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Category Archives: Storage

Virtualized Exchange 2013 IO performance validation with All Flash Arrays

Microsoft Exchange is a very common critical application managed by enterprises.  Exchange 2013 has brought forth many changes to the performance and IO profile of its infrastructure.

Exchange Server 2013 is an even greater candidate for virtualization than its predecessors. Architectural changes and improvements to the core of Exchange Server, along with advancements in server hardware, make vSphere the default choice for Exchange 2013.

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Learn How to Get Integrated Storage Policy-Based Management with vCloud Automation Center 6 This Thursday

Software Defined Storage is a key pillar of the Software Defined Data Center (SDDC). It ensures agility, responsiveness and efficiency to enterprise storage while maintaining data integrity and redundancy. It is a critical part of any Software Defined Data Center. That’s why we’re improving it.

Join Chen Wei, Solution Engineer and Strategic Solutions Development at VMware, and Rawlinson Rivera, Senior Technical Marketing Architect at VMware, in the VMworld session MGT1923, as they describe how you can integrate the vSphere Storage Policy-based Management framework into the vCloud Automation Center service catalog. With this advancement, end users can take advantage of on demand storage capabilities for software defined storage technologies like Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes, Core Storage and future storage solutions.

Chen and Rawlinson will be discussing how to get Storage Policy-Based Management to work within vCloud Automation Center on Thursday, August 28, from Noon to 1:00 p.m. at Moscone West, Room 3014.

For more session details, click here. This is a session you won’t want to miss out on!

VMware Unveils New Disaster Recovery and Backup Product Releases; Virtual SAN and Virtual Volumes Featured at VMworld 2014

By Alberto Farronato, director of product marketing, Storage and Availability, VMware

VMworld 2014 will deliver plenty of news, customer testimonials, panels, sessions, demos and more on VMware’s software-defined storage and business continuity products and initiatives. Following are a few show highlights.

Increased DR Capabilities

We’re excited to announce vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.8 today at VMworld 2014. This new release of SRM delivers next-generation disaster recovery capabilities for vSphere environments.  New capabilities include:

  • 5x the scale of protection – IT organizations can set up recovery plans scalable up to 5,000 virtual machines per vCenter Server using array-based replication to enable enterprise-level protection–five times larger than with previous limits.
  • Enhanced self-service – New integrations will offer customers self-service access to provision predefined disaster recovery protection tiers to new VMs via blueprints in vCloud Automation Center when using array-based replication.

To learn more about vCenter SRM 5.8, don’t miss the following VMworld session:

BCO2394 – “Site Recovery Manager 101: What’s New and Customer Case Study”

Monday, Aug 25, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM PT

New: vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.8

We’re also happy to introduce vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.8. Powered by EMC Avamar technology, vSphere Data Protection Advanced offers simple, efficient, and robust backup capabilities for vSphere environments. The new release delivers:

  • Enhanced support for business-critical apps – customers can now perform backups for Microsoft SQL Server clusters as well as Microsoft Exchange DAGs (Database Availability Groups).
  • Customizable Proxies and Backup Work Streams – customers now have the flexibility of choosing the number of parallel backup workstreams to satisfy Service Level Agreements (SLAs) helping them to increase backup scalability and performance.
  • Enhanced Replication – customers can now restore replicated backups at either primary or disaster recovery site.

Get the details on vSphere Data Protection Advanced 5.8 at the following sessions:

BCO2410 – “BC/DR: Implementing a Holistic Strategy with VMware Solutions – Part 1 Business Overview”

Monday, Aug 25, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

BCO2172 – “BC/DR: Implementing a Holistic Strategy with VMware Solutions – Part 2 Technical”

Wednesday, Aug 27, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Virtual Volumes Technology Preview

Virtual Volumes (aka VVOLs) was unveiled at VMworld 2012 San Francisco as a technology preview. The technology extends VMware’s software-defined storage model to external storage.  VVOLs transforms SAN/NAS into VM-centric devices by making the virtual disk a native representation of the VM at the array level, and enables app-centric, policy-based automation of SAN and NAS based services.

