The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware

'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs

Mega-roundup A storage array access revolution is coming, says VMware as it releases its VVOL Virtual Volumes. These allow storage arrays to do a virtualised server's bidding and have storage pools and operations carried out in VMware virtual machine-centric ways.

VMware has announced its beta programme for a forthcoming release of VMware which includes VVOLs.

How are storage suppliers progressing with their VVOL support? This is a selection of what some suppliers are doing; there are too many to fit in one story and we'll add a second tranche later.

Atlantis Software

Atlantis Software has a strong VVOL support and benefits proposition. Founder and CTO Chetan Venkatesh said: “Atlantis will be demonstrating VVOL capability on Atlantis USX at VMworld 2014. Atlantis has a very disruptive value proposition for VVOL technology and believe we are the secret weapon that allows VMware to completely virtualise storage and commoditise SAN/NAS (even more than VSAN does) by allowing all storage (past, present and future) to instantly become VVOL compliant with Atlantis USX.”

“This would allow any VMware customer to manage their SAN/NAS, irrespective of manufacturer, through VVOL without needing to update/upgrade/refresh their SAN/NAS hardware. Atlantis USX brings VVOL support to 300 billion dollars of deployed storage infrastructure in production today. Every SAN/NAS model in the market automatically becomes VVOL capable with Atlantis USX,” continued Venkatesh. So how does this work?

Venkatesh again: “Atlantis USX 2.0 (GA in Aug 2014) will provide VVOL storage policy based management. USX can virtualise and pool all forms of storage - SAN/NAS or DAS and even cloud (use Amazon S3 bucket storage as near line block storage). This pool of storage can be managed completely as VVOL objects - a VMware administrator can set policy at the container or per-VM level of what specific storage capabilities they want enabled.”

“The capabilities are enabled via Atlantis USX data services. These are capabilities like - deduplication, compression, encryption, snapshot, clone, replication, long distance mirroring, n-way replication, backup and DR. The underlying storage does not need to support either VVOL or the capability - Atlantis USX provides the VVOL abstraction as well as the data services to the hypervisor and makes whatever storage is plugged into USX VVOL compliant.” “VVOL will be available as a technology preview and be GA in the same time frame as vSphere 6.”


DataCore CEO George Teixeira said: "We are on the VVOL bandwagon.[It] breaks old VMDK and LUN mapping limits and makes it easier to add DataCore value in VMware world."


The storage kingpin says its VMAX, VNX, ScaleIO and XtremIO arrays will probably have VVOL support in the second quarter of 2015. ViPR, the multi-protocol and heterogeneous software storage resource management product, will support VVOLs as well.


HDS spokesperson Fred Oh said: “In general, we view the VVOL (aka vVol) architecture as something that will positively benefit vSphere administrators by abstracting even more storage specifics - especially at the protocol level. From Hitachi’s perspective, virtualisation at both the server and storage levels is a good thing, and in line with our unified storage and converged computing strategies.”

Oh added: “We expect policy-based storage provisioning, capacity efficient per-VM level snapshotting/cloning, and management integration value-additions implemented by HDS will make our storage solutions more compelling. Ultimately, VVOL is just another evolutionary step in abstraction to provide ease-of-use and empowerment to virtualisation admins.”

So we asked him a few questions.

The Register: Which HDS storage systems will support VVOLs?

Fred Oh: We are developing support and targeting certification of VVOL over NFS with the Hitachi NAS Platform (HNAS) 4000 series. Our Hitachi VSP G1000 will also support VVOLs over Fibre Channel. We also have future storage controllers in the works that will support VVOL when released. The Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) will leverage these developments and demonstrate tighter integration with our compute blades running vSphere.

The Register: Is there a sharable time table for this?

Fred Oh: VVol support with NFS (HNAS 4000) is targeted to be GA/certified at Day 0 of vSphere 2015 release (CQ1-2015). VVol support with FC (VSP G1000) is targeted to be GA/certified by CQ2-2015

The Register: Will it involve a storage array software update?

Fred Oh: For existing platforms, yes, there will be firmware upgrades required for this. With enterprise storage, firmware upgrades are non-disruptive and do not require downtime of our systems.

