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vSphere 6, Virtual Volumes Beta Testing Now Open

VMware starts testing of major hypervisor update as well as innovative virtual storage management component.

VMware has publicly released another beta version of vSphere 6.0, the next major update to its hypervisor technology. As a part of that second public beta, the company is also beta testing Virtual Volumes, an approach to virtual storage management.

Information posted at the VMware Community vSphere Beta Landing Page indicates that the vSphere 6.0 private beta is being opened up publicly to accelerate testing on a wider scale. No details on expected features is offered there, and beta testers are in fact discouraged from discussing any features in the beta products prior to downloading it. Blogger and vExpert Anupam Pushkar takes a stab at what features to expect, though, in this blog written back in April. Some guesses of interest:

  • Storage vMotion and basic storage API integration
  • Lots of cloud integration capabilities
  • Snapshot and clone support for Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server
  • Improved clustering and high availability
  • Improved mobility features
  • Improved vOps

Those interested in the beta can go to the landing page.

Virtual Volumes, also in public beta as part of the same program, is a new method for managing and provisioning storage that takes the place of the traditional LUNs you might be used to. VMware has more on VVOLs here. Virtualization Review blogger Elias Khnaser wrote about VVOLs when VMware previewed a version of the technology at VMworld 2012:

In very simple terms, today, we provision LUNs or exports/shares and then we use them to create datastores where we store VMs. You end up with hosts that have several LUNs or several exports/shares. While NFS does it a bit better, from a presentation perspective it is still not good enough.

With vVols, the storage array is presenting essentially a single LUN or export/share to the host and it allows the provisioning of virtual volumes to happen at the VM level. Compliment that with a good QoS engine and rules and you have a very elegant way of dealing with storage that is significantly simplified.

It's a simple explanation of what VVOLs were back then, and much of course has since changed. (VMware even previewed a version of VVOLs back at VMworld 2011.) We'll have more details in the coming weeks.

On a side note, VMware Global Partner Organization Senior Vice President Dave O'Callaghan blogs that AirWatch Entperise Mobility Management Platform is available via Subscription Cloud through VMware's partner programs worldwide. VMware acquired AirWatch in January.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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