VMworld 2021 – My Top 10 Picks around Storage

Following on from last week’s post, VMworld 2021 – My Top 10 Picks around Kubernetes, I decided to do another post on my other favorite topic – storage. As per other years, storage continues to evolve, both for traditional workloads and new modern application/container workloads. And as you might expect, there are lots of good sessions at this years VMworld 2021 event that highlights these new and upcoming storage innovations. Without further ado, here are my top 10 storage picks:

Storage Vision and Strategy

There are two storage sessions related to storage vision and strategy that I picked out. The first, VMware’s vision for Storage and Data in a Multi-Cloud World [MCL2505], talks about the role that a full stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) can play in a multi-cloud strategy, whether deployed at the edge, on-premises in the datacenter or in the public cloud. Join Vijay Ramachandran (VP, PM) and Marc Fleischmann (CTO) for this session, and you will hear about why certain industry leaders decided on vSAN and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF).

The second session I chose around vision and strategy is Why hitting refresh with HCI should be your modernization strategy [MCL2508]. In this session, John Gilmartin (SVP & GM) will tell us all about the continued enhancements being made to VMware Storage and Availability solutions. This will be a great session to learn about the vision for the next generation of vSAN, vVols (virtual volumes) and VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery.


There are a number of vSAN sessions once again this year. These are my picks. The first is the vSAN Technical Deep Dive [MCL1654]. In this session we will hear from Product Managers Biswa and Junchi about some of the new innovations in vSAN, such as HCI Mesh, vSAN File Services, VMware vSphere Lifecycle Manager, and features such as compression-only. We will also learn how vSAN is leveraging new advances in hardware. A great session for existing and potentially new vSAN customers.

Another great session is sure to be Disaagregated Storage and Compute with HCI Mesh [MCL1683]. Virtually Speaking podcast hosts Pete and John will talk us through the various use cases for HCI Mesh. This is sure to be entertaining.

I’ll take this opportunity to sheepishly mention my session with Duncan. The session is entitled VMware vSAN –  Dynamic Volumes for Traditional and Modern applications [MCL1084], and whilst I’ll be focusing on the Kubernetes side of things, Duncan will telling you about many of the new features of vSAN. If you need a storage platform for both traditional, VM based applications, as well as Kubernetes and container based apps, this should be of interest to you.

Lastly, want to get some vSAN hands on? Then check out the What’s new in vSAN – Getting Started [GWS-HOL-2208-71-GWS] Hand-On Lab. Seems there are a bunch of cool features to try out such as HCI Mesh and Stretch Cluster architecture.

Core Storage

There are many storage types available to vSphere customers. Datastores such as VMFS, NFS and vVols are available, and continue to be enhanced. Protocols such as NFS, iSCSI and Fiber Channel have also been supported for the longest time. Now we are starting to see interest in NVMe as well. Join Cody Hostermann (Pure Storage) and Jason Massae from the VMware Tech Marketing team in their session Core Storage Best Practices Deep Dive [MCL2071] to learn all about the latest enhancements to core storage in vSphere 7. I have this one already bookmarked.

Disaster Recovery (DR)

Let’s start with what look like a very interesting session; Architecting VMware DR Solutions to Meet Your Recovery Goals [MCL2232]. Join Cato and Michael from the Technical Marketing team who will discuss various products and services such as VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, VMware Site Recovery, and Site Recovery Manager. So whether you are interested in an on-premises DR solution, or a DRaaS solution, be sure to check this session out.

There is also an interesting hands-on lab around DR from Benjy and Monica. VMware Site Recovery Manager – Data Center Migration and DR [GWS-HOL-2205-01-SDC] looks like it has a lot of good content, including integration points with VMware vRealize Operations Manager, vRealize Orchestrator, and vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVol).

Big Data

My final recommendation comes from our internal VMware analytics team, who built a centralized big data system. Their session Build a Self-Service Big Data Analytics Platform on VMware [VI1821] covers the journey from an initial hyperscaler service to running everything on a VMware private cloud. In this session, Rumen, Dragomir and Stefan will share their learning, their perspective on data platforms, what they built, and why they chose to build it this way. This is bound to be of interest to anyone thinking of building their own on-premises big data system.

And that concludes my top ten storage picks for VMworld 2021.