VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) basically is about making storage VMware-centric – the notion of making virtual machine disk (VMDK) becoming a first class citizen in the storage world. The focus around LUN-centricity takes a back seat to the focus on VMDK allowing you to snapshot, clone and replicate on a VM basis. There is a really nice write-up describing VVols by Cormac Hogan which nicely describes why virtual volumes is a nice shift in storage virtualization thinking. The video will help those new to VVols understand them.
One wonderful aspect about this is that it allows quality-of-service on a per VM-basis. This ability in effect gives us a true software-defined storage framework. Imagine buying an array that costs upwards of $400k that can serve up 2 million IOPS and yet be unable to manage those IOPS effectively with the VMs. Management of the 2 million IOPS happens randomly and without definition. That is what some vendors want you to do. Those vendors hope you don’t notice the value of the quality-of-service aspect. These vendors , for the most part, are being left behind by software-defined features that they are incapable of addressing. I think this will show up dramatically in next Gartner report where a sea change is happening and it is likely that a big change will occur. It should be mentioned that some of these vendors don’t even have in-line de-dup and non-disruptive upgrades at this late date. Ignore them. Their are vendors, even startups, that have these technologies. For example, TinTri, a very new company, has in-line data reduction features and are working on a host of VMware features – some around VVols. Getting back to the QoS and VVols – there are some flash vendors that support quality-of-service and allow you to on a per-VM basis manage your (flash) storage performance and guarantee quality of service. One company is SolidFire. Remember – it is no longer simply about storage capacity when you get to the cloud – it is also guaranteeing storage performance about limiting storage performance.
Other vendors like EMC and Tintri are working on some of these aspects – you can see in the demo what EMC is working on delivering :