Product Announcements

vSphere Virtual Volumes

VVOLs-LogoToday VMware announced the release of vSphere 6.0 and with this announcement comes the official release of vSphere Virtual Volumes. vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) is VMware’s new management & integration framework designed to deliver a more efficient operational model for external storage.

vSphere Virtual Volumes implements the core tenants of the VMware SDS vision to enable a fundamentally more efficient operational model for external storage in virtualized environments, centering on the application instead of the physical infrastructure.

vSphere Virtual Volumes allows application-specific requirements to drive storage provisioning decisions while leveraging the rich set of capabilities provided by existing storage arrays. The value outcome of vSphere Virtual Volumes is threefold:

  • vSphere Virtual Volumes simplifies storage operations by automating manual tasks and eliminating operational dependencies between the vSphere Administrator and the Storage Administrator that only add complexity. Provisioning is faster, and change management is simpler as the new operational model is built upon policy-driven automation.
  • vSphere Virtual Volumes simplifies the delivery of storage service levels to applications by providing administrators with finer control of storage resources and data services at the VM level that can be dynamically adjusted in real time.
  • vSphere Virtual Volumes improves resource utilization by enabling more flexible consumption of storage resources, when needed and with greater granularity. The precise use of storage resources eliminates overprovisioning.

vSphere Virtual Volumes virtualize SAN and NAS devices into logical pools of capacity, called Virtual Datastore. vSphere Virtual Volumes represents virtual disks natively on the underlying physical storage. Virtual disks become the primary unit of data management at the array level without the need of the VMFS filesystem.

vSphere Virtual Volumes VMware offers a new paradigm, one in which an individual virtual machine and its drives become the unit of storage management, rather than the traditional LUN.

vSphere Virtual Volumes is the implementation of the virtual data plane for external storage in the VMware SDS model. vSphere Virtual Volumes is composed by two key implementations:

Flexible consumption at the logical level

vSphere Virtual Volumes virtualizes SAN and NAS devices by abstracting physical hardware resources into logical pools of capacity (called Virtual Datastore) that can be more flexibly consumed and configured to span on or more storage arrays. The Virtual Datastore defines capacity boundaries, access logic, and exposes a set of data services accessible to the VMs provisioned in the pool. Virtual Datastores are purely logical constructs that can be configured on the fly, when needed, without disruption and don’t require to be formatted with a file system.

Finer control at the VM level

vSphere Virtual Volumes defines a new virtual disk container (Virtual Volume) that is independent of the underlying physical storage representation (LUN, file system, object, etc.). In other terms, with Virtual Volumes the virtual disk becomes the primary unit of data management at the array level. This turns the Virtual Datastore into a VM-centric pool of capacity. It becomes possible to execute storage operations with VM granularity and to provision native array-based data services to individual VMs. This allows admins to provide the right storage service levels to each individual VM.

To enable efficient storage operations at scale, even when managing thousands of VMs, Virtual Volumes uses vSphere Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM). SPBM is the implementation of the policy-driven control plane in the VMware SDS model.

Efficient operations through automation

SPBM allows capturing storage service levels requirements (capacity, performance, availability, etc.) in the form of logical templates (policies) to which VMs are associated. SPBM automates VM placement by identifying available datastores that meet policy requirements and coupled with Virtual Volumes, it dynamically instantiates necessary data services. Through policy enforcement, SPBM also automates service level monitoring and compliance throughout the lifecycle of the VM.


Stay tuned, there is a lot more to come from the world’s greatest software-defined storage platform. For more information visit the vSphere Virtual Volumes product page.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds