DataCore Software has unveiled the second generation of its universal vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVols) software technology. DataCore is the only VMware-certified software vendor supporting universal VVols functionality, and these powerful new capabilities allow VVols to work across a wide diversity of other vendors solutions and all types of storage (disk subsystems, flash/SSD arrays, DAS, etc.).

With VVols, server administrators can create policies and self-provision storage that suits their needs. DataCore adds the ability to provide a universal control plane that allows the instrumentation and administration of virtual machine-based storage policies to be easily managed across a mix of new and existing storage infrastructure investments from one or many vendors. This improves operational efficiency through a common management and policy platform where data services and performance service level demands are decoupled from any underlying deficiencies.

“DataCore is a great example of a company that has taken the powerful capabilities of what VMware has done with VVols and developed a software-based universal control plane so VVols can be used by a wider-base of customers and architectures," said Rawlinson Rivera, principal architect, office of CTO at VMware.

The challenges of managing storage for virtual environments have driven the need for simple policy based techniques and VMware’s VVols technology has proven to be a major advance forward. However, many existing and current storage offerings are not yet VVols certified. Even with a growing number of storage vendors providing VVols support, each has their own offering and enterprises can face the issue of having multiple VASA (VMware vSphere API for Storage Awareness) providers. The misalignments created as different generations or storage from multiple vendors occupying the datacenter can lead to a sprawl of provider and storage silos. 

DataCore delivers a software-based VVols VASA provider, so that vSphere high availability and/or multiple VASA provider installations can provide full redundancy and availability across a full heterogeneous environment. DataCore’s implementation of VVols creates a storage services platform that unifies data storage resources whether they are SAN, converged, hyper-converged, or cloud. This provides one set of universal storage services across all storage devices regardless of type -- internal or external based storage. As a result, diverse storage platforms are now able to communicate seamlessly, reducing complexity and improving operational efficiency. 

For example, DataCore’s universal VVols VASA provider empowers vSphere administrators to allocate datastores from Western Digital’s SanDisk® InfiniFlash™ platforms using familiar VM provisioning and storage allocations without any special training on SanDisk or DataCore technologies. Behind the scenes, DataCore SANsymphony software pools capacity from multiple high-density InfiniFlash systems and synchronously mirrors data across them for high-availability.

“By using DataCore’s software, vSphere administrators can easily see and manage multiple petabytes of high-performance storage for rapidly expanding at-scale data centers,” said Gary Lyng, senior director of marketing, Data Center Systems business unit, Western Digital. “In addition, multiple SanDisk InfiniFlash platforms can be added economically and non-disruptively to fully redundant storage pools supporting growing high-performance and massive capacity demands of hyperscale and cloud customers.”

The vendors that have no plans to support VVols in their current architecture simply cannot afford to retrofit equipment with the new VM-aware schema. DataCore software allows VVols to work universally across all types of storage — regardless of whether the systems support VVols or not. This enables enterprises to benefit from VVols on popular storage systems and all flash arrays simply by layering storage virtualization software in front of them. As a result, vSphere administrators can self-provision virtual volumes from virtual storage pools — they can specify the capacity and class of service without having to know anything about the hardware.

“The ‘universalism in the datacenter’ that DataCore is providing with its universal VVols support greatly improves storage provisioning, resulting in numerous benefits, including VM policy automation, a more logical process in setting up virtual machines, and the proper alignment of resources to storage demands,” said Todd Mace, tech evangelist for DataCore Software. “We are enabling our customers to extract the maximum value out of their legacy storage and arrays even if their equipment does not yet support VVols.”  

The benefits of using DataCore’s universal VVols software technology include:

  • Only one VASA provider is needed for all disparate arrays
  • No firmware upgrades or special licensing is needed to support storage
  • Local storage and external array are fully supported with VVols
  • All FibreChannel and iSCSI based storage can now be VVols capable
  • Virtual Machine migrations VMFS > VVols or vice-versa are fully supported with no application down time
  • Full availability and redundancy for VASA providers 
  • Up to 16,000 VVols per Protocol Endpoint are supported

DataCore also now includes enhanced support for VVols’ VM-centric storage policy-based management (SPBM) using multi-tiered storage pools. The new virtual disk templates can be tailored to establish different classes of service (storage profiles) that the vSphere administrators can choose from when creating virtual machines (VMs) or adding disks to those VMs.  DataCore software becomes a universal adapter, providing universal data services where virtual machines can be based on a defined policy or through virtual machine provisioning when using SPBM. The data services that DataCore currently supports is aligned with the vSphere certification for the current VVols framework including multi-writer support, deduplication support, synchronous mirroring support, snapshot support, and caching support.

DataCore will be demonstrating its universal VVols software technology in booth #2406 at VMworld 2016, taking place from Aug 28, 2016 - Sept 1, 2016 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Conference Center in Las Vegas.