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By: Rawlinson Rivera, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware

This is a repost from Rawlinson’s personal blog, Punching Clouds

I recently posted an article about Architecting Storage Offering for vCloud Director 5.1. In the article I discussed new architecture considerations for the latest version of vCloud Director.

The middle of the article focuses around the use of Storage Profiles among other vSphere features that can now be leveraged by vCloud Director.

When I referenced the use of Storage Profiles I stated the following:

“The “*(Any)” storage profile is there by default, but it should not be included as part of any PVDC without considering the possible performance and operational risks.”

The reason for my statement was due to the possible risks any vCloud Director infrastructure can be exposed to without the correct use and understanding of the new storage features and capabilities discussed in the article.

As I’ve said before, vCloud Director is now capable of leveraging some of the vSphere storage technologies. For the most part, a majority of the storage related configurations are defined outside of the vCloud Director interface i.e. VM Storage Profile, Storage Clusters, etc. Cormac Hogan wrote an excellent article about the configuration and use of Storage Profiles. It’s a Must Read!

Storage Profiles are defined, organized, and configured in vSphere. The majority of the time we tend to label them by referencing precious  metals. An example of that is illustrated in the figure below.

Storage Profiles Defined in vSphere

All of the Storage Profiles created in vSphere will be available and presented to vCloud Director. Now, this is where things get interesting. If you take a look at the image below, you’ll notice that there are four storage profiles available during the creation of a Provider Virtual Datacenter (PVCD). Now based on the image above, the Storage Profile *(Any) was not created nor defined in vSphere, but yet it’s present in vCloud Director.

Storage Profiles View in vCloud Director

The *(Any) Storage Profile is a unique object in a way, as this doesn’t exist anywhere else other than vCloud Director. The *(Any) Storage Profile encompasses all of the storage resources that are presented and available to the hosts used in vCloud Director. This will also includes local storage (if any). Now, this is where things require a bit of focus, as this is the area where things can go wrong.

vCloud Director uses it’s own proprietary logic for vApp/Virtual Machine placements. This means that it can choose to use Local storage at any point in time. Since all available storage resources will be listed as part of the *(Any) Storage Profile regardless of their type or protocol (FC, iSCSI, NFS, Local) this to me could be a problem. vCloud Director doesn’t provide the ability to choose the vApp\Virtual Machine placement during deployments, and therefore the use of Local storage can present problems in regards to application performance, availability, SLA’s, etc as there will be no use of HA or DRS.

I find the use cases for when to use the *(Any) Storage Profile to be unique and in a way very complicated for cloud environments. The types of scenarios where I can see the benefit of using *(Any) Storage Profiles are focused around situations where hosts are not licensed to use the Storage Profiles feature, or  the hosts may not capable of using Storage Profiles. Scenarios with such constraints are the ones I see fit for the use of the *(Any) Storage Profile.

I highly recommend paying close attention to the creation and definition of storage offerings for vCloud Director especially where local storage is used.

Don’t use the *(Any) Storage Profile carelessly, and as a default setting for all PVDC. Use Storage Profiles to provide better granularity and service segmentation for vCloud Infrastructures.

– Enjoy

Rawlinson is a Senior Technical Marketing Manager in the Cloud Infrastructure Technical Marketing Group at VMware, focused on Storage Virtualization technologies. Previously he was an architect focused on Cloud and vSphere enterprise architectures for VMware fortune 100, 500 customers. Rawlinson is amongst the first VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#86), author of multiple books and a retired Professional Skater.