VVOLs has drawn strong interest from our storage partners. Their interest will be readily apparent at this year’s VMworld if you attend sessions or walk the show floor. To learn more about their VVOLs efforts, drop by the following booths:

Dell Booth 1417


Nimble Booth 1521


EMC Booth 1405


Tintri Booth 921


HP Booth 1005


SolidFire Booth 1629


Hitachi Data Systems Booth 905


Symantec Booth 1635


IBM Booth 913




Check out the following sessions to get smart on VVOLs:

STO1963 – “Virtual Volumes Business Overview”

Tuesday, Aug 26, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

STO1965 – “Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive”

Tuesday, Aug 26, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM & Wednesday, Aug 27, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


What’s New with Virtual SAN

In 2013, VMware Virtual SAN was unveiled and was being readied for a lengthy public beta. Today, Virtual SAN is generally available with more than 300 customers.

Virtual SAN Ready Nodes have helped to jump start Virtual SAN deployments.  Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are pre-validated configurations of servers ready to run Virtual SAN. Today, 40 Virtual SAN Ready Nodes are available for purchase directly from our system vendor partners (view list of Ready Nodes). Hitachi and Huawei are the latest partners to introduce new Virtual SAN Ready Nodes joining Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, IBM and Supermicro.

Additionally, VMware EVO: RAIL was introduced today. It is a hyper-converged infrastructure appliance that streamlines the deployment and scale out of modern IT infrastructure. Virtual SAN is part of the 100 percent VMware software stack included in EVO: RAIL. It offers customers another option to get started with Virtual SAN. Customers can now get started with Virtual SAN by selecting components from the Hardware Compatibility List, relying on pre-configured Ready Node servers or purchasing EVO: RAIL – an all-in-one appliance.

Learn how customers are using Virtual SAN at the following panel and session:

STO2462 – “Virtual SAN – Customer Panel”

Wednesday, Aug 27, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

STO1424 – “Massively Scaling Virtual SAN Implementations”

Thursday, Aug 28, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

We want to thank our customers and partners for making 2014 a momentous year for VMware Storage and Availability. We wish you a great show and time in San Francisco.


SDS Challenge: Ready to play?

In a previous blog, Rawlinson Rivera highlighted the key events, sessions, group discussions and HOLs from the Software-Defined Storage and Business Continuity teams.

On top of all that, there is one more thing you can do to get the most out of VMworld 2014: You can play CloudCred!

Take your VMworld experience to the next level and play CloudCred – an online gaming platform that allows users to test their cloud knowledge. For VMworld, we’ve built a special contest in CloudCred – the VMworld SDS Challenge.  Attend selected sessions on Virtual Volumes, Virtual SAN, vDPA and Site Recovery Manager, complete labs, and visit product demos at the Solutions Exchange to earn points. Points lead to badges, and every badge earned enters you into a raffle for a Jambox Mini.

The Cloud Cred VMworld SDS Challenge contest badges include:

  • Lab Badge
  • Virtual Volumes Badge
  • Virtual SAN Badge
  • vDPA Badge
  • SRM Badge

Contest starts at 4pm Sunday and runs through 4pm Wednesday. Log on to CloudCred today to set up your account and get ready to play.

We look forward to seeing you at VMworld this year!

Stay tuned to the vSphere blog for the latest information. You can also follow us on Twitter at @VMwareVSAN for more updates. See you in San Francisco!

VMware Virtual SAN Sizing Tool

Oh yeah!!!!!! It’s official, the Virtual SAN Sizing Tool is now live and available to the general public.

All Virtual SAN customers and enthusiasts can easy get sizing ideas and estimations on the amount hardware resources necessary to support a particular Virtual SAN design. All you will need  to do is provide a few virtual machine inputs based on capacity, performance, and availability requirements.


VMware Virtual SAN Sizing Tool

The purpose of this tool is to help determine the hardware specifications for hosts in a Virtual SAN cluster required to run a set of virtual machines defined by a set of input characteristics. These important assumptions should be understood before using this tool:

  • All hosts in the cluster are assumed to have an identical hardware profile, i.e. numbers of hard drives and flash devices, amount of physical RAM, and number of CPU cores
  • All virtual machines are assumed to be identical in storage characteristics, i.e. number of VMDKs, size of VMDKs (assumed identical for all disks), number of snapshots, and virtual memory size
  • All virtual machines are assumed to have the same Virtual SAN policy, i.e. number of failures to tolerate and number of disk stripes per object

The tool is designed so that you can easily vary inputs to see the impact on the sizing output, thus allowing you to iterate manually for more sophisticated analyses.

Feel free to provide feedback and let us know what your thoughts are about the tool and help us improve it.

See you all at VMworld!!!!

- Enjoy

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

Software-Defined Storage and Business Continuity Guide for VMworld 2014

With VMworld being a few days way, the amount of excitement is palpable. The number of amazing announcements, news, and events that will take place during the week of August 24th is going to be awesome.

