Feature Overview

The policy-driven control plane is the management layer of the VMware software-defined storage model, which automates storage operations through a standardized approach that spans across the heterogeneous tiers of storage in the virtual data plane.

Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM) is VMware’s implementation of the policy-driven control plane which provides common management over:

  • vSphere Virtual Volumes - external storage (SAN/NAS)
  • Virtual SAN – x86 server storage
  • Hypervisor-based data services – vSphere Replication or third-party solutions enabled by the vSphere APIs for IO Filtering

Policy-Driven Automation on Software-Defined Storage


SPBM allows capturing storage requirements (capacity, performance, availability, etc.) for applications in the form of logical templates called VM storage policies. By defining or adjusting policies, SPBM automates the provisioning process at scale and enables dynamic control of storage service levels on the fly for individual virtual machines. Policies are also the mechanism to automate monitoring and to ensure compliance of storage service levels throughout the lifecycle of the application.

Dynamic control achieved through policy-driven automation enables agile storage consumption for VMs, which ultimately delivers faster provisioning for new applications and simplifies change management, as the VI Admin no longer depends on the Storage Admin to fulfill infrastructure change requests. The VI Admin can make changes to policies at any time, and the necessary infrastructure changes are configured through automation. This allows for quicker adjustments to business changes.

Extensibility for Private Cloud Deployments


To enable agile delivery of IT services in private cloud environments and enable self-service consumption of storage services for application tenants, SPBM provides integration points with data center management tools, such as scripting, and cloud automation solutions, such as vRealize Automation (formely vCloud Automation Center), PowerShell, and OpenStack.

Automation and control through SPBM allow organizations to simplify storage management and more quickly deliver value to IT customers. Application administrators can consume storage as a service and are no longer constrained to bottlenecks that existed with service fulfillment in the traditional storage operational model.

Profile-Driven Management on Traditional Storage


For VMFS and NFS datastores running on traditional LUN -based storage, SPBM enables profile-driven management based on pre-allocations of storage resources and capabilities. Storage policies are used to ensure that only datastores compliant with VM requirements are made available for consumption, simplifying VM placement and service level monitoring and compliance.

To change the storage profiles exposed for control on SPBM, the right set of capabilities must be first configured on the physical infrastructure. This is different from policies on software-defined storage, where precise combinations of resources and data services can be dynamically instantiated in real time, with VM-level granularity if necessary.