On June 4 , IBM announced improvements to the IBM DS8870 storage software. I had the pleasure to work with a team of IBM colleagues from around the world to document some of those enhancements in IBM Redbooks publications. My focus was on VMware vSphere and in particular the new features that pertain to the DS8870. With VAAI we now also support the Block Zero primitive in addition to ATS and Clone Blocks previously introduced.
We did some testing with the Block Zero primitive which is used to zero-out disk regions. This is for example useful when creating Thick Provision Eager Zeroed Virtual Disks in vSphere. With this feature it's possible to offload the work for creating the Virtual Disk from the Host to the Storage System.
The latest code release of the IBM DS8870 also supports VAAI for ESX4.1. So if you are running some vSphere hosts with ESX4.1 you now can install the IBM Storage Device Driver for VMware VAAI on these hosts and also offload some of the tasks from your hosts to your DS8870 Storage System.
Another very nice feature which we experimented with is the IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter. This is also often called VMware vCenter Storage Management Plugin, vCenter Storage Plugin, or simply vCenter Plugin. It is software that you can download from the IBM website and install on your vCenter Management Server. After the plugin is installed, it enables VMware admins to independently and centrally manage their storage resources on IBM storage systems. These storage systems include DS8000, FlexSystem V7000, SONAS, Storwize and SVC.
I included a screenshot taken from the DS8870 used when creating the book material. For example you can now add new volumes and map them to hosts from this window. You can also see more details in the vSphere GUI about the volumes, like existing Flashcopy or Mirroring relationships, thin provisioned or standard volumes or which pool does a volume belong to?
I encourage you to explore the great benefits offered by the plugin.
You will be able to read more details about all these features and see practical examples in a soon to be released version of the IBM Redpaper publication: " IBM System Storage DS8870 and VMware synergy, REDP-4915.