VVol adoption is customers still on vSphere 5.5 and Dell stated customers are still trying to understand it better before diving in.

At HPE, we can track actual usage of VVol adoption via our array phone home capability which provides us with some usages stats on the array. In the article based on my feedback Tom wrote that we had seen at least 600 3PAR arrays with the VVols VASA Provider enabled within the array. More recent numbers puts that at around 720 arrays, but its important to note that this just means they have the potential to use VVols, not that they have VMs running on VVol storage. More detailed stats show that about 50 customers have created VMs on VVol storage. So this is pretty much inline with what other vendors are seeing which is pretty light adoption of VVols right now.

VVols has been available as part of vSphere 6 for almost a year now (March 2015), so why aren’t more people using it? There are probably a lot of reasons for this including:

  • Customers haven’t migrated to vSphere 6
  • Array firmware doesn’t support VVol
  • Lack of replication capabilities in VASA 2.0
  • Lack of knowledge/understanding of VVols
  • Limited scalability and feature support in some implementations
  • It’s essentially a 1.0 architecture

In my previous post on when customers would start adopting VVols I went into a lot more detail on the barriers/challenges to VVol adoption. I expect usage to pickup within the next year or so based on a number of factors:

  • VASA 3.0 with replication support in the next vSphere release
  • More arrays support for VVols
  • Increased scalability and more feature support
  • More mature implementation from VMware and array vendors
  • Better understanding of VVols and how to implement it

Until then I expect to see steadily increased usage of VVols, like any new technology or feature, adoption is almost always slow at first as customers are often cautious about jumping right in to something new. The same growing pains were apparent with VSAN as well when it was released as a 1.0 new storage architecture. If your array supports VVols I encourage you to definitely try it out and learn all you can about it as VVols is the future and at some point I expect VMFS to be phased out just like ESX was. If you are looking for resources to learn more about VVols be sure and check out my huge ever-growing VVols link collection and also my VMworld 2015 STO5888 session that VMware has made publicly available.

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Sep 29 2015

Want to learn more about VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols), here’s 3 great sessions to help you

VMware recently released about 50 VMworld 2015 sessions to the general public and within those there are 3 great sessions on VVols that will help you better understand the architecture and what VVols is all about. The sessions are all pretty technical which is good, one is from VMware and two of them are from storage partners (one of them is mine!).

The first session features Ken Werneburg and Patrick Dirks from VMware, Ken is a storage technical marketing guy and Patrick is on the engineering side so their is a lot of great technical deep dive content on VVols in this session.

STO4649 – Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive (Ken Werneburg, VMware – Patrick Dirks, VMware)

The second session features Andy Banta from SolidFire along with Ken Werneburg from VMware, it has a lot of cool real world analogies that explain how the components in VVols work.

STO5074 – Explaining Advanced Virtual Volumes Configurations (Ken Werneburg, VMware – Andy Banta, SolidFire)

The final session is mine and covers a wide range of topics on VVols including the architecture, benefits, migration, VAAI, implementation, thin provisioning and snapshots, backups and much more.

STO5888 – Top 10 Thing You MUST Know Before Implementing Virtual Volumes (Eric Siebert, HP)

And if after watching these you want to learn even more about VVols check out my huge Virtual Volumes link collection which also features links specific to each vendor.

 

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Sep 16 2015

New Virtual Volumes (VVols) technical papers from VMware

VMware has recently published 3 new technical papers that focus on their new Virtual Volumes (VVols) storage architecture that are definitely worth a read.

The first is a FAQ which does a good job summarizing important information around VVols and provides you a lot of quick facts around the architecture and implementation of VVols.

The next is a What’s New paper for Virtual Volumes, this one is about 6 months late as their is nothing new with VVols since the initial release in vSphere 6.0 in March but better late than never. This one is more a general tech paper on VVols and does an introduction to VVols and also covers the architecture and benefits of VVols.

The last one is a Getting Started Guide and is a walkthrough of how to use VVols from a vSphere perspective which covers things like how to make sure time is synced, creating a Storage Container, working with Storage Policies and assigning them to VMs. It’s designed to be used together with your array documentation that should cover the array side setup for VVols. The guide also covers some vSphere CLI commands for managing VVols components using escli.

