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Category Archives: Storage

vSphere Storage Policy Based Management Overview (part 1)

Welcome to the VMware vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) two-part blog series where we will be exploring SPBM features, components, and the major role it plays in automating storage management operations in the Software Defined Data Center.

Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) is the foundation of the SDS Control Plane and enables vSphere administrators to over come upfront storage provisioning challenges, such as capacity planning, differentiated service levels and managing capacity headroom. Through defining standard storage Profiles, SPBM optimizes the virtual machine provisioning process by provisioning datastores at scale and eliminating the need to provision virtual machines on a case-by-case basis. PowerCLI, VMware vCloud Automation Center, vSphere API, Open Stack and other applications can leverage the vSphere Storage Policy Based Management API to automate storage management operations for the Software-Defined Storage infrastructure.

For more information on the Software-Defined Data Center and its related components, please visit the VMware SDDC Product pages.

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VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing – Part II

Virtual SAN ObserverIn the first installment of the Virtual SAN Performance Testing series, we reviewed benchmarking performance using synthetic I/O generation tool Iometer, automated by the VMware I/O Analyzer appliance. Using Iometer, or other synthetic I/O generation tools is frequently the first option for benchmarking selected, as it is an operationally light weight method to benchmark storage performance. But what if you want to be able to simulate real world workloads within your Virtual SAN cluster, without the burden of building out applications. That is where I/O trace files can come into play.

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Myth versus Math: Setting the Record Straight on Virtual SAN

By Jim Armstrong

It seems hard to believe to me but it was just six short months ago that we officially launched our Virtual SAN product. I spent the months leading up to the launch and the months since learning about Virtual SAN and the storage market at large and since our launch I have watched as others shared their opinions of our product. By now, I have seen some common areas where people make key mistakes about how Virtual SAN works. What I’d like to do is discuss some common misconceptions about Virtual SAN and hopefully along the way help folks understand what sets Virtual SAN apart from other seemingly similar technologies.

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VMware Virtual SAN Observer Offline Mode

Virtual SAN Observer

The VMware Virtual SAN Observer is currently the best monitoring and troubleshooting tool for Virtual SAN that is available today. The tool is utilized for monitoring performance statistics for Virtual SAN live or offline.The Virtual SAN Observer UI depends on a couple of JavaScript and CSS libraries (JQuery, d3, angular, bootstrap, font-awesome) in order successfully display the performance statistics and their information.

These library files are access and loaded during runtime when the Virtual SAN Observer page is rendered. The tool requires access to the libraries mentioned above in order to work correctly. This means that the vCenter Server requires access to the internet. This requirement can potentially present a challenge in secured environments where applications with access to the internet is not be a practical form of operation and its not allowed.

Many vSphere admins have encountered this issue. In particular, those supporting secured environments. In order to overcome this issue, the vCenter Server Appliance can be modified so that it can access the required files and library locally. Continue reading

VMware Virtual SAN: Storage for the Software-Defined Data Center

VMware Virtual SAN delivers storage that’s as nimble as a VM. It’s a key part of VMware’s Software-Defined Data Center initiative and helps enterprises realize the benefits of virtualization for storage. Virtual SAN abstracts and pools server side disk and flash to deliver high-performance, agile storage for virtual environments. Virtual SAN does for storage what vSphere did for compute.

At VMware, innovation is a constant – and Virtual SAN is a product of that innovation. It’s being viewed as an industry “game-changer” that can redefine how enterprises buy storage. As part of the VMware vision for Software Defined Storage, Virtual SAN offers customers a new storage solution, one that’s purpose built for the agile, dynamic vSphere environments our customers depend upon.

Listen to Gaetan Castelein, VMware’s Sr. Director of Storage and Availability, explain the benefits of VMware Virtual SAN.

We’re excited to share our radically simple shared storage solution with you. To learn more about how VMware Virtual SAN can increase your IT agility, visit our Virtual SAN homepage, our VMware Virtual SAN blog, and follow our @vmwarevsan handle on Twitter.

VMware Virtual SAN Performance Testing – Part I

Virtual SAN ObserverAs people begin to assess, design, build, and deploy VMware Virtual SAN based solutions for the first time, there is great curiosity in understanding the performance expectations to have,  and results one can achieve when utilizing Virtual SAN in specific configurations. Most customers are running some type of benchmark in proof-of-concept environments in order to gauge the performance of VMware Virtual SAN in their environment. In working with customers and partners, we have seen a variety of methods used in attempting to benchmark and analyze Virtual SAN performance. In order to ease this process, we are developing guidance on how best to perform performance testing on Virtual SAN. This guidance will be presented in a  four part series as follows:

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VMware Virtual SAN: Performance with Microsoft Exchange Server


As we continue to showcase the value and capabilities of Virtual SAN, I believe it is crucial to provide access to the information VMware’s performance engineering team has gathered around business critical applications and their respective performance benchmarks.

