A week or so ago I published an article about new View 5.1 storage features. I followed this up with a short video post explaining how you would go about using View Storage Accelerator. In this article, I want to demonstrate the other very cool feature in View 5.1, VCAI (View Composer API for Array Integration) to you. Although this feature is still in Tech Preview for View 5.1, it is a very cool enhancements which could have very many benefits when it is eventually fully supported as a feature.

Another way of describing this feature is Native NFS Snapshots. Essentially, what the feature allows you to do is to offload the creation of the linked clones which back your View desktops to the storage array, and let the storage array handle this task. In order to do this, the NAS storage array on which the snapshots are being deployed must have the NAS Native Snapshot VAAI (vSphere API for Array Integration) feature, which was first introduced in vSphere 5.0. A special VIB/plugin (provided by the 3rd party storage array vendor) must also be installed on the ESXi host to allow us to use this offload mechanism.

The main advantage of VCAI is an improvement in performance and a reduction in the time taken to provision desktops based on linked clone pools. This task can now be offloaded to the array, which can then provision these linked clones natively rather than have the ESXi host do it. 

What follows is a short video (approx. 3 and a half minutes) of setting up View 5.1 VCAI feature, showing an installed VCAI VIB from NetApp on the ESXi host, and then how to use native NFS snapshots when creating desktop pools based on linked clones. Again, my thanks to Graham Daly of VMware KBTV fame for his considerable help with this.

Further detail about the View Composer for Array Integration (VCAI)  can be found on the EUC blog here.

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About the Author

Cormac Hogan

Cormac Hogan is a Senior Staff Engineer in the Office of the CTO in the Storage and Availability Business Unit (SABU) at VMware. He has been with VMware since April 2005 and has previously held roles in VMware’s Technical Marketing and Technical Support organizations. He has written a number of storage related white papers and have given numerous presentations on storage best practices and vSphere storage features. He is also the co-author of the “Essential Virtual SAN” book published by VMware Press.