VMware VVols Today: Part 1 – What VMware has delivered so far

This is a multi-part series covering various aspects of VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) from support to adoption to benefits to predictions and more. In part 1 we’ll take a look at what VMware has delivered so far with VVols and the VASA specification.

In the first part of this series on VVols let’s do a brief history of the timeline for VMware’s development of VVols:

  • August 2011 – VMware first introduces the concept of VVols at VMworld
  • August 2012 – VMware shows off tech preview of VVols at VMworld
  • July 2014 – VMware make VVols available as a public beta
  • March 2015 – VVols 1.0 makes its initial debute as part of vSphere 6.0
  • November 2016 – VVols 2.0 is released as part of vSphere 6.5 with support for array replication
  • November 2017 – vSphere 6.7 includes minor VVols enhancements
  • August 2018 – VMware announces VVols support for SRM

From this timeline we can see that VMware has been working on the development of VVols for over 7 years and it has been part of vSphere for almost 4 years. That’s a pretty long time but what’s important to note is it’s been a bit of a work in progress as VVols required massive engineering on VMware’s part, to get VVols to work VMware had to request changes to the SCSI T10 specifications and also filed patents on the new architecture.

The initial release of VVols in vSphere 6.0 had some shortcomings, the biggest being lack of support for VVols replication. In addition there was very limited partner support for VVols early, only 2 major storage vendors supported it at launch. vSphere 6.5 brought both maturity for VVols and support for array replication and I consider that to be the release that was ready for prime time. The support for array replication however came with an important caveat, there was no support for SRM and all BC/DR operations had to be manually scripted using PowerCLI which made the solution unappealing.

vSphere 6.7 further enhanced VVols in small ways and today VVols is pretty rock solid from VMware’s side. Now it’s really on the partners to build out their solutions for VVols, the only barriers that exist today for partners to do whatever they want with VVols are their engineering resources. As VVols represented a massive engineering feat from VMware the same is equally true for partners as well. VVols represents a fundamental change in how storage arrays interact with vSphere and the greatly increased number of objects that a storage array needs to support for VVols. As a result this put a pretty hefty burden on partners to engineer their arrays to support this new architecture.

The introduction of VVols also had a ripple impact on other VMware products as well, one of the biggest challenges to VVols adoption has to do with support for VVols across VMware products such as SRM, vROps, vCloud Director and more. As those products were in other BUs from the core storage development team it was up to the other product teams to prioritize their support for VVols. As a result support for VVols in other VMware products has come at varying paces. Today almost all VMware products support VVols, the lone exception being SRM but that is in the works and is expected to come next year.

So what’s next for VVols? As I mentioned VMware is mostly done with the current VASA spec for VVols and there are no longer any limitations or barriers for partners to build solutions. It may seem like VMware isn’t doing that much further development with VVols today but that’s simply not true. While VMware is waiting for partners to play catch up, I have seen the VVols roadmap going forward and there is plenty on it to optimize and enhance VVols further and support some newer storage technologies. I also know that VMware has even beefed up their VVols engineering team.

I feel that VVols is in a very good place today and VMware has done a great job to get to this point as this was no easy feat and represents almost a decade of work on their part. VVols has a bright future ahead of it and at some point I would expect that VMFS will eventually go away much like the old ESX hypervisor did when it was replaced by ESXi. The burden is mostly on partners at this point but continue to look for further refinements from VMware going forward as storage policy based management becomes the de facto standard in the virtual data center.

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Introducing Top vBlog 2018!

It’s that time of year again, well a little later then usual. My annual Top vBlog contest just kicked off and anyone can vote on their favorite VMware & virtualization blogs through 12/15. I first want to introduce our awesome official sponsor of Top vBlog 2018 which is Turbonomic again this year, also special thanks to Nutanix for helping out as well

Last year I added some additional scoring criteria and I believe those worked out well to help better define the Top vBlogs. The total points that a blog can accumulate will be based on 3 factors:

  • Public voting – total points based on how many people voted for you and how they ranked you, weighted points based on ranking (#1 vote = 12 pts, #2 vote = 11 pts…..#12 vote = 1 point)
  • # of posts published – points awarded for how many posts you had in 2017, more posts = more points, aggregators excluded, (# of 2017 posts x 2) (400 max)
  • Google PageSpeed score –  points awarded for how well your blog is designed and how efficient it is which makes for a better experience for readers, the better you score the more points awarded (Google PageSpeed score % * 200 possible points)