The Software-Defined Storage and Business Continuity teams want to make sure everyone attending the conference is precisely aware of all events, sessions, group discussions, and Hands-On-Labs that will be available during the week. We have put together a guide that can be easily accessed through our blog as well as a Software Defined Storage and Business Continuity Guide pdf version to bring along for easy access.

Software-Defined Storage and Business Continuity Guide for VMworld 2014 US

SDS-Guide VMworld

See you all at VMworld!!!!

- Enjoy

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

Monitoring VMware Virtual SAN with Virtual SAN Observer White Paper

Virtual SAN ObserverAs customers continue to implement VMware Virtual SAN in their environments, it is critical for them to have the ability to properly monitor and troubleshoot the performance of the system. Having access to the adequate tools and knowing how to use them and knowing how to interpret the data being presented is crucial for all customers.

This new paper Monitoring VMware Virtual SAN with Virtual SAN Observer focuses on the Virtual SAN Observer tool, and it is intended to provide Virtual SAN customers with more than just a how-to experience. It also helps to understand the data output and values presented by the Virtual SAN Observer when monitoring and troubleshooting their VMware Virtual SAN implementations.  This paper is a special release because it coincides with a hands-on lab being presented at VMworld this year that will give customers access to a first hand learning experience.

While at VMworld look for the VMware HOL lab listed below:

ELW-SDC-1408 – VMware Virtual Storage Workshop

This Expert Led Workshop focused on VMware Virtual SAN, participants will gain hands-on experience deploying, configuring and managing VMware’s latest hypervisor-converged storage solution.  In this Workshop, you will have access to the Product Experts and is your opportunity to ask questions relevant to your environment.  The Self-Paced version of this lab, SPL-SDC-1408, will available anytime the Hands-on Labs are open.

See you all at VMworld!!!!

- Enjoy

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

Get the Latest Session and HOL Schedules for Virtual SAN, Virtual Volumes and More at VMworld 2014!

As many of you know, VMworld is just around the river bend! That means there’s a lot of planning left to do between now and when you get to San Francisco. Luckily, we’re here to help.

As always, there’s a lot to see and do at this year’s VMworld, including learning VMware’s latest and greatest Virtual SAN products and betas. Take a look at the schedules below to see how you can take the next step to learning more!

Virtual SAN – Sessions

Get up to speed with VMware Virtual SAN — our Software-Defined Storage solution designed for vSphere environments. Sessions on vSAN cover everything from building business cases to best practices and a deep dive. Check out one of our previous blogs for more great sessions on storage and availability.


Session ID



4:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Virtual SAN 101 and Building a Business Case


5:30 – 6:30 p.m.


Virtual SAN Best Practices and Use Cases


1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


Virtual SAN Best Practices for Monitoring and Troubleshooting


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Virtual SAN Architecture Deep Dive

Virtual Volumes – Sessions

VMware’s latest beta program, Virtual Volumes (VVols), will be making an appearance at VMworld. VVols encapsulate virtual disks and other virtual machine files and natively stores them on the storage system. This enables administrators to make manage storage on the granular level, use policy-based management for common storage management and easily provision all the necessary storage for an application.


Session ID



11:00 a.m. – 12:00p.m.


Software-Defined Storage: The Transformation of Enterprise Storage Has Begun


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Virtual Volumes Business Overview


4:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive

vSphere Site Recovery Manager – Sessions

Discover the latest in vSphere Site Recovery Manager and learn how an automated disaster recovery can help protect your applications. These sessions will cover everything you need to know about vSphere Site Recovery Manager from recovery 101 to our technical deep dive.


Session ID



11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


Site Recovery Manager 101: What’s New and Customer Case Study


1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


Site Recovery Manager and vCloud Automation Center: Self-service DR Protection for the Software-Defined Data Center


10:00 – 11:00 a.m.


Site Recovery Manager and vSphere Replication: What’s New Technical Deep Dive

vSphere Virtual Data Protection – Sessions

vSphere Virtual Data Protection protects and backs up your virtual machines and data. VMworld’s 2014 sessions for vSphere Virtual Data Protection will cover the basics of data protection in a virtual world, how it integrates with other VMware offerings and the best practices for VDP.


Session ID



1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


Data Protection for vSphere 101: Keys to Successful Backdrop and Replication in a Virtual World


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Data Protection for Virtual SAN


1:00 – 2:00 p.m.


