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At VMware, we believe that VM-centric, policy-based management is the right way to manage storage. For environments with traditional SAN and NAS storage, Virtual Volumes (vVols) is the way to get there.

So, when we introduced vSphere 6.0 this year, we made a conscious decision to expose vVols to the broadest customer base to allow this new framework to become the standard model going forward. One contributing factor is that we aligned the technology pieces necessary to implement vVols as features in all major vSphere editions:

  • vSphere Virtual Volumes
  • vSphere Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM)
  • vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA)

But there is another feature necessary to enable a fully successful vVols implementation: vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI).  For general context, VAAI offloads specific storage operations to supported arrays, allowing vSphere to perform key storage operations faster while consuming less CPU and memory. In the vVols context, there are scenarios in which a migration of a vVol object may not be handled by the array using VASA, at which point the migration would fall back to using VAAI offload primitives. You can read in detail about the interaction between vVols and VAAI in this article.

But the bottom line is that VAAI should be available for customers looking to implement Virtual Volumes. Licensing was not properly aligned, as VAAI had been restricted to vSphere Enterprise and Enterprise Plus so far. So, as of May 2015, we have made the necessary licensing update. VAAI, along with all aforementioned features necessary for Virtual Volumes are licensed with the following:

  • vSphere Standard, Enterprise and Enterprise Plus
  • All edition of vSphere with Operations Management
  • All editions of vCloud Suite
  • All editions of vSphere for Remote and Branch Offices (ROBO)

Now go and implement some Virtual Volumes with the confidence that all the necessary functionality is properly available and supported.

For more information about licensing, you can refer to the VMware Product Guide.