This year for my Truth in IT seminars, Iâ€™m shifting away from virtualization to focus on enterprise storage once again. But this wonâ€™t be any ordinary â€œstorage 101â€ seminar. Rather than trying to talk about every element, Iâ€™m focused on whatâ€™s new!
Virtualization is a disruptive technology in every sense of the word. By abstracting and simplifying physical resources, virtualization enables dynamic utilization. But this â€œtranslationâ€ from physical to virtual disrupts the assumptions that enable performance and flexibility of physical devices such as storage arrays.
Storage arrays are big, expensive, and difficult to manage. Plus, concentrating storage in a single device puts everything at risk if there is an outage. So why buy a storage array at all? Arrays do a few things very well, and this often makes up for the difference, on balance.
The time has come to take sides on the core question of storage for virtual servers: Do you want storage intelligence to live in the hypervisor or the array? Most administrators are already lining up on one side or the other, unintentionally casting their vote while the rest flounder. But the storage industry must wake up and embrace the divide.
VMwareâ€™s introduced the â€œvStorage APIs for Array Integrationâ€ (VAAI) in vSphere 4.1, and block-heads like me went nuts. Weâ€™ve been trying to integrate storage and servers for decades, and VMwareâ€™s APIs finally allowed this to work in truly seamless fashion. But the world of VAAI is a thicket of bizarre naming and puzzling functionality. Some VAAI primitives are ignored or even hidden! Letâ€™s take a look at the complete list.