Our customer-driven journey to a VM-aware data center

As I am about to drive away to my new home across the country, I can’t help to think of all the milestones that led me to my current destination.  Technology, like life, is in an ongoing journey where a series of developments will lead you to new destination over time. At Dell Storage, it is our customers and our key industry partners that remain our compass as we consider new technologies and how we can ultimately transform the lives of our customers and their businesses. Our long-term relationship with VMware and our mutual customers have led us today to develop support for Virtual Volumes (VVols) with Dell Storage PS Series at the upcoming VVols launch and SC Series to follow. VVols will allow us to provide you with VM-aware storage, thus enabling management and data services to more granularly monitor and protect data in your virtualized environments. 

But before we go into the highlights of “VVols goodness,” let’s talk about some recent stops on our journey that leads us to a truly VM-aware storage solution.  Recently, Dell Storage PS and SC Series launched support for the VMware vCenter Operations Manager, which provides VMware users with comprehensive insights about the performance, capacity and health of their virtualized IT infrastructure. It also enables administrators like you to perform long-term data-driven capacity planning and efficient root-cause analysis of problems on your physical and virtual storage resources, all from within the confines of VMware’s virtual environment.

While vCenter Operations Manager support is an incredible benefit to Dell Storage customers, we need to travel back a few stops in our journey with Dell’s support for VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Array Integration (VAAI) with the PS and SC Series. The VAAI primitives enabled the ESXi host to leverage the intelligent Dell Storage arrays by offloading storage operations that resulted in high performance and space-efficient operations—such as virtual machine cloning. For your unified storage environments, Dell FluidFS NAS solutions will support VAAI and UNMAP early next year to help speed up VMware I/O operations in Dell’s file storage solutions.  Stemming from the VAAI improvements, VVols offers a new, more efficient way to manage virtual machines, one in which the individual virtual machine and its disks, rather than an entire datastore, become a unit of storage management.

Amidst my own relocation, I wish my household in Chicago could be integrated piece-by-piece with my new Maryland home. Although full and automated integration is impossible for me right now, it will soon be a wonderful reality for Dell Storage customers on their virtualization journey with VMware.  Virtual volumes encapsulate virtual disks and other virtual machine files, and natively stores the files on the storage system. When available, VVols will transform Dell Storage from a LUN-centric to a truly VM-centric storage solution, by providing data services and data placement at the VMDK-level. Coupled with Dell Storage features like dynamic page balancing allows for a highly optimized cost/performance/capacity ratio, making operations like single VM snapshot-restores close to instantaneous. We are working with our beta customers to scout out all the possible routes and details, paving the road for your successful adoption of VVols .

Additionally, both the Dell Storage PS and SC Series are designed to help you easily support virtual desktop and server environments with best practices VDI architecture guides that can help you map your way to deliver fast response times to your internal and external customers—even in the middle of a boot storm. Through our recent activities with key Software Defined Storage (SDS) partners, we can begin to deliver virtualization solutions to your datacenter in a whole new exciting way. 

It is the people we meet and the things we do that makes journeys more interesting, so we encourage fellow VMworld attendees to visit with us in our HOL lab  (SPL-PRT-1467)to see VVols and Dell Storage in action and meet our longtime VMware SMEs, David Glynn (@d_glynn) and Felix Rieper (@felixrieper).  Besides, we have really good swag today at the HOL lab, which are perfect trip mementos. Be sure to attend the Dell Storage and VMware session on VVols (STO3247) this Wednesday or Thursday to learn more about the biggest change to VMware’s virtual machine since its creation.

Also, please stop by our Dell and Nutanix booth #1417 to visit with our SME, Gene Chesser (@GeneAtDell) who is interested in hearing all about your virtualization challenges and goals. Or say hi to our product planning SME Josh Raw (@josh_raw), who would love to chat with you about VMware integrations and Dell Storage in general while hanging out at the Dell booth and other places in VMworld this week. Dell’s participation at VMworld would not be complete without our VMware vEvangelist, Jason Boche (@jasonboche), who you can catch in various breakout sessions, the hands on labs or in the Dell booth.

Lastly, please follow us @Dell_Storage on Twitter and contact your Dell representative to let us help you reach your unique milestones on your way to a VM-aware datacenter. Meanwhile, I will figure how to virtually unpack my new house Smile

About the Author: Nicole Werts Williams

Nicole Werts Williams is a Sr. Advisor supporting Server Solution Marketing at Dell, Inc with a focus on tower servers, modular infrastructure and storage components. Nicole has also served in the Storage Marketing Group at Dell covering the PS and SC Series lines. With over 15 years of experience in IT marketing spanning hardware software and services, Nicole has also held positions at IBM. She holds a MBA and a BA in English.