Virtual Volumes (vVols)

Virtual Volumes (vVols) on Pure Storage FlashArray

Pure Storage recently introduced vVols support for their FlashArray All-Flash-Array with its Purity 5.0.0 operating environment. This highly anticipated addition to the Virtual Volumes partner program includes the latest VASA certification providing support for array-based replication.

A few important things to note:

  • The FlashArray supports VASA 3.0–this means array-based replication support with Virtual Volumes.
  • The VASA provider is built into the FlashArray controllers–so no customer-led installation or configuration is required. Simply upgrade your FlashArray to Purity 5.0.0 and the VASA providers will be ready to go.
  • vVols are supported with iSCSI and FibreChannel.
  • The FlashArray provider is one of the few to fully support Active-Active VASA providers to provide high-availability for the VASA connection.
  • No Licensing: With the FlashArray all software features are free–if you have a FlashArray with active support, all features are available to you without a license.
  • vVols are supported on the FlashArray 400 series, FlashArray//M and FlashArray//X. This dates back to the FlashArray 420 that came out in mid-2013.


Why Virtual Volumes

VMware customers have shared several key reasons for migrating to Virtual Volumes. The easiest way I’ve found to describe why is because vVols are simpler, smarter, and faster.

Simpler: The architecture of Virtual Volumes radically simplifies storage management for both vSphere and storage admins.

Smarter: VMware’s Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) enables vSphere administrators to over come upfront storage provisioning challenges, such as capacity planning, differentiated service levels and managing capacity headroom.  

Faster: With Virtual Volumes virtual disks become native objects on the storage array. This means VM operations like clones and snapshots are executed natively by the storage array. Any VM placed onto a vVol datastore gets all of these benefits out of the box.


Policy-Based Management on Pure Storage

Virtual Volumes is more than just storage granularity (though, don’t get us wrong–it is indeed a huge benefit of it). vVols are also about flexible, policy-based management, as well as streamlined, standards-based automation. Configuring your virtual machine storage exactly as you need it, using the built-in vCenter VM storage policy creation tools. Leveraging storage capabilities advertised by an array’s VASA Provider (VP), a VMware administrator can create storage policies and then apply them to an entire VM or individual virtual disk.

Need a virtual disk to be snapshotted once a night? Put it in a 24 hours snapshot policy.


Need an entire VM to be replicated every 5 minutes to two different arrays in two different DR sites? Create that policy and assign it to that whole VM.


Once assigned, check and ensure compliance to that policy:


Storage configuration is just the start of the benefits of vVols.


FlashArray Plugin for vSphere

The introduction of virtual volumes doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more integration value-add. The FlashArray Plugin for the vSphere Web Client adds a variety of new features around Virtual Volumes. For instance, accidentally deleted a virtual disk? Two-click restore will instantly get that virtual volume back. You can also automate the creation of storage profiles by importing FlashArray protection policies. See a demo here:

Furthermore, quite soon Pure Storage will release a workflow package for vRealize Orchestrator that leverages the FlashArray Plugin for vRO to offer a variety of vVol-related workflows like array-replication based Test Failover. See a preview here.


Learn More

Regardless of your storage vendor, Pure Storage’s Cody Hosterman has authored an abundance of  Virtual Volumes educational content.

Overview Posts:

Deep Dive Blog Posts:

Light Board Videos:


Also New from Pure Storage for VMware:

VMware Validated! SDDC 4.1 with Pure Storage

This certification is based a VMware Validated Design, which provides an extensively tested blueprint for customers to confidently build out their VMware private cloud using the VMware platform and the FlashArray All-Flash-Array. The reference architecture with Pure is delivered through VMware’s certified integration partners.

ActiveCluster support with vSphere Metro Storage Cluster

We’re all super excited to see ActiveCluster released with Purity 5.0. Now we include support with VMware’s Metro Storage Cluster to deliver an end-to-end availability solution from VM to storage leveraging Pure synchronous replication, active/active stretch cluster, and VMware HA for customers who demand zero RPO and RTO.



VMware is excited to kick-off 2018 with Pure Storage support for Virtual Volumes. The initial VASA Provider version 1.0 simplifies storage management and delivers the right data services to applications efficiently and consistently. For more information be sure to check out the Pure Storage vVols Page


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