The storage space has been a very exciting space over recent years. There have been so many new start-ups and new innovations, that it becomes difficult to keep track sometimes. More recently, there has been a lot of news around mergers, acquisitions and IPOs in the storage industry. It got me thinking about a lot of the changes we have seen over the past 3-4 years in the storage market. Just for my own interest, I went back over many of my blogs, and the various conversations I had with people at various VMworld events and VMUG meetings, and tried to see where a lot of these companies/products are now, and what they are currently doing. Now, I am not going to mention every single vendor here. I’m simply trying to highlight the ones that were acquired or merged or indeed IPO’ed (and in some cases are no longer with us) during this period.
There is a new snapshot format introduced in VSAN 6.0 called vsanSparse. These replace the traditional vmfsSparse format (redo logs). The vmfsSparse format was used when snapshots of VMs were taken in VSAN 5.5, and are also the format used when a snapshot is taken of a VM residing on traditional VMFS and NFS. The older vmfsSparse format left a lot to be desired when it came to performance and scalability. This KB article from our support team, indicating that no snapshot should be used for more than 72 hours, and snapshot chains should contain no more than 2-3 snapshots, speaks for itself.
This new vsanSparse snapshot format leverages features of the new (v2) on-disk format in VSAN 6.0, VirstoFS. VirstoFS is the first implementation of technology that was acquired when VMware bought a company called Virsto a number of years ago. You can get an overview of this company from this blog post I did prior to the acquisition.
I was heavily involved in the documentation effort for VSAN 6.0, but I know that not everyone likes to RTFM, so to speak. What I thought I would do in this post is give an overview of the upgrade process, and highlight some considerations. But I really would urge you to read through the VSAN 6.0 Administrators Guide, and perhaps the VSAN Troubleshooting Reference Manual, especially the sections dealing with upgrades, if you do plan to upgrade from VSAN 5.5 to 6.0. There is a lot of useful information there.
There are four steps to the upgrade process:
- Upgrading vCenter Server to 6.0
- Upgrading the ESXi hosts to 6.0
- Upgrading the on-disk filesystem format from v1 to v2 (VMFS-L to VirstoFS)
- Upgrading the components to v2
Items 1 & 2 are outside the scope of this post. Refer to the generic vSphere 6 documentation on how to do those. Items 3 & 4 are done via a new RVC command that we will discuss in more detail here.
I’d met Virsto Software at previous VMworld conferences, but never had a chance to have a meaningful discussion regarding their products and solutions. On a recent trip to the US, I had the pleasure of meeting with Eric Burgener at the Virsto offices in Sunnyvale. He kindly took the time to give me an overview of their Virsto for vSphere 1.5 product.