XvMotion, Cross-vCenter vMotion, VVols, LVM active/active, LVM active/passive, SRM & Stretched Storage, VAIO Filters

Recently, with the announcement of the availability of VVols in vSphere.NEXT I was asked to give a deep dive presentation to a customer with a focus on what VVols meant for protection VM’s. While at EMC as a vSpecialist I lead a group focused on protecting VM’s so this is something I’ve been interested in for awhile. I’m a big fan of RecoverPoint and am excited about virtual RecoverPoint’s ability to offer continuous data protection for VSAN as I indicated here.   I’m also a huge fan of VPLEX and spent a lot of time during my days at EMC discussing what it could do. The more I dug into what VVols could do to help with various VM movement and data protection schemes the more I realized there was much to be excited about but also much need for clarification. So, after some research, phone calls, and email exchanges with people in the know I gathered the information and felt it would be good information to share.

What follows is kind of a “everything but the kitchen sink” post on various ways to move and protect VM’s. There were several pieces of the puzzle to put together so here are the past, present, and future options.

XvMotion (Enhanced vMotion) – vMotion without shared storage – Released in vSphere 5.1

In vSphere 5.1 VMware eliminated the shared storage requirement of vMotion.

  • vMotion – vMotion can be used to non-disruptively move a VM from one host to another host provided both hosts have access to the same shared storage (i.e. A datastore backed by a LUN or volume on a storage array or shared storage device). Prior to vSphere 5.1 this was the only option to non-disruptively move a VM between hosts.
  • Storage vMotion – this allows VM vmdk’s to be non-disruptively moved from one datastore to another datastore provided the host has access to both.
  • XvMotion – As of vSphere 5.1. XvMotion allows a VM on one host, regardless of the storage it is using, to be non-disruptively moved to another host, regardless of the storage it is using. Shared storage is no longer a requirement. The data is moved through the vMotion network. This was a major step towards VM mobility freedom, especially when you think of moving workloads in and out of the cloud.
  • For more information see: Requirements and Limitations for vMotion Without Shared Storage

Cross-vCenter vMotion – Announced at VMworld 2014, available in vSphere.NEXT (future release)

This new feature was announced during the VMworld 2014 US – General Session – Tuesday.

Continue reading “XvMotion, Cross-vCenter vMotion, VVols, LVM active/active, LVM active/passive, SRM & Stretched Storage, VAIO Filters”

Quick discussion on VVols

One of the big topics at VMworld 2014 was VVols.  VMware announced it will be part of the next release of vSphere and almost every storage vendor on the planet is excited about the benefits that VVols bring.  I was working the VVol booth at VMworld and had the pleasure of being interviewed by VMworld TV to discuss the comparison between VSAN and VVols.  This was fun but unscripted and off the cuff so here it is:

VMworld TV Interview: Peter Keilty of VMware Discussed Virtual Volumes

What I’m trying to say is:

  • VSAN is the first supported storage solution takes advantage of VVols.
  • VVols, in vSphere.NEXT, will work in conjunction with VASA to allow all block and file based storage arrays to fully realize the benefits of Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM).
  • Each storage vendor can write a VASA/VVol provider that registers with vCenter to integrate with the vSphere API’s and promote their storage capabilities to vCenter. I expect just about every storage array vendor to do this.  I have seen VVol demonstrations by EMC, NetApp, Dell, HP, and IBM.
  • VVols eliminates the requirements of creating LUNs or Volumes on the arrays, instead, arrays present a pool or multiple pools of capacity in the form of storage containers that the hosts in the cluster see as datastores
  • Through SPBM, administrators can create different service levels in the form of policy that can be satisfied by the underlying storage provider container.
  • When VM’s get provisioned, they get assigned to a policy, and their objects (namespace, swap, vmdk’s, snap/clones) get placed as native objects into the container in the form of VVols.
  • You can even assign objects from the same VM to different policy to give them different service levels, all potentially satisfied by the same storage provider or perhaps different provider containers.  In other words, a vmdk for an OS image might want dedupe enabled but a vmdk for a database might not want dedupe but might want cache acceleration.  Different policy can be set and each object can be assigned to the policy that will deliver the desired service level.  The objects could be placed into the same storage array pool but taking advantage of different storage array features.  And these can be changed on the fly as needed.