Total Points = Voting points + Post points + PageSpeed points

These factors combined make up the total points a blog can score and determines how they end up ranked in the final results. Some other changes and rules this year:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs (instead of 10) and also rank them in your order of preference after you pick your 12. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point.
  • Again this last year there is again a minimum blog post requirement to be eligible for Top vBlog voting, any blog that did not have at least 10 blog posts in 2017 is not included in the voting.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting.
  • Duncan Epping and Frank Denneman stepped down last year, they have both been in the top 10 for many years and have decided to not participate.

So please go vote and show the bloggers your appreciation for the hard work they do!

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Voting now open for Top vBlog 2018!

After a slight delay, voting for Top vBlog 2018 is now open! The number of blogs devoted to VMware and virtualization continues to stay at an amazingly high level, this year there are again almost 300 of them on the ballot. Here’s your chance to show your appreciation to the bloggers for all their hard work by picking your favorites which will determine the Top vBlogs for 2018. Last year over 1,600 people voted from all over the world and when the votes were tallied the top 25 bloggers were revealed. Now it’s time to do it all over again as new blogs are born and old blogs fade away and bloggers move up and down the rankings. When casting your votes please keep the following in mind about the blogs.

  • Longevity – Anyone can start a blog but it requires dedication, time & effort to keep it going. Some bloggers start a blog only to have it fall to the wayside several months later. Things always come up in life but the good bloggers keep going regardless of what is happening in their life.
  • Length – It’s easy to make a quick blog post without much content, nothing wrong with this as long as you have good content in the post that people will enjoy. But some bloggers post pretty long detailed posts which takes a lot of time and effort to produce. The tip of the hat goes to these guys that burn the midnight oil trying to get you some great detailed information.
  • Frequency – Some bloggers post several times a week which provides readers with lots of content. This requires a lot of effort as bloggers have to come up with more content ideas to write about. Frequency ties into length, some do high frequency/low length, some do low frequency/high length, some do both. They’re all good and require a lot of time and effort on the bloggers part.
  • Quality – It all comes down to whats in the blog post regardless of how often or how long the blog posts are. After reading a blog post if you come away with learning something that you did not previously know and it benefits you in some way then you know you are reading a quality post. Good quality is usually the result of original content, its easy to re-hash something previously published elsewhere, the good bloggers come up with unique content or put their own unique spin on popular topics.

So please take all this into account when casting your votes, here are some more details on the voting:

  • Again this year you can pick 12 of your favorite blogs and then rank them in your order of preference. The results will be weighted with a #1 ranking getting 12 points and a #12 ranking getting 1 point. Point totals will be tabulated and from them the top 100 will be determined.
  • Blogs are listed on the ballot with the current top 100 blogs listed first with their current ranking and the rest of the blogs listed below them alphabetically. So please go through the whole list when making your choices.
  • Note that blogs that did not have at least 10 posts in 2017 are not eligible to participate and not listed Also note that Duncan Epping (Yellow Bricks) and Frank Denneman chose not to participate this year.
  • Again this year we also having voting in special categories to help distinguish certain types of blogs. The choices of which blogs to include in the categories was the result of this survey and my best guessing. The categories are independent of the general voting so first pick and rank your top 12 overall favorite blogs and then choose your favorite blog in each category.
  • Voting will run until 12/15, afterwards the results will be determined and announced on a special live podcast.
  • Duplicate vote protection is enabled, we’ll be using geolocation, IP addresses & cookies to protect against duplicate votes. This isn’t Chicago, please be honest and fair when voting, any suspicious votes will be tossed.
  • If you are not familiar with a blog you can click on it in the survey to view it or use my vLaunchpad to see links to them all. Try not to pick blogs based just on names but also take content into account. There are a lot of good blogs currently not in the top 50 that deserve to be there.
  • Also please keep it classy and don’t try and work the voting system to get your blog ranked as high as possible.

Of course all this is made possible by Turbonomic who is the official sponsor for Top vBlog 2018!

So what are you waiting for, head on over and take the survey to cast your ballot and reward the best bloggers for their hard work and dedication by letting them know that you appreciate them.

