I do not necessarily endorse or recommend FalconStor NSS over competing products from more familiar names, but I commend them for adding VAAI support. There the first small vendor to do so, and their software virtualization platform spreads the availability of this important software capability.
I am often questioned during my Storage for Virtual Environments seminar presentations about VMware’s Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA). This system is fairly straightforward and concept: VMware provides native multipathing support for a variety of storage arrays, and allows third parties to substitute their own plug-ins at various points in the stack. But the profusion of acronyms and third-party options makes it difficult for end-users to figure out what is going on.
VMware’s vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) is one of the most-important storage technology advances of the decade, allowing the ESX to integrate and coordinate operations with supported enterprise storage arrays. IBM was notably absent from the party, but they’ve turned on the VAAI heat, releasing full support for the XIV and SVC and promising DS8000 in the near future.
Although the core issues with thin provisioning revolve around communication, it presents unique challenges to the storage array as well. We talked about granularity of pages, and the comments for that piece were extremely enlightening. Now let’s consider another key factor: Scheduling.
The most exciting enhancements in VMware vSphere 4.1 is the addition of vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI). This new API allows VMware ESX to offload storage processing functions to capable storage arrays, reducing the workload on the server hardware in introducing new and exciting possibilities for performance and efficiency. VAAI in ESX 4.1 includes three separate capabilities: block zeroing, full copy, and hardware assisted locking.
Today, IBM alerted the world that they had not fallen asleep at the wheel by kicking out an awfully-impressive midrange storage array, the Storwize V7000. This seems like an excellent device, filled with proven engineering borrowed from the successful SAN Volume Controller (SVC) line of storage virtualization products. But closer examination (and IBM’s own Tony Pearson) reveal that it contains exactly nothing from their Storwize acquisition apart from the name.
The first storage performance horseman is spindles: If you don’t have enough disk units, performance will suffer. I have been laying out storage on enterprise arrays since the dark ages, and one of the first lessons I learned was allocating data to avoid hotspots. I remember spending hours back in the 1990’s hunched over custom Excel spreadsheets […]
Looking around at the enterprise storage landscape, it is plain that certain archetypes rule: Monolithic enterprise arrays, dual-controller modular arrays, standard-sized hard disk units, NAS servers, tape libraries. Are these really the optimal designs for storage in our modern open systems world? On the contrary, I suggest that the enterprise storage world we know was […]
Just over three months after releasing Update 2 for ESX 3.5, VMware has released Update 3. That last Update brought major storage changes like VSS support, hot VMFS extension, Storage VMotion across Fibre Channel and iSCSI, and support for 10 Gb Ethernet and 8 Gb FC support. For more information on Update 2, see my […]
There is a battle shaping up in the enterprise storage industry. On one side are those who see flash storage as an upgrade for the disk drive, and on the other are those who see it as a cache between the CPU and the drive. It’s a fundamental difference of opinion – flash chips can […]