Determining if an array supports automated unmap in vSphere 6.5

Many of you will be aware of the new core storage features that were introduced in vSphere 6.5. If not, you can learn about them in this recently published white paper. Without doubt, the feature that has created the most amount of interest is automated unmap (finally, I hear you say!). Now a few readers have asked about the following comment in the automated unmap section.

Automatic UNMAP is not supported on arrays with UNMAP granularity 
greater than 1MB. Auto UNMAP feature support is footnoted in the 
VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide (HCL).

So where do you find this info in the HCL? I’ll show you here.

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vSphere 6.5 Core Storage White Paper Now Available

core-storageI’m delighted to announce the availability of a new vSphere 6.5 core storage white paper. The paper covers new features such as VMFS-6 enhancements, policy driven Storage I/O Control, policy driven VM Encryption, NFS and iSCSI improvements and of course new limit increases in vSphere 6.5. There are too many VMware folks to thank for putting this paper together, but you’ll find them all listed in the acknowledgements section. I do want to mention one person however; a very special thanks to Cody Hosterman of Pure Storage who spent a lot of time testing many of these new features, and providing the relevant feedback that could be included in the paper. Thanks Cody.

You can download the paper from our storagehub site by clicking here.

What’s new in Virtual SAN 6.5

I know that there will be a lot of information coming your way from various sources on this exact topic. Obviously, I would urge you to check out the latest and greatest documentation from our technical marketing guys for deeper detail and “how-to” guides. However, I did want to provide a brief overview of what new VSAN features are available in vSphere 6.5. Note that we also refer to this version of VSAN as 6.5.

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What’s new in vSphere 6.5 Core Storage

Hello from VMworld EMEA in Barcelona. Well, we can finally talk about vSphere 6.5 today. In this post, I want to highlight a number of new and enhanced features that you will find in vSphere 6.5 related to core storage. I am not going to discuss Virtual SAN (VSAN), Virtual Volumes (VVols) or I/O Filter enhancements (VAIO) specifically in this post, although you will no doubt see some new features tie directly into the latter. Instead, I want to talk about those features that are specific to core storage.

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Heads Up! Misbehaving APD functionality in vSphere 6.0

megaphoneA very quick “public service announcement” post this morning folks, simply to bring your attention to a new knowledge base article that our support team have published. The issue relates to APD (All Paths Down) which is a condition that can occur when a storage device is removed from an ESXi host in an uncontrolled manner. The issue only affects ESXi 6.0. The bottom line is that even though the paths to the device recover and the device is online, the APD timeout continues to count down and expire, and as a result, the device is placed in APD timeout state. This obviously has an impact on virtual machines, workloads, etc, that are using this device.

Unfortunately there is no resolution at this time, but there are some workarounds detailed in the KB article. For those of you who dealt with APD events in earlier versions of vSphere, you’ll know the drill.

The KB article is 2126021. Note that this doesn’t affect all APD behaviors. Most APD events are handled just fine. However I’d urge you to take a quick read of the KB just to familiarize yourself with the behaviour and workarounds while we work on a permanent solution.

[Update: 10 Sep 2015] This issue is now fixed in ESXi 6.0U1. Details may be found in the ESXi 6.0U1 release notes.

vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 5: Virtual Volumes

VVolsI pushed this post out a bit as I know that there is a huge amount of information out there around virtual volumes already. This must be one of the most anticipated storage features of all time, with the vast majority of our partners ready to deliver VVol-Ready storage arrays once vSphere 6.0 becomes generally available. We’ve been talking about VVols for some time now. Actually, even I have been talking about it for some time – look at this tech preview that I did way back in 2012 – I mean, it even includes a video! Things have changed a bit since that tech preview was captured, so let’s see what Virtual Volumes 2015 has in store.

Much kudos to my good friend Paudie who did a lot of this research.

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A closer look at X-IO

xio2My first introduction to X-IO was via Stephen Foskett’s Tech Field Days. They piqued my interest and I added them to the list of storage vendors that I wanted to check out at VMworld 2014. I started to research these guys a little more, and learnt that they are closely related to Xiotech, a SAN company that I dealt with on occasion when I worked in technical support for VMware back in the day. It seems that Xiotech acquired Seagate’s spun-out Advanced Storage Group in 2007. The guys then began to work on a different product to the Xiotech team, namely the Intelligent Storage Element or ISE array. The Xiotech products were discontinued in 2012 (although the name continues to appear on the VMware SAN/Storage HCL), and the focus was placed on the ISE products. I was a bit confused when I saw that X-IO were not listed on the HCL directly, but after checking with Blair Parkhill, VP of Tech Marketing at X-IO, it seems that they still use their incorporated name, Xiotech.

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