A closer look at Portworx

Last month I had the opportunity to attend DockerCon17. One of the break-out sessions that I attended was from a company called Portworx. Portworx provide a solution for stateful docker container storage, which is what caught my interest. There are lots of companies who have already created docker volume plugins for their existing storage solutions, including VMware. However Portworx seem to be approaching this a bit differently, and are providing a layer of abstraction from the underlying host storage. So you might be using cloud (e.g. EBS from AWS), or SAN or NAS or indeed you might only have local…

VSAN 6.2 Part 4 – IOPS limit for object

VSAN 6.2 has a new quality of service mechanism which we are referring to as “IOPS limit for object”. Through a policy setting, a customer can set an IOPS limit on a per object basis (typically VMDK) which will guarantee that the object will not be able to exceed this amount of IOPS. This is very useful if you have a virtual machine that might be consuming more than its fair share of resources. This policy setting will ensure that there are “guard rails” placed on this virtual machine so it doesn’t impact other VMs, or impact the overall performance…

I/O Scheduler Queues Improvement for Virtual Machines

This is a new feature in vSphere 6.0 that I only recently became aware of. Prior to vSphere 6.0, all the I/Os from a given virtual machine to a particular device would share a single I/O queue. This would result in all the I/Os from the VM (boot VMDK, data VMDK, snapshot delta) queued into a single per-VM, per-device queue. This caused I/Os from different VMDKs interfere with each other and could actually hurt fairness. For example, if a VMDK was used by a database, and this database issued a lot of I/O, this could compete with I/Os from the…

VSAN 6.1 New Feature – Handling of Problematic Disks

The more observant of you may have observed the following entry in the VSAN 6.1 Release Notes: Virtual SAN monitors solid state drive and magnetic disk drive health and proactively isolates unhealthy devices by unmounting them. It detects gradual failure of a Virtual SAN disk and isolates the device before congestion builds up within the affected host and the entire Virtual SAN cluster. An alarm is generated from each host whenever an unhealthy device is detected and an event is generated if an unhealthy device is automatically unmounted. The purpose of this post is to provide you with a little…

The value of Virtual Volumes (VVols)

Regular readers will know that I normally blog about the technical aspects of storage, as opposed to doing opinion pieces. However there have been a number of articles published recently questioning the value of VMware’s Virtual Volumes, commonly referred to as VVols. In general, the pieces I have read ask whether or not VVols (or to be more accurate, per-VM granularity feature of VVols) adds value when NFS is already doing per-VM granularity in the form of files. The point that was missed in these pieces is that VVols is so much more than per-VM granularity. I’ve just come back…

Virtual Volumes – A closer look at Storage Containers

There are a couple of key concepts to understanding Virtual Volumes (or VVols for short). VVols is one of the key new storage features in vSphere 6.0. You can get an overview of VVols from this post. The first key concept is VASA – vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness. I wrote about the initial release of VASA way back in the vSphere 5.0 launch. VASA has changed significantly to support VVols, with the introduction of version 2.0 in vSphere 6.0, but that is a topic for another day. Another key feature is the concept of a Protocol Endpoint, a logical I/O…

A closer look at Kaminario

As many of you are aware, I was at VMworld in San Francisco last week. I wrote a number of articles about some VMware storage announcements, such as EVO:RAIL, VAIO and VVols. However there were, as usual, quite a number of storage vendors at this years conference. One of the vendors that I really want to learn more about was Kaminario, an all flash array vendor that I’d heard a lot of things about. I had the pleasure of spending some time at the Kaminario booth with Shai Maskit who is a senior Product Manager with Kaminario. I posed my…