Valovic on Virtualization

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How VMware Is Tackling the Storage Challenge

I’m still sifting through all of the announcements from VMworld, like a medieval scholar poring over manuscripts back in the day (less dust though…not good for the laptop). And, of course, I keep coming back to the complexities of VDC-OS. If you have a mind given to the nuances of complexity (and my wife assures me, for better or worse, that this is indeed the case) then there’s plenty there to keep you occupied. Like vStorage, for example.

One of the things that virtualization is intended to address in the larger scheme of things is the relative intractability of hardware as opposed to the malleability and flexibility that software approaches make possible. One of the areas where this comes into sharp contrast is making server, storage, and network resources act in concert -- the primary focus of the VDC-OS infoganza at VMworld. While virtualization is largely software-driven, storage and network resources tend to be more hardware-centric. It’s significant for example that Cisco’s Nexus 1000V was described by the company – widely known as a “box builder” – as its first software switch.

As for storage, the issues here have similarities to the network challenge. As one vendor recently pointed out, storage is a world of LUNs and disk arrays whereas virtualization is a world of .VMDK files. VMware’s vStorage initiative will involve exposing VMware APIs to storage management systems to give them visibility into operational changes in the virtualization environment. The company will make these available to all of their current storage partners and says the APIs will enable “array-based capabilities, such as snapshots, provisioning, replication and restore, directly with individual virtual machines.” Thin provisioning is also an important aspect of this new direction, a capability that keeps VMs from taking up more storage capacity than they actually need by preventing over-allocation.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 10/08/2008 at 12:49 PM


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