Data protection with VDP Advanced – What’s New Technical Deep Dive and Best Practices

Virtual Volumes Demos at Booth:

Of course, VMworld wouldn’t be complete with in-booth demos. This year, among other things, we’ll be demonstrating the advantage of Virtual Volumes (VVols) throughout the expo floor. You can witness how VVols have enabled a variety of companies at the following booths:

  • VMware
  • HP
  • NetApp
  • Dell
  • EMC
  • IBM
  • HDS
  • Nimble
  • Tintri
  • SolidFire
  • Symantec

Hands On Labs

Looking to get your hands on our products? Get some hands-on time and put what you’ve learned to practice at our hands-on labs at VMworld 2014. These exhibits will be available for you to use throughout the show, so be sure to stop on by!

Catalog SKU




VVOL Tech Preview

Virtual Volumes


VMware Software-Defined Storage



VMware Virtual SAN 101



IT Outcomes – High Availablity and Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery


 Join us in San Francisco to talk about all things Virtual SAN! There’ll be a lot more for you to digest as the days draw closer to VMworld 2014, so stay tuned to this blog for the latest information available. You can also follow us on Twitter at @vmwarevsan for breaking updates. See you on the show floor!

VMware Virtual SAN Experts Discuss the Importance and Future of Software Defined Storage

By Alberto Farranato

VMware Virtual SAN is VMware’s simple, cost-effective answer to the historically complex and expensive storage infrastructure enterprise IT teams have faced. As the data created and stored continues to grow at exponential speed, the demand for enterprise storage rises in tandem. The impact on IT is considerable –  complexity, costs, and static management and provisioning common to traditional storage solutions — all combine to inspire IT decision makers to pursue new storage strategies.

To better detail the benefits of VMware Virtual SAN and how software-defined storage promises to be an industry-changing technology,, Christos Karamanolis, Chief Architect and Principal Engineer in the Storage and Availability Engineering Organization at VMware, as well as myself, sat down to for a discussion with Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here’s a sample of our conversation:

On Flexibility:

“Today, customers virtualize environments, but also must provision physical storage containers. They have to anticipate their uses over time and have to make an investment up front in resources that they’ll need over a long period of time … Software-defined storage advocates a new model, where application sand VMs [Virtual Machines] are provisioned at the moment that the application needs them. The storage resources that they need are provisioned on demand, exactly for that the application— nothing more or less.” — Karamanolis

On the Virtual SAN Policy Driven Model:

“Virtual SAN is a product that is completely policy driven, and we call it VM-centric or application-centric. The whole management paradigm for storage, when you use Virtual SAN, is predicated around the VM and the policies that you create and you assign to the VMs as you create your VMs as you scale your environment.” — Farronato

On Enterprise Agility and Speed :

“What we really see here is a shift in paradigm about how our customers use Virtual SAN today to enable them to have a much faster turnaround for trying new applications, new workloads, and getting them from test and dev into production, without having to be constrained by the processes and the timelines that are imposed by a central storage IT organization.” — Karamanolis

On customer adoption:

“… it is interesting to see that a technology like Virtual SAN is resonating across several market segments, pretty much all the market segments, and so it expresses a value proposition that is broadly applicable.” — Farronato

On Virtual Desktop Infrastructure:

“…the cost of storage is the main impediment in organization to implement a VDI strategy. With Virtual SAN, as Alberto mentioned earlier, we provide compelling cost proposition, both in terms of the capacity of the storage, as well as the performance you gain out of the storage.” — Karamanolis

There is, of course, much more to VMware Virtual SAN. To learn more, listen to the full BriefingsDirect podcast here.  If you’ll be attending VMworld this year, I invite you to my presentation on Monday, 8/25 at 11am PT, to hear more about the transformation of enterprise storage, session STO1853-S.

Follow VMware Virtual SAN on Twitter at @vmwarevsan or go to our website for whitepapers, technical guides and instructional videos. For more blogs, check out the vSphere Blog.

Big Data Design Considerations: Hadoop and Storage Choices

When deploying Hadoop on vSphere, an important choice to make is the storage architecture for your data. There are several approaches to addressing this subject. We explore two important and contrasting approaches in this blog in order to help Hadoop architects understand their choices better. The different storage approaches described here are the direct-attached storage (DAS) one and the network-attached storage (NAS) style. We will see that these two can be combined together also to produce an elegant design for managing the different forms of data that appear in Hadoop/Big Data applications.
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