Like all the storage vendors out there, I’m very excited about the benefits of VVols.  For a full description and deep dive check out this awesome VMworld session by Rawlinson Rivera (http://www.punchingclouds.com/) and Suzy Visvanathan:

Virtual Volumes Technical Deep Dive

VSAN Sessions at VMworld 2014

I’m really looking forward to attending VMworld 2014 in a few weeks.  Its a great time to catch up with friends and meet new ones.  For me the week kicks off on Thursday at the VMware SE Tech Summit.  Then vOdgeball on Sunday afternoon with a team of former EMC vSpecialists.  This is a great event to help out a great cause, the Wounded Warrior Project.  We’ll also be honoring our two vSpecialist friends, Jim Ruddy and Stephen Hunt, that were recently involved in a tragic accident.  Then the main event starts Sunday night.  It should be fun and exhausting.

Virtual SAN (VSAN) is sure to be one of the highlights of the show.

Continue reading “VSAN Sessions at VMworld 2014”

Virtual SAN Disaster Recovery – vSphere Replication (available now) or Virtual RecoverPoint (coming soon), choose your protection!

I’m often asked how to protect Virtual SAN (VSAN). Its simple, any product focused on protecting a virtual machine (VM) will work for protecting VM’s sitting on a VSAN enabled vSphere cluster. VMware offers VDP/VDPA for backup & recovery and there are many other VMware partners with backup & recovery solutions focused on protecting VM’s. Backup & Recovery is a great way to protect data but some customers like the benefit of more granular recovery points that comes from data replication either locally or to a disaster recovery site.

To protect VSAN data in a primary site to a remote disaster recovery site VMware offers vSphere Replication (VR) to replicate the VM data sitting on a VSAN Datastore over the DR site. Of course Site Recovery Manager (SRM) is supported to automate failover, failback and testing. The VR/SRM combined solution can also be used for planned data center migrations. Here are a few great write-ups on the topics:

VMware Virtual SAN Interoperability: vSphere Replication and vCenter Site Recovery Manager

Virtual SAN Interoperability – Planned migration with vSphere Replication and SRM

VSAN and vSphere Replication Interop

One of the main benefits of VR is that it will work to replicate VM data on any storage to another site with hosts connected to any other storage. So, VSAN can be the source, the target, or both.



vSphere Replication can be set to asynchronously replicate every day, hour, or up to every 15 minutes. Thus providing a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of up to 15 minutes. For many customers, this is “good enough”. For some customer workloads, asynchronous replication is not “good enough”. They need synchronous replication protection and there are several solutions in the market. One that I’ve been a big fan of for a long time is EMC’s RecoverPoint which has a great reputation for protecting enterprise mission critical data and applications.  Essentially it splits every write transaction, journals it, and synchronously makes a copy of it either locally or to a remote DR site without impacting application performance. Of course there are more details but this is essentially what it does which results in being able to recover back to any point in time. Often it’s labeled as “Tivo or DVR for the data center”. One other benefit of RecoverPoint is it can replicate data from any storage to any storage, as long as there is a splitter for the storage. EMC VNX and VMAX storage arrays have splitters built in.

The big news that just came out last week that peeked my interest is that EMC is now offering a Beta of a completely software based RecoverPoint solution that embeds the splitter into vSphere. This brings the RecoverPoint benefits to any VMware customer running VM’s on any storage: block, file, or of course even VSAN. The EMC initiative is call Project Mercury and for more information check out:

Summer Gift Part 1 – Project Mercury Beta Open!

I’m excited that VSAN customers will have a choice for data protection, asynchronously with 15 minute RPO using vSphere Replication or continuous, synchronous, and asynchronous with EMC’s Virtual RecoverPoint.

