StarWind Virtual SAN® VVols Technical Preview Guide

Published: January 2016

This document gives a comprehensive overview of Virtual Volumes (VVOLs), which represent a new storage integration and management framework supported in VMware vSphere 6. VVOLs virtualize storage arrays in order to offer simplified storage provisioning and consumption, and allow testing the VVOLs feature for non-production use cases in StarWind Virtual SAN environment and seeing how StarWind implements the latest storage technology from Vmware.

Virtual volumes come in the stead of VMDK-disks which are considered as the basic frame storage element. New technology focuses on the applications features and provides much more efficient possibilities to manage the underlying storage in virtualized environments. This approach allows to automate manual procedures performing, thus simplifies all disk operations. Based on the automation policies, it enables the provisioning and monitoring at a virtual machine (VM) level, making all tasks much easier.

Protocol Endpoint Protocol Endpoints (PEs) constitute the communication mechanism that provides ESXi host with the access to the storage system. Virtual machines connect to their associated VVOLs datasores through the paths determined by these endpoints. All I/O requests are submitted over the Protocol Endpoints to the VVol datastore which resides on the storage system. One PE can handle a big amount of such operations and connect to plenty VVOLs. For StarWind VSA Protocol Endpoints works through iSCSI protocol.

Datastore Virtual volumes are grouped inside the VVOLs datastores which represent storage containers in vCenter. VVOLs datastores could be used with traditional VMFS and NFS datastores, but they also offer richer capabilities associated with array and provide datastore level functionality. VVOLs locate at the storage containers called VVOLs datastores which can be built using one or more capability profiles.

Capability profiles define performance and capacity specifications of the VVOLs datastores. Such information as type of storage, caching and provisioning method can be found at profiles. For StarWind VVol datastores, these characteristics are based on storage devices. When a virtual volume is created, it is assigned a storage policy profile. The VVol datastore will show as compatible storage in vCenter or the vSphere Web Client if the associated capability profiles meet VMware storage policy requirements.

In StarWind Technical Preview there is methods how to reset all settings to default statements.

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