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Jul 10 2015

Comparing Virtual Volume (VVol) limits to VMFS/NFS limits

I was going through some VVol documentation and found this comparison between VVol limits and VMFS/NFS limits in vSphere 6.0:

VMFS/NFS Limits#VVol Limits#
VMDK size64TBData VVol size64TB
Virtual Disks per host2,048VVols bound to a host4,096*
LUNs/NAS mounts per host256Protocol Endpoints per host256
Volume size64TBStorage Container size2 ^ 64**
Volumes per host256Storage Containers per host256
Adapter Queue depth32Adapter Queue depth32
Configured VASA Providers per host128
Configured VVol‐managed
storage arrays per ESXi host
64

* A host can see more than 4096 VVols, but can have only 4096 VVols bound at any given point in time (binding occurs when a VM is powered on)
** ridiculously large number

Some additional notes:

  • While multiple VVol Storage Containers are supported, it’s up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. Today many vendors only support a single Storage Container which encompasses an entire storage array.
  • While multiple VVol Protocol Endpoints are supported, it’s up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. Today most vendors only support a single Protocol Endpoint for the entire storage array.
  • The minimum size of a VVol is 1MB. Storage arrays must support at least 2TB VVols.
  • The maximum size of a data‐VVol is as large as whatever vSphere supports (62TB). The maximum size of a config‐VVol is currently 4GB. ESXi hosts will never try to create a virtual volume larger than what the array advertises as maximum.
  • The maximum number of VVols supported by a storage array is up to each vendor to decide what they want to support. The maximum number of VVols required by VMs in a cluster of ESXi hosts is the product of maximum number of virtual disks per VM (60), maximum number of snapshots per virtual disk (32), and maximum number of VMs per vCenter cluster (10,000). This make the theoretical maximum around 19 million total VVols.
  • The minimum number VVols a powered-on VM will have is 3 (config, swap, data) (swap goes away when VM is powered off). Each snapshot will add at least one additional VVol per virtual disk (plus an additional if memory state is selected). The maximum number of VVols a powered-on VM could have is around 2,000: 1 – config, 1 – swap, 60 – data, 1,920 – snapshots (60×32), 32 – memory state.
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Apr 24 2015

Another VVols webinar from Taneja Group featuring VMware speakers

Another VVols webinar coming up from Taneja Group who is doing a whole series of webinars on VVols, the first which was on April 2nd and I participated in was a panel discussion with several storage vendors (NetApp, HP, NexGen & Dell) giving their views and opinions on VVols. The next one on April 30th features two speakers from VMware: Juan Novella (Product Marketing Manager) and Ken Werneburg (Senior Technical Marketing Architect). It should be a good and informative session and it is the prelude to some additional Taneja deep dive webinars on VVols from individual vendors. I’ve signed on to represent HP at one which will be held in May. So click the link below and register and find out what VMware has to say about VVols.


Join us for the first in a series of fast-paced and informative 60-minute webinars, as we discuss with VMware one of the hottest topics in the datacenter: VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol). VVol is the industry’s first solution to enable native virtual machine-awareness across a broad range of SAN/NAS arrays. VVol is packaged as a feature in nearly all VMware vSphere Editions and is being embraced by storage partners at an unprecedented rate. IT professionals, especially those involved in datacenter operations, are showing great interest in implementing VVol in their own environments.

This moderated session features Juan Novella and Ken Werneburg, VVol experts from VMware, who will discuss VVol technology, the rapidly expanding ecosystem, and the impact this game-changing capability will have in the datacenter. Attendees will be encouraged to submit their questions during the session.

Panelists:
Juan Novella, Product Marketing Manager – Storage; VMware
Ken Werneburg, Senior Architect – Technical Marketing; VMware

VVols-disrupt

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Apr 14 2015

3 new vendors added to the VMware Virtual Volumes Compatibility Guide

I posted about a month ago that only 4 vendors supported VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) on Day 1 of the vSphere launch. Now a month later 3 more vendors have completed their certification of VVols with vSphere 6 and have been added to the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide: NetApp, Hitachi (HDS) and Fujitsu. The following table outlines all the vendors that currently support VVols:

PartnerModelsArray TypeFW/OS Ver.FeaturesVASA Provider
HP3PAR StoreServ 7000 & 10000 StorageFiber Channel3.2.1Internal
IBMXIVFiber Channel11.5.1Multi-VC,VPHA (active-passive)External
NEC iStorage M110, M310, M510, M710Fiber Channel & iSCSI010A
SANBlaze TechnologyVirtuaLUNFiber Channel & iSCSI7.3Multi-VC,VPHA (active-active)
NetAppFAS3200, FAS6200, FAS 8000 SeriesNAS8.2.3External
Hitachi (HDS)NAS 4060, NAS 4080, NAS 4100NAS12.2.3753.08External
FujitsuETERNUS DX100 S3, DX200 S3, DX500 S3, DX600 S3, DX200 FFiber Channel & iSCSIV10

Note: be sure and check the VMware HCG for the latest information

Of the 3 new vendors, NetApp was one of the original VMware design partners of VVols, Dell was also a design partner so its odd that they have not completed certification yet. Also I had thought NetApp had said they would support VVols on all protocols and were the only vendor that supported that right now but they are currently only listed as supporting NAS at the moment.

Be sure and check out my ever growing Virtual Volumes link and information page for all the latest info from each vendor.

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