Virtual Volumes is a new integration and management framework that virtualizes SAN/NAS arrays, enabling a more efficient operational model that is optimized for virtualized environments and centered on the application instead of the infrastructure.
Virtual Volumes simplifies operations through policy-driven automation that enables more agile storage consumption for VMs and dynamic adjustments in real time, when they are needed. It simplifies the delivery of storage service levels to individual applications by providing finer control of hardware resources and native array-based data services that can be instantiated with VM granularity.
Benefits of Virtual Volumes
Simplifies Storage Operations
Virtual Volumes simplifies storage operations by automating manual tasks and eliminating operational dependencies between the VI Admin and the Storage Admin that have traditionally added complexity. Provisioning is faster and change management is simpler as the new operational model is built upon policy-driven automation.
Simplifies the Delivery of Storage Service Levels
Virtual Volumes simplifies the delivery of storage service levels to applications by providing administrators with finer control of storage resources and data services at the VM level that can be dynamically instantiated and controlled in real-time.
Improves Resource Utilization
Virtual Volumes improves resource utilization by enabling more flexible consumption of storage resources, when needed and with greater granularity. The precise consumption of storage resources eliminates overprovisioning.
Key Technical Elements of Virtual Volumes
Flexible Consumption at the Logical Level
Virtual Volumes virtualizes SAN and NAS devices by abstracting physical hardware resources into logical pools of capacity (Virtual Datastores) that can be more flexibly consumed and configured to span a portion of, one or several storage arrays. Virtual Datastores are purely logical constructs that can be configured on the fly, when needed, without disruption and that don’t require to be formatted with a file system.
Finer Control at the VM Level
Virtual Volumes defines a new virtual disk container (Virtual Volume) that is independent of the underlying physical storage representation. The virtual disk becomes the primary unit of data management at the array level, turning the Virtual Datastore into a VM-centric pool of capacity and enabling VM-centric control of native array-based data services.
Efficient Operations through Automation
Storage Policy-Based Management allows capturing storage service levels requirements (capacity, performance, availability, etc.) in the form of logical templates (policies) to which VMs are associated. SPBM automates VM placement by identifying available datastores that meet policy requirements and coupled with Virtual Volumes, it dynamically instantiates necessary data services. Through policy enforcement, SPBM also automates service level monitoring and compliance throughout the lifecycle of the VM.
Storage Partner Ecosystem
Virtual Volumes is an industry-wide initiative supported by all major storage vendors that will allow customers to leverage the unique capabilities of their current storage investments, while transitioning to the new operational model without disruption.