A virtual machine environment conserves energy, makes it easier to consolidate data and reduces the need for physical systems, which is why you can find VMs everywhere these days. But for all of the benefits the technology provides, the rise of virtual servers has presented unique challenges for storage. Thanks to random I/O generated from server virtualization, latency has increased, and mapping LUNs and volumes has become a tedious job. To overcome the problems that come with a virtual machine environment, VM-aware storage has stepped up to the plate.
VM-aware storage was designed with virtual environments in mind. To be considered VM-aware, a product needs to simplify implementation and management with software that manages the data associated with virtual machines. By improving communication between storage and the hypervisor, VM-aware storage doesn't have to rely on LUNs and the extra burden they can bring to virtualized environments.
According to vendors in the space, VM-aware storage can help users dodge the dreaded I/O blender effect, which occurs when the hypervisor becomes too overloaded. By preventing this and other issues associated with LUN and volume use, VM-aware storage allows for better performance and more efficient data migration in virtual environments.
However, the technology isn't a cure-all. There isn't an industry-standard definition for VM-aware storage, so it could be difficult for organizations to decide if what a vendor is selling is what they want. There are even technologies that perform the same function, but go by a completely different name. So how can storage administrators know if a VM-aware appliance can actually fix their virtual server storage woes?
This comprehensive guide offers a more thorough understanding of VM-aware storage. We'll walk through the basics, see how virtual machine-aware appliances compare to other storage products on the market and take a deeper look at one storage vendor that is leading the virtual machine-aware storage pack.
What is VM-aware storage?
With the rise of virtualization over the past few years, there has also been an increase in the products and methods that make it easier to deploy and manage the technology. Virtual machine-aware storage seeks to ease some of the burdens brought on by implementing a VM environment.
The goal of VM-aware storage is to reduce dependence on traditional LUNs and to make storage systems faster and more efficient. However, it comes with its own set of pitfalls. Continue Reading
By improving communication between hypervisors and storage arrays, virtual machine-aware storage is able to better handle complex storage tasks with limited administrative overhead. Continue Reading
VM-aware storage is still a relatively new technology, so it can be difficult to nail down. This handbook explains what qualifies as virtual machine-aware storage and how it's used. Continue Reading
2Not to be confused with ...-
Hypervisor-aware storage is a category of storage array that provides storage administrators with important information that can aid them in capacity planning and in automating and managing a virtual machine environment. If the technology sounds familiar, it's because the terms hypervisor-aware storage and VM-aware storage are often used interchangeably. But some approaches do vary.
As virtual servers become more dominant in the storage space, vendors are racing to ensure their products are up to date. Some have adapted better than others. Continue Reading
Hypervisor-aware systems have various ways to achieve acceptable virtual server performance when faced with the challenges created by thin provisioning and other techniques. Continue Reading
Servers, network devices and storage need to be more hypervisor-aware to combat previously unidentifiable storage problems. Continue Reading
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3What about VVOLs?-
Where Virtual Volumes come into play
VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) are a feature in vSphere6 that more efficiently provision storage in a virtual machine environment. While they solve some of the same issues as VM-aware storage, the two approaches are not interchangeable.
Both VVOLs and VM-aware storage were made to combat virtualized workloads that traditional storage hardware couldn't handle. But which technology comes out on top? Continue Reading
4Spotlight on Tintri-
One vendor is dominating the market (for now)
Of the vendors operating in the virtual machine-aware storage space, Tintri has been leading the pack. In this section, catch up on what the company has been doing in the VM-aware storage market and the products they've developed.
By allowing customers to support containers on its arrays, Tintri can enable IT departments to guarantee key performance metrics per container. Continue Reading
Joining Tintri's flagship VMstore T800 arrays, the VMstore T5000 arrays hold up to 23 TB of raw capacity and can handle up to 5,000 VMs. Continue Reading