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History of VMware vQuiz results and winners

Over 200 people took the vQuiz to test their knowledge on how well they know the history of VMware through a series of 20 timed questions. I made the questions fairly challenging and I didn’t expect to see any person get all 20 questions correct and that was mostly the case. In fact I may have made it a bit too challenging as more than half the people who took the quiz got 10 or less answers correct. There was one very obscure question in particular that I was confident almost nobody would get correct. Below are the results and answers of the quiz to help educate everyone on history of VMware. Scroll down to the end to see the people who scored the highest and won the Amazon gift cards.

All future quiz’s will have sponsors and better prizes, if you are interested in sponsoring a themed vQuiz (i.e. storage, performance, VVols, cloud, backups, etc…) reach out to me and let me know. Sponsored quiz’s will feature a mix of general questions specific to the topic and some related to the sponsor.

QuestionAnswer% CorrectComments
What year was VMware founded in?

199871%Remember the 20 year anniversary this year!
What release was the High Availability feature introduced in? Virtual Center 2.545%#2 answer was vCenter Server 4.0 (28%)
What was the original marketing name for the hypervisor that was abbreviated to ESX? Elastic Sky X79%The question most people got correct
What year was the first VMworld held? 200449%In San Diego, CA at the Hyatt Convention Center, was the size of a VMUG UserCon back then (1,400)
Who was VMware's co-founder and chief scientist? Mendel Rosenblum49%Thought more people would get this correct, #2 answer was Stephen Herrod (16%)
The vSphere product name was introduced in what new release? ESX 4.0 & vCenter 4.053%I remember this well as it was a big shock to everyone, was the successor to VI3
What year did EMC announce their intent to acquire VMware?200312%Has it really been that long, #1 answer was 2007 (36%)
The very first VMworld was held in what US city?San Diego, CA36%I didn't think many would know this as the 1st VMworld only had 1,400 attendees, #2 answer was San Fran (34%)
Before joining EMC and eventually becoming VMware's CEO, which company did Pat Gelsinger work at for 30 years?Intel70%#2 answer was IBM (15%)
What was the very first virtualization product that VMware released in 1999?Workstation56%Remember GSX (Server) that was the #2 answer (31%), GSX & ESX were released the same year (2001)
Who was VMware's Chief Marketing Officer before Robin Matlock filled the position in 2013Rick Jackson34%CMO is usually not that visible and it shows, #2 answer was Carl Eschenbach (32%), Rick Vanover (Veeam) was chosen 12%
VMware has had 3 CEO's over the years, who took over as CEO in 2008 succeeding Diane GreenePaul Maritz66%Thought more would know this but it was a decade ago, #2 answer was Pat Gelsinger (19%) (huh?)
What was the original code name for the company before it was officially called VMware? Disco16%I didn't know this either, I stumbled upon it in an obscure Stephen Herrod interview: "Our original code name for the company was Disco, because it was a cool idea from the 1970s that we wanted to bring back", most people answered Merlin (45%)
Who succeeded Stephen Herrod as VMware's CTO in 2014?Ben Fathi 23%His tenure as CTO was short 2014-2015 so not alot of people remembered him, Ray O'Farrell was the #1 answer (39%) who succeeded him in 2016
What year did VMware debut on the New York Stock Exchange with a first day closing value of $19.1 billion200723%Answers were pretty evenly split between all 5 choices
What aquatic creature is a feature attraction in the VMware Promontory pond at their Palo Alto campus?Turtle71%If you read my blog you would know this: http://vsphere-land.com/news/the-legendary-turtles-at-vmware-hq.html
The first VMworld Europe was held in February 2008 in which city?Cannes, France30%It was in Cannes the first 2 years before moving to Copenhagen, #1 answer was Barcelona (40%)
VMware announced the general availability of Virtual SAN in what year?201440%And hyper-converged madness ensued...
VMware acquired what software defined networking company in 2012?Nicira 74%#2 answer was AirWatch (12%)
VMware is celebrating this company anniversary milestone this year?20th82%If you knew the first answer or paid attention at VMworld you should have known this and it seems most people did

Winners of the vQuiz:

  • 1st: 20 answers correct in 2:07 – David Marshal
  • 2nd: 17 answers correct in 1:42 – Anthony Poh
  • 3rd: 16 answers correct in 3:17 – Dan Raymond
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Take the vQuiz and test your vKnowledge on the history of VMware

I’m starting a new feature called the vQuiz which is designed to test your knowledge on virtualization and VMware. This is a timed quiz that you have 6 minutes to complete 20 questions, each quiz has a specific theme and a sponsor and the top 3 responses that get the most questions correct in the least amount of time will win prizes from our sponsor. The questions for this quiz will be specific to the theme with a few questions specific to the sponsor.

