As I have done since version 3.5, I’m charting the storage changes in VMware’s latest release of vSphere, 5.1. Unlike version 5, which included many new technical storage features, 5.1 mainly tweaks existing features and adds these new elements to the mix.
Moving cold virtual machine images from system to system, or even across great distances, is one of the main selling points of server virtualization. But it becomes much more difficult to manage movement of virtual machines that are still running, especially outside cluster or across WAN links. When talking about virtual machine mobility, it is important to consider what is being moved, the state it is in, and where it is going.
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.
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 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.