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Everything you need to know about vSphere and data storage

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vCenter Server's new storage views and alarms

VMware also improved storage-related reporting and alarms in vCenter Server. The most conspicuous is a new storage view that shows detailed information on storage metrics. Alarms have been expanded to include specific storage-related issues like datastore overcommitment and low disk space.

vCenter Server's storage view is a plug-in that must be installed and enabled. Once enabled, an additional Storage View tab will appear in the right pane after selecting any object in the left pane. The storage view has selectable columns that display information such as the total amount of disk space a VM is using (including snapshots, swap files, etc.), total amount of capacity used by snapshots, total amount of space used by virtual disks and other capacity usage statistics.

This is a great tool to quickly see how much space is being used in your environment for each component and to easily monitor snapshot space usage. There's also a map view to see relationships between virtual machines, hosts and storage components.

In VI3, the only storage alarm was for host or VM disk usage (in KBps). Hundreds of new alarms have been added, with many of them related to storage, such as an alert for a datastore that's close to running out

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of free space. This is especially important when you have a double threat from both snapshots and thin disks that can grow and use up all the free space. Other storage-related alarms include:

  • Datastore disk overallocation percent
  • Datastore state to all hosts
  • Datastore created/increased/deleted/discovered/expanded
  • Degraded storage path redundancy
  • Lost storage connectivity

vSphere does storage better

In addition to vSphere's major enhancements for storage operations, there are many smaller improvements not covered here. Taken together, these enhancements provide better performance, improved usability and easier administration. And they may be compelling enough to convince current VMware users to upgrade to vSphere.

BIO: Eric Siebert is an IT industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience who now focuses on server administration and virtualization. He is the author of VMware VI3 Implementation and Administration (Prentice Hall, 2009).

This was first published in January 2010

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