EMC & VMware SE Interlock & EMC World 2014 Hands On Lab for VSAN

Over the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to the various EMC SE teams in the North East and Mid-Atlantic regions.  Since VSAN is now GA, its important to understand where VSAN fits in the market compared to EMC solutions.  I should point out that I’d be happy to have the same conversation with other storage vendors.  That’s the beauty of the “Federation” between EMC II, Pivotal, VMware, and RSA.  Each individual company is free to work with the competitors of the other members of the federation. But, they also want to make sure they work with each other as closely as anyone.  Kind of like when VMware opened up the API’s to vSphere and EMC made sure they were the most integrated with them… so EMC is now making sure their SE’s are the most up to date on VMware’s latest storage offerings.  VSAN is a great solution, I’m am swamped with customer requests to hear more about it, but it is not necessarily going to replace all storage solutions in a data center for all workloads.  Customers are identifying use cases that fit best for them where VSAN offeres better cost/performance/operational benefits.  The VSAN message has been well received by the EMC teams and I look forward to working closely together.

On that note, I’m attending EMC World 2014 this week.  The VMware VSAN team is setting up a Hands On Lab where you can get your hands on the technology.  Chuck Hollis has the details here:


I wanted to make sure you know where to go so here’s the map to the location.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 9.22.41 PM

Also, here’s a link to the Chromebooks that we’ll be using and then giving away at Wednesday night.


Looking forward to seeing you all there.

2 Great Bootcamps coming up at VMware Partner Exchange – PEX 2014

SDDC3522-BC – Software-Defined Storage Technical Boot Camp

This session will be all day on Saturday 2/8/2014 starting at 8:30AM.  I will be presenting the SDDC and VSAN overview as well as the vSphere Flash Read Cache Technical Presentation.  The technical deep dive on VSAN will be presented by Wade Holmes and a few other guest speakers.  Wade has authored a couple of the Hardware Configuration guidance blogs on SSD and IO Controllers and has been feverishly testing VSAN in all sorts of configurations in preparation for product launch.  I’m excited about the technical depth that Wade will go into and know our partners will get a ton of good information out of this session.  In addition, one of our engineers, Joe Cook, has been working with a bunch of customers to implement VSAN.  He will share the processes he’s been using for Proof of Concepts as well as present how to monitor and troubleshoot VSAN.  As a bonus, he’ll share a new tool that we’ve developed to help our partners analyze customer environments in preparation for VSAN and other VMware technologies. 

3579-SPO – EMC’s Game Changing Solution Roadmaps, Resources & Partner Programs

This session will be all day Monday 2/10/2014 starting at 8:30AM.  Prior to my current position as a Software Defined Storage SE for VMware I was an EMC vSpecialist for almost 4 years.  So this session is near and dear to my heart.  I just sat through the EMC Elect PEX planning concall and saw the full agenda for this one.  Lots of great presenter’s including of course Chad Sakic, Jason Nash, Aaron Chaisson, Rob Peglar, Brian Whitman, and others.  Chad will kick things off but you’ll need to download the NDA form from the PEX schedule builder and bring the signed copy in order to get into the session.

Continue reading “2 Great Bootcamps coming up at VMware Partner Exchange – PEX 2014”

EMC Elect 2014! Who Me? Thanks!


I’m proud to say that I’ve been selected as one of 80 people in the community as an EMC Elect 2014 member. I’m humbled and honored to be included in this group. What is EMC Elect, well, “EMC Elect is a community-driven recognition and thank you for individual’s engagement with EMC as a brand over the last calendar year.” For more info check out Welcoming the EMC Elect of 2014.  I was fortunate in 2013 to speak publically at numerous EMC, VMware, and partner events. In addition, I’ve got this blog and the EMC Community Network where I post answers to questions people have asked me or provide information I think people would like to know. And finally, I tweet every once in awhile. I can’t say I’m anywhere near as active as the majority of the people on this list. But every little bit counts even if helps just a few. Anyone can do it.

In Feb 2010 I was asked by a good friend to join EMC’s new vSpecialist team. Go Team 1! I can’t say I knew exactly what I was getting myself into at the time but it sounded exciting. And it was. I wasn’t an EMC fan at the time but it turned out to be the best job ever and best group of people I had ever had the opportunity to work with, hands down, from my peers all the way up to the top. I’m now at VMware in their Software Defined Storage division and it feels a lot like 2010 again. EMC & VMware are two great companies, I’m lucky in my career to be part of this community, and I will continue to contribute what I can. Congrats to my fellow EMC Elect of 2014 – Official List members and thank you!