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Dell Technologies has a long history of partnering closely with VMware to build cutting-edge technologies designed to help customers transform and modernize their IT infrastructure. The Dell EMC PowerMax storage array, a high-end storage leader, has consistently delivered innovative capabilities to support VMware environments running mission-critical workloads. Examples include offering PowerMax as a principal storage platform for VMware Cloud Foundation providing customers with high-performance storage for their hybrid cloud deployments. In addition, Dell Technologies and VMware have also partnered to provide integrations for vVols, vRealize Orchestrator, and vRealize Automation to further extend high-end storage access to mission-critical workloads. Over 95% of Fortune 100 companies run their mission-critical applications on PowerMax and Dell EMC high-end storage arrays.

In continuation of this close partnership with VMware, Dell Technologies has released a new version of PowerMax OS software that supports vVols using the VMware APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA). PowerMax OS is tightly integrated with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) to make it simpler and easier to deliver business continuity for mission-critical applications. With this release, organizations using vVols with PowerMax can transition from hardware-centric storage management to application-centric software management. PowerMax streamlines IT operations by delivering policy-driven automation, resilient business continuity, disaster recovery assurance, and massive workload consolidation using 64,000 granular data volumes per array.

By deploying vVols datastores on PowerMax, customers can take advantage of the array’s enterprise-grade application service levels, machine-learning-based data performance, data encryption, data reduction techniques, greatly simplified vVols management, easy vVols configuration, and policy-driven SRM automation.

Enterprise-grade service level to vVols

PowerMax was built to handle the most demanding mission-critical IT applications, including today and tomorrow‘s VMware virtual workloads.

PowerMax delivers unprecedented levels of performance, with up to 15 million IOPS, 350GBs bandwidth, and predictable read response times under 100 µs using SCM NVMe drives for the most demanding virtual workloads. Also, vVols leverage fast data access trusted SRDF, and efficient business continuity with SnapVX to deliver unmatched security, and efficiency with PowerMax.

mission critical vVols

Easy vVols configuration

PowerMax provides two instances of embedded VASA 3.0 Providers as in-built virtual apps for high-availability and they come pre-configured from the factory to save time and simplify deployment. To further enhance the vVols configuration, Unisphere for PowerMax offers a robust dashboard to complete the end-to-end vVols configuration by simply performing a few simple steps – register VASA to vSphere, create storage container(s), create replication group(s), create and provision Protocol Endpoint(s) (PE) – Fibre Channel or iSCSI. After configuring vVols, the VMware admin allocates vVols datastore to the virtual machines, selects the appropriate application-centric policy for the VM(s)– each application gets a tailored service level from the underlying PowerMax storage platform depending on the business needs.

Simplified vVols management

With the latest PowerMaxOS release, the management of vVols on PowerMax is very easy, as both storage and VMware administrator’s roles are greatly simplified enabling more application-centric vVols management. The storage admin creates PowerMax storage containers and specifies attributes to the vSphere SPBM engine. After the storage admin task, VMware admin selects the appropriate policy for the relevant VMs and gains full control of the complete PowerMax storage management lifecycle related to vVols. This simplification unlocks the power of PowerMax to the Sphere hosts to utilize effective applications’ service level agreement and take the vSphere datastore needs to the next level of efficiency, scalability, and performance.

The VMware Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) framework allows operational efficiency and ease of use in managing PowerMax through VASA providers.

Policy-driven vVols with SRM automation

While streamlining setup and configuration tasks are important, the ability to simplify operations through policy-driven automation increases storage efficiency and consumption and enables more agile storage consumption for virtual machines with dynamic adjustments in real-time when they are needed. It simplifies the delivery of storage service levels to individual applications by providing finer control of hardware resources and native array-based data services that can be instantiated with virtual machine granularity. Dell EMC’s VASA enables SRM direct access to underlying SRDF for storage replication bypassing the need for a Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) – a lightweight application, which was required for the previous version of SRM. Besides, VASA allows SRM to automate storage-based disaster recovery operations on PowerMax arrays using SRDF. The vVols failover testing within SRM helps businesses to their regulatory compliance audit, failover guarantee, and saves resources on the recovery site leveraging the smart PowerMax snapshot feature.

Unlock the power of your traditional and modern workloads

Dell EMC PowerMax unlocks enterprise-grade storage and its robust data services to vVols for software-centric VMware virtual machines data storage as opposed to hardware-centric VMFS and RDM datastores. Using vVols, virtual machines leverage granular access to PowerMax trusted service levels – Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, data reduction, replication, efficiency, and security. Moreover, managing PowerMax storage tiers for vVols has become a very efficient and automated accelerating IT transformation towards value creation to business. PowerMax offers a simple, resilient, and scalable storage platform for vVols to be an ideal datastore for mission-critical applications.