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.
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.
VMware officially launched their next-generation (version 4) enterprise family of products today under the “vSphere 4” name. As I’ve been doing for the last few major ESX releases, I’m focusing this post on the storage changes present in vSphere 4.