When it comes to configuring a virtual environment, VMware offers three types of disks to choose from– the thin disk, the thick lazy zeroed disk and the thick eager zeroed disk. What you choose is critical to avoiding outages and wasted space, but also to scale out your storage dynamically. At the recent Tech Field Day Extra at VMware Explore US 2022 event, Pure Storage showcased vVols or Virtual Volumes, a storage management framework that allows enterprises to leverage the best of all three types.
A Waste of Array-Based Features
One of the biggest data mobility challenges that exist between environments is low virtual disk granularity that keeps enterprises from fully leveraging individual array-based capabilities.
When enterprises need to share datasets that are on-premises to users in other environments, they find themselves natively replicating that data. This costs a lot of money in the cloud for one. For another, this kind of replication does not provide the high granularity required to leverage array-based features at a VM level.
Granularity at a VM Level
vVols provides that array-level granularity allowing administrators to automatically manage, provision and create storage policies on the virtual disks or VMs. Instead of replicating datasets the traditional way, vVols replicates data natively to cloud block store, in this case the Pure Storage FlashArray.
Principal Field Solutions Architect, David Stamen says, “This gives administrators the ability to utilize those clone datasets at a major deduplication giving you performance and capacity efficiencies all of which you don’t get natively in the cloud.”
vVols for Finer Control and Flexibility on the VMware Infrastructure
Built into vSphere, vVols is a framework for storage integration and management. vVols uses the storage policy-based management (SPBM) operational model that uses descriptive policies for VMs. These policies can be instantly implemented or changed as the situation demands. The SPBM model eliminates storage provisioning and allows for faster operations, requiring low specialized skills.
Being a raw volume, vVols has the raw performance of thick eager disks, but also the capacity efficiencies of thin disks as it is a thin provision disk. Pure Storage says with vVols, customers are “truly on the edge of bleeding high-performance applications.”
At the recent Tech Field Day Extra at VMware Explore US 2022 event, Stamen gave a presentation on vVols. Recapping what vVols is, he talked about why they are widely used by customers and offered several demos. He was later joined by his colleague, Principal Technologist, Andrew Miller who gave an overview of what’s new with vVols in 2022.
vVols works by abstracting storage systems. It enables policy-based storage management across heterogenous systems from diverse vendors thus allowing administrators to leverage the specific capabilities built into the arrays to meet the varying needs of workloads.
At the core, vVols is designed to simplify storage provisioning and infrastructure management. By aggregating data stores from across platforms into a single layer through which VM admins can manage them all effectively, it eliminates serial tasks like storage provisioning, certain traditional management tasks, integration works and more, saving valuable time and expertise.
The single management plane makes available the distinctive features of underlying arrays and solutions that tend to get lost when multiple solutions are piled up on top of one another. vVols unlocks features like data cloning, snapshots, economic replication and Quality of Service making sure that admins are able to allocate the best matching functionalities to the VMs, thus providing higher granularity and tighter control at a VM level.
With tighter control over storage provisioning, enterprises can allocate system capacity based on the demands of the applications instead of pre-allocating it to the hosts based on the scaling predictions. vVol’s instant space reclamation feature frees up capacity the moment a VM is deleted in the system and makes it available to allocate. This ensures maximum utilization of storage at minimum cost.
Without question, vVols is a value addition to the software-defined datacenters. Enabling administrators to granularly match storage to the demands of individual workloads in the VMs, it prevents significant capacity wastage. With its single management layer, administrators can better control disparate storage entities, irrespective of the vendors. Automation of integration and provisioning helps control operational costs on one hand and expedite service delivery on the other. In short, vVols is a useful tool for overall simplification of SAN storage and consistent infrastructure management.
For more on vVols, be sure to check out Pure Storage’s other presentations from the recent Tech Field Day Extra at VMware Explore US 2022 or this week’s Gestalt IT Rundown which discusses vVols and more.