Selecting storage and hardware for VMware environments

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  • VMware VSAN (VMware Virtual SAN)

    VMware VSAN (VMware Virtual SAN) is a storage feature integrated in the vSphere 5.5 kernel that pools disk space from multiple ESXi hosts. 

  • VMware Compatibility Guide

    The VMware Compatibility Guide is an online reference site hosted by VMware that shows what various hardware, converged systems, operating systems, third-party applications and VMware products are compatible with a specific version of a VMware softwa... 

  • VMware VMFS (Virtual Machine File System)

    VMware VMFS (Virtual Machine File System) is a cluster file system that facilitates storage virtualization for multiple installations of VMware ESX Server, a hypervisor that partitions physical servers into multiple virtual machines... (Continued) 

About Selecting storage and hardware for VMware environments

Managing storage in a VMware environment will bring a few topics to mind: snapshots, Storage VMotion, and VMFS – the Virtual Machine File System, which is VMware's preferred storage method for virtual machines. Raw device mapping (RDM), however, provides similar performance and can be a better choice depending on the specific storage configuration, as one of the expert tips in this section explains.

A VMware administrator also needs to know how to connect virtual storage appliances, or VSAs, to a VMware infrastructure in order to take full advantage of VMware High Availability and VMotion, which you can also learn about here.

You'll also want to read up on network-attached storage (NAS) and the Network File System (NFS). NFS eliminates LUN micromanagement and NAS clusters help manage variable input/output performance, which help growing environments scale without sacrificing performance.

Finally, you'll find tips explaining the thin-provisioned disk option, which saves disk space but is really only ideal for virtual machines that will grow over time. Although this feature was available in VMware Infrastructure 3, it required manual coding, whereas this functionality has been enhanced in the latest VMware product suite, vSphere 4.0.