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.
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.
I have been asked to write an article for TechTarget on the subject of selecting a virtual server backup product. I’d like to request input for this piece, and hope we can work together to produce a useful list of recommendations. Note that this isn’t a buyer’s guide like the DCIG effort: There will be no exhaustive lists of functions and features here. Instead, I’m writing about the options available in a more general sense.
Next Thursday I will present my new-for-2011 Storage for Virtual Environments seminar. I hit on an interesting twist while working on the content: Virtual environments pose a challenge but also create an opportunity for storage people. Virtual environments are very demanding of storage features and performance, but we have the necessary tools in our arsenal. We just have to use them!