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The Next Storage Argument: VMFS vs CSV

There is an interesting discussion developing in the blogosphere regarding storage technologies for virtual environments. I've mentioned VMware employee Eric Gray's personal blog VCritical as a good virtualization resource. Somewhat harsh, but Eric has been known to counter with the rare VCompliment from time to time. One of Eric's recent posts, "Hands off that CSV!," is about some of the intricacies of working with the Hyper-V R2 solution to shared storage.

I have long thought that vStorage VMFS is the most underrated technology VMware has ever produced. The post by Eric Gray goes at the Microsoft solution, Clustered Shared Volumes (CSV), which is a customized implementation of the Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS). MSCS is a veteran in the IT landscape, and is good at what it does. CSV simply shares the .VHD files as clustered resources across multiple systems, rather than the entire disk.

Eric's critiques of the CSV implementation on Hyper-V are centered on its changes to accessing the newly created volume. This includes direct access through familiar interfaces such as Windows backup or otherwise accessing the CSV data. I won't hide that I am probably the biggest fan of VMFS. So do I have to really pick a side?

I'll just leave you with this: VMFS is a highly-engineered storage system built for the purpose of providing a clustered file system for virtual machines for enterprise-class installations, and is available with small installations as well with ESXi free. MSCS introduces CSV into existing functionality to provide what Microsoft touts as an equivalent offering.

Have a thought? Drop a note below or e-mail me.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 09/22/2009 at 12:47 PM


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