VMworld US and Europe saw many announcements to expand software-defined data center solutions to help customers solve business challenges. Some notable enhancements included SRM integration with metro storage cluster, VSAN cluster, cross-site vMotion, OpenStack integration etc.
Truly reflecting the criticality of data storage strategy for IT infrastructure teams, storage vendors of all hues, hybrid, all-flash, hyper-converged were the largest constituent in the event. A quick walk down the aisles revealed that Virtual Volumes aka VVol was the key theme. It was made obvious that VVol management is set to become the preferred way of consuming storage services for virtual infrastructure admin and managing storage infrastructure for storage admin. After having attended a few VVol sessions, my belief was reinforced! VMware with support of large storage ecosystem, will make VVol as the primary storage management mechanism, helping build on the larger SDDC picture.
VVol ready for
Customers’ enthusiasm to learn more about VVol and how new storage management framework will ease their lives and save big bucks were all so palpable at HDS booth. I have to highlight that majority of walk-ins were from vSphere admins, who were clearly thrilled at the possibility of gaining visibility into storage services and also control over storage consumption! The added certainty of VMs getting storage services accurately and on-the-fly made admins smile ear-to-ear. Then they were comforted to hear how automation in storage provisioning will ensure right storage services as per individual VM’s needs. IMHO, VVol storage consumption would be much unlike current ticket-based storage provisioning, which leads to inefficiency and uncertainty in providing QoS per VM.
Storage admins pick the story when they learn that traditional piecemeal approach of presenting LUN-based storage to vSphere admin would soon be a thing of past as they can create storage container and different resource groups for VMs as one time activity and just be done with it. They can focus on higher value activities for organization.
I see uptick in customers looking to test the waters with VVol. They have begun deploying test/dev and non-critical workloads on VVol storage to quickly realize benefits of VVol framework and plan to extend the same to tier-1 applications as VVol technology matures. Few shops may wait for VVol integration with vROPs (vCOPs) and SRM before moving mission critical applications to VVol datastore.
A pat-on-the-back to Hitachi engineering teams in Japan and US for having delivered stable, robust policy-based management engine, intuitive user-interface and scalable platform that received accolades from VMware executives. VMware team rates Hitachi VVol implementation as the most advanced! It speaks volumes” about the years of effort Hitachi’s team has put in with VMware engineering team to make this successful!
Shifting gears … Hitachi converged solution Unified Compute Platform(UCP) will be the first integrated platform to provide VVol support. UCP family of converged solutions provide reliable foundation to deploy private and public cloud, with scale and agility that today’s businesses require to stay ahead of competition. Customers were left wondering after taking up Paul Meehan’s UCP challenge why they haven’t considered this one platform for workloads for their deployments for vSphere environments.
Paul Morrissey shared new ideas to improve VM automation, business continuity and data protection with and without VVols during his breakout session, which was well taken by audience. You can watch the recording here if you missed the session. Another breakout session saw Renee Lawrence and David Shyu demystifying data protection strategy for converged and hyper-converged environments. Recording here
However, among all this, what has puzzled me is the continued absence of EMC from the VVol landscape. It has not only struggled to provide VVol integration so far, but even the roadmap is not very promising. Oddly enough, even being “design” partner sometime doesn’t ensure timely product rollout. Looks like customers waiting for VVol support on EMC systems will have to wait little longer…
HDS was at the forefront to announce and support VVol initially on Hitachi NAS platform and later on industry leading array VSP G1000.
My colleague Paul Morrissey aptly quipped - “Hitachi filling the GAP while Dell and EMC take time to check each other out” to the applause from the audience while speaking in the VVol technical panel discussion…and yes, he was in between EMC and Dell, alongside NetApp and HP.
Look forward to roll out new exciting storage and availability solutions for vSphere @ VMworld 2016 !