Official release of VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) in Q1 2015 has generated tremendous interest with customers. VVol extends VMware's software defined story to its storage partners and it completely changes the paradigm in which storage is consumed by the hypervisor. With VVol implementation, storage intensive tasks are off-loaded by the server hypervisor to application-aware, policy-driven storage. It also simplifies storage management, puts the virtual machines in charge of their own storage, and gives more fine-grained control over virtual machine storage. With Virtual Volumes, an individual virtual machine, not the datastore, becomes a unit of storage management, while storage hardware gains complete control over virtual disk content, layout, and management.
IBM is VMware’s strategic alliance partner and is a key design partner for VVol. IBM has announced support of VVol with XIV storage in lock-step with VMware’s general availability of vSphere 6.0 product. IBM’s integration of Virtual Volumes in XIV is based on the VMware API for Storage Awareness (VASA 2.0) delivered by IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition. This integration facilitates off-loading of the following storage-intensive virtual machine operations to IBM XIV storage with predictable performance and effective capacity utilization.
- Snapshot operations of a virtual machine using Virtual Volumes datastore
- Cloning of virtual machine using Virtual Volumes datastore
- Storage migration of virtual machine from non- VVol to Virtual Volumes datastore
The figure below shows a pictorial representation of a Virtual Volumes implementation with XIV using IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition.
IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition implements the VMware Virtual Volumes APIs, providing a separate management bridge between vSphere and XIV storage. This management bridge separates the data path from the management path. IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition enables communication between vSphere stack (ESXi hosts, vCenter server and the vSphere Web Client) and IBM XIV storage. IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition maps virtual disk objects related to virtual machines and their derivatives such as snapshots and clones, directly to the XIV storage system.
ESXi hosts access Virtual Volumes through an intermediate point in data path, called the Protocol Endpoint (PE). It is also referred to as the Administrative Logical Unit (ALU) on XIV storage. ALU allows XIV storage to carry out storage-related tasks on behalf of the ESXi host.
Virtual Volumes reside on storage containers on XIV. Storage containers represent groupings of Virtual Volumes attached to a virtual machine. IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition associates a storage container with a single XIV pool. The storage containers are characterized by a storage service which combines storage capacity along with storage attributes such as encryption, thick/thin provisioning type. This storage container acts as a virtual datastore and matches application specific requirements of a virtual machine .
For detail step by step implementation of VVol in IBM XIV using IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition, refer to this technical paper : https://www.ibm.com/partnerworld/page/stg_ast_sto_wp-vmware-vsphere-virtual-volumes-using-xiv
IBM XIV delivers excellent levels of storage abstraction, easy automated provisioning and policy compliant capabilities through its integration with VVol. IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition delivers the VASA capabilities for XIV’s tight integration with VVol and plays a strategic role in IBM’s software defined storage initiative by providing storage agility and efficiencies required for today’s demanding application workloads.
Here are some videos you might also like to view to hear directly from VMware and IBM on our strategic partnership and joint VVol development efforts.
Powerful IBM XIV Storage Integration with VMware Virtual Volumes - Laura Guio
VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes and IBM XIV: A perfect fit
Additionally we have a Virtual Volume demo you should check out:
vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOL) with IBM XIV Storage System
If you happen to onsite at the IBM Edge2015 event in Las Vegas the week of May 11th, be sure to attend the IBM-VMware session on Monday or Friday on this very topic:
Monday, 5/11 4:30 - 5:30 pm, San Polo 3503
Friday, 5/15 10:30 - 11:30 am, San Polo 3503
IBM Spectrum Control Base Edition: Orchestrate and Automate IBM Storage with VMware
Presenters: Yossi Siles, IBM and Rawlinson Rivera, VMware