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Everything you need to know about vSphere and data storage
This article is part of the Storage magazine issue of Vol. 8 Num. 9 January 2010
VMware has been a boon for system administrators, but not so much for storage pros. vSphere addresses many of the storage-related shortcomings of its predecessor. By Eric Siebert When VMware Inc. released vSphere in May 2009 it included more than 100 new features and enhancements, many of which addressed data storage. These data storage management enhancements include: Thin provisioning enhancements iSCSI improvements Support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) and jumbo frames New ability to hot extend virtual disks New ability to grow VMFS volumes New Pluggable Storage Architecture (PSA) New paravirtualized SCSI adapters New VMDirectPath for storage I/O devices VMware Storage VMotion enhancements New vStorage APIs New storage views and alarms in vCenter Server There are many vSphere storage enhancements and some may have a profound effect on your environment, so we'll look at each one in detail. Thin provisioning enhancements Thin provisioned disks are virtual disks that start small and grow as data is written to them. With...
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Features in this issue
With vSphere, VMware addresses many of the past storage-related shortcomings that created headaches for storage pros.
In their 3 Gbps incarnation, SAS drives have proved popular in low-end and nearline data storage systems, but at 6 Gbps, SAS-2 poses a serious threat to Fibre Channel interface drives and could change the landscape of high-end storage arrays.
Storage shops often struggle with anticipating new capacity requirements and ensuring that business needs can be met. After virtualizing its storage, Ford Motor Co. took a unique approach to allocation issues and made capacity planning as simple as balancing a checkbook.
Our monthly survey shows that backing up remote and branch offices is still a tough nut to crack for some companies. But newer tools -- like data dedupe -- are helping to ensure that remote data is protected.
NetApp, winner of all three previous Quality Awards for midrange NAS systems and one for enterprise NAS products, gets nudged aside as Hewlett-Packard and IBM prevail in our latest survey.
Columns in this issue
Storage vendors have become so enamored of the term "cloud storage" that it's hard to tell what it means anymore. But if you can get past the marketing hype, you'll find cloud storage has been adopted in some sectors as a data archive tier, and has been delivering cost-saving benefits for quite some time.
Despite the buzz about solid state and storage for VMware environments, 2009 wasn't a particularly banner year for standout storage technologies. Here's hoping the real storage innovations will come in 2010.