Virtual Volumes (vVols)

Virtual Volumes on HDS VASA Provider 3.3

Recently I had a chance to catch up with Hitachi Data Systems Solutions Marketing Manager Dinesh Singh on the latest VASA Provider 3.3. According to Dinesh this new version introduces significant enhancements that will enable HDS customers to accelerate the adoption of this transformational storage technology. Since VMware and HDS launched vVols in early 2015, there have been few sticking points for wide adoption, especially array-based replication, availability of the VASA provider, DR automation, testability, and vROPs support. With the release of VASA provider 3.3, HDS has taken a giant stride in delivering on customer expectations in their vVols journey.  Dinesh shared the following information on how the HDS VASA Provider 3.3 answers their most common customer requests.

1. High availability of VASA Provider:

What would happen to vVols-VMs, if the VP goes down for some reason? Will I be able to create new VMs and deliver storage services, while my VP is down? These are common questions  from HDS customers. The simple answer is your VMs will continue to run uninterrupted, as IO flows through in-band path via protocol endpoint. However, unavailability of VP will prevent you from provisioning new VMs or performing any data operations, as they are enabled by the VP. To maximize the VP uptime, HDS now allows customers to configure vSphere Fault Tolerance to ensure continuous availability of the VP. Please remember that for FT to work, you would require to provision two hosts in active-active cluster mode and two VMs will work in lockstep. All the configurations and changes on primary VMs will be mirrored on the other VM. As shown in the image below, If the primary VM goes down, the VM on other host will take over and the vVols operations will continue with zero (minimal) impact. If your shop has higher tolerance for downtime, you have less resource-intensive vSphere High Availability (HA) option.

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2. Array-based replication:

As of today the current version of vSphere Virtual Volumes does not support array based replication (ABR) natively. To deal with unanticipated business disruptions including array breakdown, site-failure and ensure disaster recovery with minimum RPO, customers require array-enable replication functionality. Without business continuity and disaster recovery plans, customers run the risk of loss of business, compliance violation, lawsuits or even going out of business.  One of the frequent questions that we hear is how can remote backup and recovery be accomplished with vVols? Now, using the HDS VASA Provider 3.3, you will have prescriptive guidance and a toolset to configure data volume replication between two sites using vVols datastores by leveraging Hitachi Universal Replication or Hitachi File Replication for NFS vVols. The image below shows the widget for setting up cross-site VM-data transfer for fail-over. You can fail-back VMs to the protected site at a later point of time, once it is restored.

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HDS-33. Single Sign-on:

VASA provider 3.3 introduces Single sign-on feature that acts as authorization broker for simplified access to vVols environments. Now, you have anytime, anywhere access to securely log into your vVols set-up across block and file VASA providers, with a single set of credentials.

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4. Simplified VASA Provider Installation :

HDS is introducing integrated HCS (Storage management software) for vVols within the virtual VP appliance to further simplify the vVols deployment and operations. Now, you need to install just one VM, which includes the functionality of HCS-for-vVols and VASA provider. Hitachi VASA provider simplifies deployments and management of vSphere Virtual Volumes on different storage systems by providing a unified installation package for block and file systems.

As you can see HDS has significantly enhanced their VASA Provider to make the move to Virtual Volumes that much more appealing. If you have questions related to architecture, scale, compatibility matrix, deployment, a detailed HDS vVols FAQ can be found here.

Also, if VMworld figures in your itinerary in next few months, be sure to register for breakout session   STO-8840 – Deploy Scalable Private Cloud with vSphere Virtual Volumes where Dinesh and I will be co-presenting the HDS vVols solution. 

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