Back in August 2015, a company called “Primary Data” has announced that it’s product “DataSpere” will be serving as a universal VASA provider to provide VVOL datastores in vSphere 6.0, so let’s illustrate each point in brief:

  • What is VVOL: Virtual Volume or VVOL is a new storage feature in vSphere 6.0, this storage feature makes vSphere aware of the underlying storage layer, like SAN storage, so there’s no longer a need to create a LUN then assign it to ESXi hosts as datastores, vSphere speaks to the storage to manage it and creates VVOL for each virtual machine, so the VVOL is like a LUN but it’s dedicated to a single VM, which  makes storage consumption more efficient.
  • SPBM: Storage Policy-Based Management, a new technique in VMware to assign storage with specific characteristics to VMs, in each policy we create we specify the characteristics of the storage according to the performance requirements of the applications, for example, database engines require low-latency storage, in other words high performance storage, so we create a storage policy that points to SSD or other fast type of hard drives, so whenever you assign that policy to a database VM it will be provisioned on high performance disks, VVOLs work by assigning storaage policies. So, you don’t select a datastore for the VM, you just select a policy and VMware decides where to locate this VM.
  • What is VASA provider: VASA stands for VMware APIs for Storage Awareness, it’s a piece of software – a plugin-like – developed by the storage manufacturer that integrates storage into vCenter in order to populate the features and capabilities of the storage array to the vSphere environment, instead of dealing with it as a black box, some of the capabilities of the storage like storage snapshots. By using VASA providers vSphere  can offload the processing of VM snapshots and cloning to the storage processor of the storage array, and this technique frees the hardware resources of the ESXi host to focus on other processing tasks. VASA Provider is required for using the VVOL feature.
  • What is DataSphere: it’s a product from “Primary Data” company, the purpose of this product is to populate, or let’s say “virtualize” the data layer, we can use any type of storage layer even if it doesn’t support VVOLs, we can link local FLASH drives, SAN, NAS, or even cloud storage to the DataSphere layer, and then it will represent these storages as a one “virtual” storage to the vSphere environment, so DataSPhere will be acting like a storage device to vSphere, DataSphere will be acting like a universal VASA provider in this case, got it? , and by using storage policies we can use VVOLs and vSphere doesn’t care where the data is!! .. Dataasphere is available as a virtual machine  and appliance.







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