Redefining the blueprint for software-defined storage

March 13, 2015
Redefining the blueprint for software-defined storage

By Ian Jansen van Rensburg, Senior Systems Engineering Manager at VMware Southern Africa

The value of software-defined storage (SDS) cannot be underscored enough. As it grows and matures it is shifting the way in which the business and the solution provider visualise storage, specifically within the realm of integrated software-defined data centres. This space has become incredibly exciting with significant changes that allow for far more flexibility and scalability, without the hefty price tags and complex implementations.

In a recent post we examined the one of our two new generation solutions within the enterprise SDS space – VMware Virtual SAN 6. Now we take a closer look at vSphere Virtual Volumes and how this industry first enables native virtual machine awareness across an impressive range of third-party storage systems.

Both of these solutions are cost-effective and simple, designed to answer the enterprise’s requirements through an improved hypervisor-converged storage tier and a new virtual machine-aware integration with existing storage arrays. It’s cloud-aware and part of our defined strategy to develop SDS to the kind of operational efficiency that server virtualization has brought to compute.

The VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes is something we are pretty proud of as it sets a new industry standard for SDS. One of the long standing issues facing the industry has been enabling the storage arrays to become virtual machine aware, and what this solution does is provide a set of storage APIs that enable a more granular integration between storage and VMware vSphere at the individual machine level.

Now the storage array can dynamically provision both capacity and data services for every, single virtual machine. And this then results in an agile, cost-efficient and easily managed storage infrastructure. Storage arrays that feature the vSphere Virtual Volumes implementation can be managed through a common control plane and this extends our SDS vision of application-centric, policy-based automation across heterogeneous storage.

Our five design partners of Dell, EMC, HP, IBM and NetApp played a pivotal role in defining the direction of this technology, and our initial set of vSphere Virtual Volumes-enabled storage products are due out in the first half of this year from Atlantis Computing, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, NEC, NetApp, NexGen Storage, Pure Storage, Symantec and Tintri. We have a total of 29 storage partners on board with the programme and who will be introducing their own VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes enabled storage, including CommVault Nimble Storage and SolidFire.

VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes will help to bridge the transition of storage from the traditional virtual to the SDS data centre and cloud environments. It’s a rich solution and one that’s already gained significant traction in the market, bringing a new level to what SDS can achieve and recreating the blueprints for storage.



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