Cloud Services

Mix and Match Storage Tiers

By David Hill

Recently VMware vCloud Hybrid Service released a new storage tier offering named Standard Storage.  Standard Storage is a low-cost storage option available as part of the Dedicated and Virtual Private Cloud services.  In the announcement blog article , we discussed the use cases for the different storage tiers.  In this article, we will look at when you would want to use both storage tiers at the same time, essentially configuring a Virtual Machine with multiple virtual disks on different storage tiers.

Use Case

In the original article we discussed database servers.  Let’s revisit this use case:

A database server predominantly has higher read/write requests and requires an increase in storage performance. The data is not very static; it’s extremely fluid, due to the nature of the application. With SSD-Accelerated Storage in vCloud Hybrid Service, an end user can get better performance to support the high data change rates within database applications. 

When running database servers, you want higher performance from your storage tier, but the downside is you are paying a higher cost for that storage tier.  What is needed is the ability to split your virtual disks across different storage tiers.

Why would we want to do this?

Let’s say we have a database server that needs 100GB for the OS plus application installation and 700GB for the database itself.  We only need the higher performance for the 700GB, so we could lower our costs if we split the virtual disks and placed them on the different tiers, essentially putting the OS/Application virtual disk on Standard Storage (cheaper) and the database virtual disk on SSD Accelerated Storage (higher performance).  By doing this, the costs are reduced as we are paying a lower price for the 100GB disk.



The diagram above shows at a high level how this is achieved.  By creating separate virtual disks, we can place these on the different storage tiers.  This is extremely easy to do.  Once the virtual machine is created, you can add another virtual disk by changing the settings on the virtual machine.

Let’s take a look at how we do this:

1. Open the Virtual Machine details within the UI and go to the settings tab:

2mmstorage2. Click anywhere on DISKS

3. Click “Storage Allocation”

3mmstorage4. Click “Add a Disk”

4mmstorage5. Select the storage tier (SSD-Accelerated) and specify disk size

5mmstorage6. Click “Adjust Storage Allocation”

7. Virtual Machine is configured

6mmstorage8. Once completed, you can see the two disks assigned to different storage tiers.


That’s it.  All done.  The virtual machine now has two virtual disks configured with different storage characteristics.

You can see by reviewing the above steps, that it is extremely easy to utilize multiple storage profiles within the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service, ultimately allowing you to manage the costs and capabilities of your cloud workloads.

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David Hill is currently a Senior Technical Marketing Architect in the Hybrid Cloud Business Unit. David has been a self-employed IT Consultant and Architect for around 15 years, working on projects for large consultancies and financial institutions. Dave blogs at his personal blog,, where he hopes to provide readers with an informative reference site when designing/deploying or troubleshooting virtualisation and cloud technologies.


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