For this inaugural quiz the theme is the History of VMware, I don’t have a sponsor for it however you can still win prizes that I am supplying in the form of Amazon gift cards. I am looking for sponsors for future quiz’s so if you are interesting please contact me and we can build a quiz to whatever theme you choose (i.e. backups, storage, cloud, etc.)  To take the quiz simply click the logo below, the quiz will be open for 2 weeks after which I will publish the correct answers and notify the top 3 winners.

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Upcoming Webinar: A Farewell to LUNs – Discover how VVols forever changes storage in vSphere

I’m hosting a webinar on Tuesday October 23rd at 8:00am PST with Pete Flecha from VMware  to discuss the many benefits of VVols and the fundamental change it will have on storage in vSphere. This webinar is basically the same as an abstract that I submitted for VMworld that wasn’t accepted and it won’t have any sales or marketing pitch in it, it’s geared to promote VVols in general terms. I’d love to see you there, we will try and make it as interesting as possible and show current adoption trends, discuss ecosystem support and highlight the pain points that VVols helps solve. You can go register for it here.

Webinar title: A Farewell to LUNs – Discover how VVols forever changes storage in vSphere
Presented by: Eric Siebert – WW Product Manager, HPE & Pete Flecha – Sr. Technical Marketing Architect, VMware


To borrow a phrase from a popular song from REM, “It’s the end of the LUN as we know it and I feel fine”. VMware VVols changes everything we know about storage for vSphere in a good way, with VVols LUN management is a thing of the past. VMware VVols represents the future of external storage for vSphere and that future is here right now. VVols also represents many years of engineering work by both VMware and its storage partners. The result of that work is a new storage architecture for vSphere that solves many of the hidden complexities inherent in VMFS and levels the playing field between file and block protocols. Learn from experts at HPE & VMware how VVols transforms external storage in vSphere, eliminates complexities and provides very real benefits to customers.

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Upcoming webinar this week: Towards near-zero data loss. What you need to get right

Data loss is a key concern for every business, especially in today’s hostile world where malware and ransomware run rampant. Vembu can help you avoid data loss and keep your critical data safe. Join the experts from Vembu on Wed. October 3rd and Thurs. October 4th for a webinar entitled “Towards near-zero data loss. What you need to get right” where you will learn:

  • How to leverage the maximum benefits from a near-zero data loss strategy
  • A virtual walk-through into the ways to achieve near-zero data loss
  • How to achieve near-zero data loss with Vembu
  • And a lot more…

By registering for the webinar you will also have a chance to win Amazon gift vouchers worth $100. Don’t wait, go sign up now!

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The legendary turtles at VMware HQ

If you have ever been to VMware’s campus in Palo Alto you have probably seen or heard of the legendary turtles that rule the little pond between the Promontory A & D buildings. I accidentally stumbled across an old blog post by VMware the other day that explained the origin of how the turtles came to be the caretakers of the pond. The story was told by VMware’s Workplace Supervisor, that when the pond was originally built they intended to put koi fish in it but they couldn’t keep them alive unless they let algae grow. They didn’t want to do that however as they wanted to keep the pond water clear so the pond sat empty for a long time.

One day while at lunch he stumbled across a turtle in a tank that the restaurant was trying to get rid of, they asked him if he wanted it and after checking to make sure there was no chemicals in the pond that might harm wildlife he stuck the turtle in a small cooler and took it back with him. He brought it to the pond and set it free and it promptly sunk to the bottom but eventually started to move around. That turtle was named Rosie and eventually they brought it a few companion turtles, from there the population started to grow and today they are up to 13 turtles enjoying the pond.

You can read the full tale here, they also have their own Facebook page and if you are ever at VMware HQ be sure and give them a visit.

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