V-Sphere 6 – What’s New With Virtual Volumes?

One of the banner features introduced in vSphere 6 is virtual volumes. VMware documentation describes VVOLs as an integration and management framework for storage, particularly SANs and NASs, which allow IT operations to be optimized for application performance and ease of management running in a virtualized environment instead of being force fit into a specific infrastructure.

VVOLs simplify IT operations by allowing the IT administrators to set policies for storage usage by virtual machines.

VVOLs software-defined storage provides administrators benefits such as:

· Automation of storage assignment via policies

· Self-service capabilities for the application administrator via cloud automation tools (VMware vRealize™ Automation™, PowerCLI, OpenStack)

· Simplified change management for IT infrastructure via policies

· Better matching of storage class of service to VM requirements

· Per-VM visibility into storage performance and usage

· Easy transition – allows use of existing FC, iSCSI, NFS protocols over heterogeneous storage

· Protection of existing storage investments – VVOLs  eliminate static and inefficient storage implementation.

Think of VVOLs as a “storage abstraction layer” for your virtual environment. Since storage devices can offer data services such as compression, deduplication, snapshotting, replication and migration, with VVOLs these services can now be made available to an individual VM through policies. VVOLs enable the Policy-Driven Control Plane which provides automatic provisioning and monitoring of storage usage to individual VMs across heterogeneous storage devices.


Figure 1 Software-defined datacenter as illustrated in VMware VVOL white paper


VMware describes VVOLs as “making the VMDK a first class citizen in the storage world.” I look forward to playing around with VVOLs in our vSphere 6 lab. I hope you will too.

VMware’s official site contains a white paper which provides in-depth details on VVOLs

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