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Virtualization, VVol and the Importance of VM-Aware Storage

Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about VM-Aware Storage. My friends and family are very familiar with dinner conversations about per-vm replication and latency breakdowns. So there is nothing quite as sweet as listening to other people talk about the need for VM-Aware Storage instead. For this reason, it is particularly exciting for us at Tintri to demonstrate VMware vVOLs support on VMstore™ at VMworld 2013.  Why are we so excited? At Tintri we believe VM-Aware Storage is the next evolution of storage. And now, you don’t have to take our word for it. Just ask VMware. While VM-Aware Storage is more than a vVOLs-like interface, VMware's significant investment and evangelism points to the great need for storage systems that are better aligned with virtualization.

Tintri is vVOLs-ready today. While vVOLs is not yet available in production, Tintri VMstore already supports the VM-granular control required to back a vVOLs interface. In contrast to legacy architectures, Tintri can support vVOLs without any changes to our core architecture or NFS stack; it is a new storage interface to existing functionality on VMstore.

What are vVOLs?Pre-vVOLs

vVOLs (which stands for Virtual Volumes) is an out-of-band communication protocol between vSphere and storage. It allows VMware to associate VMs and vDisks with storage entities, and allows vSphere to offload some storage management functions, like snapshots and clones to storage. This offloading allows virtualization administrators to get the same performance and scalability through the VMware tools they may expect through their storage.

Tintri, VM-Aware Storage and vVOLs

vVOLs defines the interface between vSphere and storage, but does not change the underlying storage architecture. The scale and performance of a storage system is still determined by the storage implementation itself. For example, in order to implement vVOLs for a 1,000 VM deployment an array must support between tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands individually addressable virtual volumes (directories in NFS or a newly defined sub-LUNs in SAN).

With vVOLsThe storage system must also support snapshots and clones at an individual virtual volume level. This will likely be a challenge for LUN and volume based storage vendors built around limited number of LUNs and volumes per array with data management constructs operating on those storage objects. In contrast, Tintri VMstore is architected from the ground up to support snapshots and clones under these exact conditions with VM and vDisk granularity. Today VMstore already provides industry-defining SnapVM™, CloneVM™ and ReplicateVM™ VM-granular operations for thousands of customer VMs and potentially hundreds of thousands of snapshots per storage system.

Come see for yourself

Come see our vVOL demo at our booth (#1705) at VMworld this year. I will be demonstrating a prototype vVOLs implementation using a vanilla production VMstore. After you see Tintri’s SnapVM and CloneVM functions being called from vCenter, stick around to hear about the other ways Tintri provides Zero Management Storage for virtualization. This includes a demo of the revolutionary Tintri Global Center. You can let us know when you are stopping by with a tweet using hashtag #tintri.

Brandon Salmon / Aug 26, 2013

Brandon Salmon has been working in systems and storage for over twelve years. He has a Ph.D in computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a bachelors in computer science from Stanford...more

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