Software-Defined Storage Virtual Volumes (vVols) vSphere Storage

Using SPBM Policies to Manage Your Virtual Volumes (vVols)

Virtual Volumes

In the first of the SPBM series, we talked about Tag based Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). Next, in the series, we will review how you can manage Virtual Volumes (vVols) using SPBM. If you are unfamiliar with vVols, take a look at for an overview and more details on what and how vVols revolutionizes standard external storage.

With vVols, the capabilities of the storage array are published via the VASA provider. Each array vendor has different implementations of their VASA.  Subsequently, the capabilities of each vendor and array can have different storage policies and functionality. For example, one array may have a performance tiering capability and a QoS IOPs limit or control while another vendor may have application specific page/block size to optimize application performance. Other capabilities may include deduplication, compression, encryption, array snapshot protection, or performance service levels.

Virtual Volumes and SPBM Capabilities

Virtual Volumes

Let’s look at some of the more common capabilities and how, with vVols and SPBM, management becomes significantly easier by not requiring storage administrator involvement. With vVols, you are able to setup different performance or quality of service policies within a single VVol datastore. This is possible with vVols because now the array manages capability via the SPBM policies you create. By using SPBM to manage performance, you no longer must create separate datastores for different performance tiers or other functionality.

In the image below, you see the different service levels you can choose for the same vVols datastore. A separate policy can be created for each service level and used within the same vVols datastore. When a specific policy is applied to a VM or object, the array manages the service level and ensures the VM gets the resources chosen. By being able to use different policies on the same vVols datastore, you save time, reduce complexity and cost of your storage infrastructure. No more separate LUN’s with different capabilities, it’s all managed via policies, and the array handles the work.

Virtual Volumes

Below is an example of an array that lets you chose the criticality for the policy. By choosing Mission critical, in this example, you ensure the VM is given resources above all other VMs. Within that same vVols datastore, you can have a non-critical policy, say for dev VMs. Because the array is aware of all the policies applied to the different VMs on that vVols datastore, it manages the allocation of resources based on those policies and ensures QoS accordingly.

Virtual Volumes

More examples of some of the capabilities arrays may offer when creating SPBM policies.

Virtual Volumes

Here is a video showing the creation of SPBM policies with vVols and some of the capabilities available.

One of the more advanced capabilities, with vendors using the latest VASA, is replication. This functionality allows you to create storage policies to protect a VM by replicating the VM to another array without interacting with the arrays themselves! No need to setup array volume level replication and replicate more data then is required. This can greatly reduce storage usage and WAN utilization, in turn, reducing complexity and cost of VM data protection. This gives you the granularity of using a policy for single VM or multiple VMs. Additionally, if needed, you can apply the policy to a single VMDK! Imagine needing to protect critical VMs, and by simply applying an SPBM policy, those VMs are now replicated to a secondary array based on parameters you have chosen!

Virtual Volumes

In the video below are a few ways you can apply SPBM policies on vVols datastores including setting up replication for a single virtual machine.

There are numerous ways you can use SPBM policies with Virtual Volumes. With SPBM and vVols, you no longer waste space, time and resources provisioning specific resources for individual datastores. A single Virtual Volume can have several different policies with different configurations and resource allocation for different VM requirements. You can similarly apply different policies to a single VM with different disk requirements; say for example an SQL server. vVols and vSAN work complementary with SPBM policies as well. With vVols and vSAN the published capabilities are managed by the array or vSAN themselves and do not require advanced or custom storage allocations. As a result, vVols and SPBM can save you money, storage space and free up time for more important responsibilities.

SPBM Resources

Stay Tuned for the SPBM Blog Series

  1. Using Tag-based SPBM Policies to Manage Your Storage
  2. Storage Capabilities and Services
  3. Data Services SPBM Policies

Related SPBM Posts


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