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This content is part of the Essential Guide: The complete rundown on Docker data storage and containers
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How do VMware containers work?

Brien Posey explains the difference between storage virtualization and storage containers, and the benefits of using containers for VMs.

Storage virtualization is primarily based on the concept of storage abstraction. In other words, there is a software...

layer that sits on top of the physical storage hardware and this layer allows storage to be provisioned with little regard for the underlying hardware.

Storage containers, however, are different from storage virtualization. VMware containers in vSphere 6.0 are groupings of various types of physical storage. What sets storage containers apart from storage virtualization is that VMware containers can be used to expose the underlying hardware's capabilities.

Imagine that a particular department within your organization has a variety of storage needs: high-performance storage, some that could be deduplicated and some that supported snapshots. Various amounts of the required storage types could be combined into VMware containers and then presented to a Virtual Volumes (VVOL) datastore. A single datastore would have access to multiple types of storage. An administrator could use virtual machine (VM) storage policies to assign the most appropriate type of storage to each VM that uses the datastore.

What sets storage containers apart from storage virtualization is that VMware containers can be used to expose the underlying hardware's capabilities.

The interesting thing about this approach is that it allows storage capabilities to be assigned to a VM on an as-needed basis. Suppose, for instance, that a VM was originally created on commodity storage, but over time the demand for the VM increased to the point that high-performance storage was required. Giving the VM access to high-performance storage is simply a matter of changing the VM's storage policy. This is possible because both high-performance and commodity storage exist within a common datastore. The VM is never moved to a different datastore, which means that Storage vMotion is not necessary. Changing the storage policy for the VM simply gives the VM access to new capabilities within the datastore.

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Why do you use VMware containers for storage?
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