We are a turning point in IT infrastructure. It is now possible to build a completely virtualized and abstracted data center environment, one where applications and operating systems are completely independent from server, network, and storage hardware. Join me in 2012 at a new all-day in-person seminar series as I work through the challenges of building a virtual data center.
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.
VMware is adding storage integration features to their flagship vSphere server virtualization product line at a rapid pace. From backup to enterprise array offload, VMware is staking their claim. But information about one new storage feature in vSphere 5 has been scarce: The true nature of the Storage API for Storage Awareness (VASA) is only just beginning to be revealed.
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.
VMware doesn’t want to hurt its parent, EMC, any more than Oedipus desired his own parents’ fate. Indeed, VMware spends an incredible amount of time and effort innovating both internal and external integration features for storage. They do this to meet their own I/O demands, not out of bloodlust or hubris. But like the tragic hero in a Greek play, VMware is destined to anonymize and homogenized enterprise storage, and this will drastically affect the future of EMC and other pure storage vendors.
If VMware aims to transform storage presentation, and is working with major storage vendors to make it happen, HDS ought to be part of it. Their history, technology, and market position earn them a spot in the “VAAI Cabal” and their omission was a bombshell to industry-watchers like me.
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.
Once again, VMware added a ton of new storage enhancements to vSphere. With storage rapidly becoming the limiting factor in scalability and performance of virtual machine environments, this is no surprise. Also not surprising is the fact that major features like Policy-Driven Storage and Storage DRS (along with SIOC) are exclusive to “Enterprise Plus” licenses.
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.
VMware shocked the world today, pre-announcing an important addition to the vStorage family of APIs found in their marquee vSphere family of products. The vStorage API for Token Ring Integration (VATRI) promises to ease the transition to converged networks featuring the emerging Fibre Channel over Token Ring (FCoTR) storage protocol. According to a recent report by The Dâ€™Plata Group, FCoTR is set dominate the enterprise storage market, and this integration is a confident step in that direction.