Aug 4, 2014


Continuing from my last blog where I shared my views on the passing fad of stand alone storage solutions, like all-flash-arrays and file sync and share solutions that are not integrated with enterprise systems, I see tremendous adoption for new storage technologies like Virtual Volume (aka VVol). VVol, from VMware, which enables the integration of vendor specific, value add features, with vSphere management and services.


VVol is next in the series of innovation in storage technologies from VMware. VVOL promises to be the next big thing in the storage ecosystem due to its ability to immensely simplify storage management and drive up IT efficiency by leveraging the unique capabilities of different storage systems, whether they are block or file. VVOL provides VM-level granularity to IT administrators by providing an abstraction layer in the form of storage API between control plane and storage systems. It also provides increased scalability and unprecedented automation in policy-based storage management.

Using vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), Hitachi is creating providers for its storage and converged solutions products to present their unique capabilities to vCenter for consumption. VVOLs can also use these storage providers to set policies and push information down to the external storage to make the storage VM-aware and able to negotiate with individual VMs rather than the traditional way of dealing with a set of VMs in a LUN or file share.

VVOLs minimize the NAS-vs-SAN debate due to its VM-centric management. A protocol endpoint, or I/O demultiplexor device, communicates to the VVOLs (VMDKs) on behalf of the ESXi hypervisor as to whether the storage is a block LUN or a file share. When a VM does I/O, it is directed to the appropriate virtual volume by the protocol endpoint. Storage arrays can now create VMDKs the same regardless of front-end protocol, be it NFS, CIFS/SMB or FC/iSCSI. This eliminates the limitation in the number of LUNs in block devices and allows VMs to scale to a much larger number of virtual volumes. We expect that this will enable our HNAS to scale to several million virtual volumes with almost unlimited snapshots!

Not only could VVOL essentially replace VMFS as a unit, but also the concept of data stores in general. The key benefit for Hitachi customers is that VVOL enables per-VM data services, such as replication, snapshot, caching, etc., to leverage Hitachi storage features like thin provisioning and active/active devices that are made available through Hitachi’s VVOL provider. These services run more efficiently on the storage array due to the co-processing benefit of storage controllers.


HDS, with its industry-leading solutions, is poised to add value to customers’ data centers by integrating VVOL with our customer-proven storage solutions. This will allow HDS customers to exploit the inherent capabilities of our FC and NFS storage platforms and their associated services with the needs of VM to achieve greater levels of data center efficiency. HDS, with its full spectrum of VMware-optimized storage and converged infrastructure solutions, is at an advanced stage of integrating VVol support with our highly scalable storage devices with insightful management tools. HDS Storage Virtualization Operating System (SVOS) was developed with the pivotal ability to define quality of service (QoS) levels of application workloads; and SVOS and VVOL greatly complement each other to provide efficient, optimized and easy-to-manage storage solutions for virtual infrastructures.

Unified Compute Platform (UCP) solutions deliver a set of enterprise-class converged infrastructure solutions optimized for VMware environments.  It enables automation and policy-based management of the entire converged stack, including servers, storage and network switch.   UCP director’s deep integration with vCenter Server and vCOPS enables you to monitor, provision and protect virtual and physical resources from a single pane of glass.  And you can run all workloads, from mission critical to test and dev on a single UCP system. Future VVOL integration will also extend the converged automation offered by UCP to a granular LUN level.

HDS will provide VVol support on our industry leading storage solutions and accordingly, roadmap directions will be shared around the VMworld  timeframe. For a preview of our VVOL support see the recent interview of Fred Oh, Hitachi Data Systems, Senior Product Marketing Manager for File and Content in the Register.  Stay tuned for more on VVol and other exciting updates from HDS.

To keep abreast of our activities with products and solutions, please join our HDS Community where developers and senior product managers like Paul Morrissey share thoughts on topics like VVOL.