This white paper focuses on Microsoft Exchange Server performance on VMware Virtual SAN. Microsoft Exchange Server is a commonly found email server and is considered a business-critical application by many organizations. Virtualized instances of Exchange Server can be successfully deployed using VMware vSphere 5.5 and it has been shown that Exchange Server performs well in a virtualized environment with shared SAN storage .

With the release of VMware Virtual SAN, the next logical step is to study the performance of Exchange Server on this storage platform. VMware performance testing shows that Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 on Virtual SAN clusters scales well without affecting much user-perceived application latency as more Exchange users are deployed with added VMware Virtual SAN hosts.

Take a look at the white paper and review the results of this study.

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For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols), and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

VMware Virtual SAN Survey

VMware Virtual SAN LogoThe VMware Storage and Availability team is looking for customer and community feedback for VMware Virtual SAN. Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey listed in the link below.

VMware Virtual SAN Survey Link

Thank you for your help and support.

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols), and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds



InfoWorld Review: Virtual SAN Results

When it comes to leading the industry in hyper-converged software-defined storage for virtual environments, VMware Virtual SAN sets the pace.

Armed with hardware provided by Supermicro and Lenovo, Paul Ferrill of InfoWorld put VMware Virtual SAN to the test. Scoring 9.2 out of 10, including two perfect scores for scalability and availability, Virtual SAN earned an “excellent” rating from Ferrill.  His take away: VMware Virtual SAN is a significant step towards the software-defined data center and delivers performance on even moderately priced hardware.


“VMware’s Virtual SAN represents a significant step toward the stated goal of a software-defined data center,” Ferrill writes. “It’s also somewhat of a “back to the future” experience, with storage moving into the local host machines and away from a centralized and dedicated storage appliance. My testing shows that VSAN is capable of delivering respectable performance on moderately priced hardware. Throw in 10GbE networking and you’ll see impressive results on even the lowest-end hardware configuration.”

Ferrill ran his tests on two systems. The first was on the Supermicro system, which was a SuperSaver SYS-F627R3-R72B+ with four independent nodes a single 4U chassis. The nodes contained two Intel Xeon 2420 CPUS, 256GB of memory, five 2TB Seagate SAS 10K HDDS and one 400GB Intel S3700 Series SATA SSD. The unit also uses two 10GbE and two 1GbE network interfaces. Lenovo sent three ThinkServer RD340 1U servers, each with an Intel Xeon 35-2420 CPU, 64GB of memory, one 1TB Toshiba SAS 7200RPM HDD, one 100GB STEC M161SD2-100UCM SATA SSD, and three 1GbE network interfaces.

As Ferrill notes, creating VSAN clusters on those two setups was simple: install vSphere and vCenter, then check a box in the vCenter Server interface.

“The hardest part may be configuring the disk controllers,” Ferrill said.
If you’re lucky, your disk controller makes JBOD a simple check box item.”

Ferrill said he found that VMware Virtual SAN, especially in a VDI scenario, offers compelling advantages in its initial cost and long-term maintenance. For more details, you can read Ferrill’s review of VMware Virtual SAN here.

For more updates on VMware Virtual SAN and Software-Defined Storage, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @VMwareVSAN!

VMware Feature Walkthrough: Step-by-Step VMware How-to’s

If you are like me, VMworld 2014 in San Francisco left my brain on overload. With so many new product and services announcements, plus breakout sessions filled with technical information and demos in the expo floor booths, it’s hard not to feel like you are drinking from the proverbial fire hose.  Throw in a party or three, plus the pile of work waiting when you get home and all that great info you gathered starts to turn up with some CRC errors in your memory.
VMware Feature Walkthrough Home

Fortunately, VMware has a tool that you can use to refresh your memory on the VMware solutions and services that you explored at VMworld.  The VMware Feature Walkthrough site (http://featurewalkthrough.vmware.com) provides technical overviews and step-by-step guidance for installing, configuring and managing our solutions.  Each walkthrough includes screen shots with relevant steps highlighted and text explaining the process.

VMware vSOM Walkthrough

The Feature Walkthrough site is a great for stepping through a self-paced demo of a particular VMware product or feature.  We’ve made the site mobile friendly, so go ahead and open it on your tablet and take it into the data center to guide your proof-of-concept install of the products you saw or heard about during VMworld, or to simply refresh your memory on just where exactly that checkbox to enable a product feature is.  Use it to show your boss that cool feature you saw at VMworld, or to familiarize yourself with the basics of a product before you jump into a live Hands-on Lab environment.

We’re always adding new walkthroughs; the vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM) series of Walkthroughs was recently refreshed, and NSX and Virtual SAN walkthroughs are now available. If there are any particular products or features that you want to see added to the site, feel free to drop me a note at featurewalkthrough@vmware.com or leave a comment below!