A Guide for VM-aware Storage

One of the challenges when dealing with virtualized environments is latency caused by random I/O generation. Keep reading for in-depth information on VM-aware appliances and how one vendor is leading the technology trend.

A virtual machine environment conserves energy, makes it easier to consolidate data and reduces the need for physical systems, which is why you can find VMs everywhere these days. But for all of the benefits the technology provides, the rise of virtual servers has presented unique challenges for storage. Thanks to random I/O generated from server virtualization, latency has increased, and mapping LUNs and volumes has become a tedious job. VM-aware storage has stepped up to the plate to overcome the problems that come with a virtual machine environment.

This storage was designed with virtual environments in mind. To be considered VM-aware, a product needs to simplify implementation and management with software that manages the data associated with virtual machines. By improving communication between storage and the hypervisor, this storage option doesn’t have to rely on LUNs and the extra burden they can bring to virtualized environments.

According to vendors in the space, VM-aware storage can help users dodge the dreaded I/O blender effect, which occurs when the hypervisor becomes too overloaded. By preventing this and other issues associated with LUN and volume use, VM-aware storage allows for better performance and more efficient data migration in virtual environments.

However, the technology isn’t a cure-all. There is no industry-standard definition for VM-aware storage, so it could be difficult for organizations to decide if what a vendor is selling is what they actually want. There are technologies that perform the same function, but go by a completely different name. So how can storage administrators know if an appliance can actually fix their virtual server storage issues?

This comprehensive guide offers a more thorough understanding of this type of storage. We’ll walk through the basics, see how virtual machine-aware appliances compare to other storage products on the market and take a deeper look at one storage vendor that is leading the virtual machine-aware storage pack.

What is VM-aware storage?

With the rise of virtualization over the past few years, there has also been an increase in the products and methods that simplify the deployment and management of the technology. Virtual machine-aware storage seeks to ease some of the burdens brought on by implementing a VM environment.

Helpful posts:

Understanding VM-aware storage options

Where does virtualization-aware storage work best? (Podcast)

Breakdown of VM-aware Storage

Hypervisor-aware Storage

Hypervisor-aware storage is a category of storage array that provides storage administrators with important information that can aid them in capacity planning and in automating and managing a virtual machine environment. If the technology sounds familiar, it’s because the terms hypervisor-aware storage and VM-aware storage are often used interchangeably, although some approaches do vary.

Helpful posts:

Lessons in virtual technology: Evaluating hypervisor-aware storage

How hypervisor-aware are today’s virtualized server environments?

Can hypervisor-aware systems improve virtual server performance?

Hypervisor- and VM-aware storage make VM fixes more accessible

How do VVOL’s come into play?

VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) are a feature in vSphere6 that more efficiently provision storage in a virtual machine environment. While they solve some of the same issues as VM-aware storage, the two approaches are not interchangeable.

Can VMware VVOLs replace virtual machine-aware storage?

How VMware VVOLs compares to VM-aware storage

VMware VVOLs helps with provisioning storage (E-Handbook)

How Tintri is Dominating the Market

Of the vendors operating in the virtual machine-aware storage space, Tintri has been leading the pack. With the following posts, catch up on what the company has been doing in the VM-aware storage market as well as the products they’ve developed.

Tintri adds VMware and Flocker persistent container storage

Tintri VMstore adds all-flash support for VM-aware storage

Tintri VMstore upgrades quality of service, snapshot management

VM Scale-out software added to Tintri storage

Tintri sets its VM-aware storage roadmap




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