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vSphere 5 Top 10 Countdown: Profile-Driven Storage at #8

The vSphere 5 countdown continues and at number 8 is Profile-Drive Storage. It's a new feature of vSphere 5 that allows you to easily profile the capabilities of your datastore in order to deploy your VMs on the most appropriate storage.

Today, most virtualization administrators gather a lot of information about what the VM’s function will be and what kind of load it could potentially generate against the datastore. Is this a database server? Is this a Microsoft Exchange server? And so on. After that, we scramble to find the most appropriate datastore. We later also try and follow up to make sure that those virtual disks have not moved from this datastore.

Profile-Driven Storage aims to address this process by simplifying it and automating it to some extent. You can now profile your datastore by manually adding some kind of an identifier, like a “tag” which would tag a datastore as a RAID-10 or RAID-5 datastore or some other characteristic. Once you do that, you can link VMs to this profile, thereby ensuring that the VM linked always exists on the right type of datastore. You can also link the VM to the right datastore during provisioning as well.

VMware has also introduced a new set of APIs with vSphere 5, known as VASA or vSphere Storage APIs for Array Awareness, which expose the capabilities of the storage to vCenter. In other words, you can see what type of datastore this is, what RAID level, etc. These APIs make it easier to profile the different types of storage.

PDS significantly reduces a lot of the manual work that one had to go through when provisioning VMs by automating it and allowing you to adhere to different levels of SLAs depending on the application profile of the VM. Not only are you assigning the VM to the right storage, but you are also validating that the VM is where it is supposed to be.

Depending on the environment you are in and the level of process, SLs and automation you are required to have, the PDS feature may or may not be useful to you. In larger enterprises, I can see how it can be of significant help.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 07/26/2011 at 12:49 PM


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