vVols is a completely new concept designed to be the next generation of storage. However, todays storage protocols cause significant issues in adapting VM-centric approach. They might not realize a sudden change in their existing architecture, but modifications to scale VM growth.

Be it snapshots, clones or replication, today everything is LUN-centric in storage world. The storage pool on the array is carved up into LUNs or shares, and then taken up by VM application. But what if the VM admin can decide upon the storage requirements of an application and can ask storage array to create VMDK?

This question is well-answered by VMware’s upcoming concept – vVols or Virtual Volumes, that talk about VM-centric approach. A VMDK stored inside the storage system, being the single source for storing entire contents of a VM, typically includes all metadata associated with it. There are three main parts that makeup the current known state of vVvols.

  • Storage Provider: allows storage system capabilities to be recognized and used by vCenter using VASA
  • Protocol Endpoint:  the I/O de-multiplexor device which will exist on a storage system and will represent a logical I/O channel from ESXi hosts to entire storage system
  • Storage Container: the capacity pool on storage system

Quite evidently, vVols can simplify data and virtual infrastructure management by shifting responsibilities between teams and removing multiple layers of complexity. So what remains to be seen, is how vVols will be a significant step toward storage-VM integration.

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