The Register: Will it involve a storage array controller hardware update?

Fred Oh: No. It will support exiting Hitachi Unified Storage with HNAS 4000 series controllers and VSP G1000 systems

The Register: How will it impact virtualised server to storage array interaction?

Fred Oh: The HDS implementation of Unified VASA providers for VVol provides the foundation for richer more granular VVol-VMDK level data services. It provides a richer interaction so that VMs receive the storage and offload services they need while efficiently allocating those services to just the VMs that need it. It will allow HDS customer’s to exploit inherent capabilities of our FC and NFS storage platform and their associated services seamlessly; and match the needs of VM to appropriate storage services at greater levels of data centre efficiency.

For example, it will allow tasks like deploying VMs and VM snapshot management to be offloaded to the storage controller for greater operational efficiency - such as 100 Million VM snapshot support with NFS platform, or the ability to allow individual VM and associated VVols to be placed into a global active device (distributed topology) configuration for highest availability.


Hewlett-Packard is an enthusiastic VVOL effort participant. It engaged from day 1 in the VVOL beta testing programme with the 3PAR StoreServe array.

Blogging, tweeting and mailing spokesperson Calvin Zito said, via various media: "We will support VVOLs on day 1. We've been working with VMware from the ground floor on this one. ... I have a demo I did too (video on YouTube.) It has more views than [EMC's] Chad [Sakac]'s demo. LOL!"


Click to jump to the vid. It's blurry, by the way, because it's a fast video captured with a slow screen grabber

This video was put up on YouTube in October 2012; that's early.

PS: We understand IBM ran a flawless VVOL support demonstration with its XIV array at VMworld 2013.

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • VMware customers have watched Broadcom's acquisitions and don't like what they see
    It's not hard to find unpleasant precedents for what might happen to Virtzilla

    VMware customers have seen companies acquired by Broadcom Software emerge with lower profiles, slower innovation, and higher prices - a combination that makes them nervous about the virtualization giant’s future.

    The Register offers that assessment after spending the day at a VMware user group conference in Melbourne, Australia, where we interviewed over a dozen VMware customers to ascertain their reaction to Broadcom’s surprise acquisition of the virtualisation giant. The customers all requested that The Register not use their names, or those of their employers, as none were authorized to speak to the media.

    One of those customers was a sysadmin at a sporting organisation that has decided to drop Symantec products because product evolution has slowed under Broadcom’s ownership. The sysadmin has also heard, from multiple sources including Broadcom partners, that the company uses price hikes to discourage customers it does not want.

    Continue reading
  • Confirmed: Broadcom, VMware agree to $61b merger
    Unless anyone out there can make a better offer. Oh, Elon?

    Broadcom has confirmed it intends to acquire VMware in a deal that looks set to be worth $61 billion, if it goes ahead: the agreement provides for a “go-shop” provision under which the virtualization giant may solicit alternative offers.

    Rumors of the proposed merger emerged earlier this week, amid much speculation, but neither of the companies was prepared to comment on the deal before today, when it was disclosed that the boards of directors of both organizations have unanimously approved the agreement.

    Michael Dell and Silver Lake investors, which own just over half of the outstanding shares in VMware between both, have apparently signed support agreements to vote in favor of the transaction, so long as the VMware board continues to recommend the proposed transaction with chip designer Broadcom.

    Continue reading
  • Broadcom to 'focus on rapid transition to subscriptions' for VMware
    Offers comforting vision for core customers, products, channel – though warns efficiencies are coming

    Broadcom has signaled its $61 billion acquisition of VMware will involve a “rapid transition from perpetual licenses to subscriptions.”

    That's according to Tom Krause, president of the Broadcom Software Group, on Thursday's Broadcom earnings call. He was asked how the semiconductor giant plans to deliver on its guidance that VMware will add approximately $8.5 billion of pro forma EBITDA to Broadcom within three years of the deal closing – significant growth given VMware currently produces about $4.7 billion. And subscriptions was the answer.

    Krause also repeatedly said Broadcom intends to invest in VMware’s key product portfolio and is pleased to be acquiring a sales organization and channel relationships that give it reach Broadcom does not currently enjoy.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022