One of the biggest things I took away from the VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas was the all advancements within the storage part of virtualization. For me, this was the year for storage. One product that really got my attention was the new NAS appliance, VMstore from Tintri. This 3U appliance, well 5U if you count the UPC, is a single datastore with 8.5TB of usable storage. This appliance was a collaboration of some very smart individuals from different companies like VMware, Datadomain, NetApp and Sun. They put their minds together and built this NFS appliance from the ground up with specially engineered file system to work with virtualization. What makes this VM-aware appliance different from other typical storage designs is VMstore uses VM’s and virtual disks as the abstractions instead of the conventional storage abstractions, volumes, LUN’s and files that we have all been accustomed to. Each I/O request will map directly to a virtual disk all while VMstore monitors, controls the I/O and presents disk performance statistics per VM or per VMDK.
VMstore will also communicate natively with VMware vCenter Server via the API’s to learn which virtual machines are active, running on the VMstore and presents a real time view of the virtual machines disk statistics. The VMstore appliance will also perform compression and inline data deduplication via the SSD drives and developed a hybrid file system to move the data between the 1TB SSD drives and the 16x1TB SATA drives. You can also reserve performance by pinning a VM or a VMDK to the SSD.
A couple of thoughts to share, although VMstore is missing a few features like replication but I think Tintri is off to a really good start. I am hoping that more control of VMstore can be present inside vCenter by API calls or another method. I am still the firm believer and any tools device and such should be able to be controlled and administered via one central management console but Tintri is simplifying management and a pretty good price point and worth checking out.
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