It would be quite accurate to state that virtualization technology today is gaining momentum, allowing companies to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO), reduce their datacenter footprint, ensure faster server provisioning, and more. However, implementing server virtualization without accounting for the storage element could cause problems, such as uneven resource sharing, as well as degradation in performance and data integrity.
Various IBM storage systems provide virtual enterprise storage for virtual servers. Specifically, the IBM storage systems work in concert with the following VMware virtualization platforms, standards, and environments:
- VMware vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi)
- VMware vSphere Web Client (vWC)
- VMware vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA)
- VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols)
- VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
- VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROPs)
To leverage, manage, and centralize this entire connectivity from a single interface, the IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition (SCBE) software package enables a simplified deployment and more efficient integration of different IBM storage systems (also referred to as storage arrays) and the VMware vCloud suite.
IBM Storage with VMware vSphere Web Client (vWC)
Without SCBE, when VMware administrators run out of disk space and request more space from the storage administrators, the storage increase provisioning may take quite a long time to implement and complete. This occurs mostly because of miscellaneous enterprise “red tape” procedures and processes. Moreover, before provisioning additional storage, storage administrators must fully understand the specific needs of the VMware administrators, then find available space on the attached storage systems, create and map storage volumes, and so on.
The SCBE solution uses an abstraction layer through a storage service and pre-defined sets of storage resources (pools) and capabilities (compression, encryption, etc). The services are prepared by storage administrators and provided for VMware administrators for fast and easy self-provisioning whenever required.
IBM Storage with VMware VASA and virtual volumes (VVols)
In the traditional data storage implementations, storage administrators manage multiple VMFS-based datastores with up to 7 TB in size and without explicit indication of storage capabilities. In addition, all VM snapshot and replication procedures are performed on the ESXi server side, without leveraging much faster hardware-based storage system capabilities.
The virtual volume (VVol) approach eliminates the VM granularity by introducing a single large VVol-based datastore with dynamic definition of storage policies (services) for provisioning storage resources exactly according to application requirements.
IBM Storage with VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
With the IBM Storage Plug-in for VMware vRealize Orchestrator, VMware administrators can include storage discovery and provisioning into their workflows. The plug-in allows issuing automated workflows with storage volumes that are attached to the vRealize Orchestrator server, eliminating the need for manual storage provisioning by storage administrators.
IBM Storage with VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROps)
Monitoring IBM storage systems without VMware vROPs is limited to information about their physical objects. When using the IBM Storage Management Pack for vROPs, the storage systems are integrated into global monitoring network at the network operations center (NOC). The systems appear on vROPs dashboards, presenting in detail all relations between storage system objects (disks, ports, volumes etc) and VMware objects (datastores and VMs).