Q

How are vSphere Virtual Volumes managed?

When it comes to deploying and managing VVOLs, administrators have an option between the vSphere Web Client or the ESXCLI.

The introduction of vSphere Virtual Volumes 6.0 intends to enhance storage virtualization and management, enabling...

software-defined storage that meets the demands of today's virtual machines.

VSphere (ESXi) 6.0 is needed to support virtual volumes (VVOLs) along with vCenter Server 6.0 for management and vSphere Web Client for the principal management interface.

VVOLs in vSphere 6.0 Enterprise supports a wide range of vSphere features including storage policy based management, thin provisioning, linked clones, View Storage Accelerator, X vMotion, snapshots, vMotion, storage vMotion, vSphere Auto Deploy and more. VSphere Virtual Volumes are also supported in other VMware tools including vRealize Automation 6.2, Horizon 6.1, vSphere Replication 6.0 and Virtual SAN 6.0.

IT administrators will configure, deploy and manage VVOLs through the vSphere Web Client or the ESX Command-Line Interface.

IT administrators will configure, deploy and manage vSphere Virtual Volumes through the vSphere Web Client or the ESX Command-Line Interface. Consider some management examples using vSphere Web Client.

Before enabling VVOLs, a vSphere administrator has options. An administrator might synchronize the time between each ESXi host and vCenter Server instance, import VASA provider (vendor provider) plug-ins to establish links between vCenter Server and each storage system, use the New Datastore wizard to create a virtual data store for VVOLs and or mount the virtual data store onto multiple hosts.

Once VVOLs are enabled, created and mounted, administrators can create VM storage policies by mapping the desired storage capabilities presented by storage subsystems (exposed by the VASA provider plug-ins) into rule sets that define quality-of-service levels for the VMs that use the selected vSphere Virtual Volume.

At this point, administrators can create and deploy VMs onto the data stores, or use Storage vMotion to migrate VMs from previous VMFS or NFS data stores onto VVOL data stores (regardless of whether the VMs are powered on or off).

Ironically, storage devices were the first computing hardware to be "virtualized" by partitioning a disk's physical capacity into logical entities -- the C:/ partition on your computer is a simple type of virtualization. But storage provisioning and tools remained largely manual and unchanged as hypervisors assumed a permanent place in enterprise data centers. This has inhibited some of the flexibility, scalability and automation that virtualization promises.

Next Steps

Do you need VVOLs with an EVO:RAIL appliance?

The storage issues you can address using Virtual Volumes

How do vSphere Virtual Volumes work?

This was first published in December 2015

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