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When VMware released vSphere 6.0 in the first quarter of 2015, there were a lot of new features that administrators were anxious to deploy in their environment. One of the features that debuted with the release was Virtual Volumes.
VVOLs is a storage feature that allows an administrator more control of storage provisioning at the VM. VMware made the next step with the announcement of Virtual Volumes 2.0 alongside vSphere 6.5 at VMworld 2016 Europe.
VVOLs isn't the only product to get an upgrade; Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM), storage I/O control and virtual disk management all received an update with vSphere 6.5.
The biggest news regarding VMware VVOLs 2.0 is native support for array-based replication, which was a big piece missing from the inaugural version. VVOLs 2.0 is based on vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) 3.0 -- one version higher than VVOLs 1.0 was based on.
Unlike legacy array-based replication, the array-based replication feature in VVOLs 2.0 gives admins the flexibility to replicate VMs on an individual basis or as a group -- a Replication Group. A Replication Group, which is defined by the administrator, is a group of replicated devices that defines the minimum failover user. Admins can use a replication group to place multiple VMs in the same group.
In the previous version of VVOLs, a storage policy was just one set of rules created off of the list of capabilities offered by the array. VSphere 6.5 changes that by breaking the rules into different capability types called Storage Policy Components. Administrators can define a capability in a component and use it for multiple Storage Policies.
The different class types of components include replication, storage I/O control and encryption. Each component can be tied to a vCenter Server. Admins can also select the target storage container, the target common provisioning group, target snapshot CPG, the frequency replication occurs, and the minimum and maximum recovery point objective levels.
After an admin has defined all of the settings in the component, it can be added to a Storage Policy. Now, after a VM is created, the admin can apply the Storage Policy -- and whichever custom components -- to it. Another option that admins have when creating VMs is selecting the Replication Group. Note that only groups that match the replication constraints selected in the policy will be displayed. VVOLS 2.0 replication also supports multiple replication target locations.
Another helpful feature that accompanied VASA 3.0 is the new line of service option. In addition to configuring replication at the individual SPBM policy level, admins can use a line of service and attach it to different policies. If there are five different policies -- all with different storage capabilities assigned -- admins can manage the replication just one time using the line of service, instead of five separate times, by configuring at the VM Storage Policy level.
Although the inaugural version wasn't adapted by a large majority, the new replication features, including array-based replication, in VMware VVOLs 2.0 should help spike its popularity.
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Virtual Volumes help address various storage issues