Thursday, 6 September 2012

vSphere 5.0 Storage Features- Profile Driven Storage

vSphere 5.0 Storage Features

Profile Driven Storage

Managing datastores and matching the SLA requirements of virtual machines with the appropriate datastore can be a challenging and a cumbersome task. VMware vSphere 5.0 introduces Profile Driven Storage, which will allow for rapid and intelligent provisioning of virtual machines based on SLA requirements and provided storage capabilities.

Using Profile Driven Storage different storage characteristics (typically defined as a tier) can be linked to a VM Storage Profile. These VM Storage Profiles are used during provisioning to ensure only those datastores or datastore clusters that are compliant with the VM Storage Profile are presented. Profile Driven Storage will reduce the amount of manual administration required for virtual machine provisioning while improving virtual machine SLA storage compliance.

Profile Driven Storage delivers these benefits by taking advantage of the following items:
  • Integrating with vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness enabling usage of storage characterization supplied by storage vendors.
  • Enabling the vSphere administrator to tag storage based on customer or business specific descriptions.
  • Using storage characterizations to create virtual machine placement rules in the form of storage profiles.
  • Providing easy means to check a virtual machine's compliance against these rules.

Create User-Defined Storage Capabilities

There are a number of steps to follow in order to successfully use Profile Driven Storage. Before building a Storage Profile, the storage devices on your host must have capabilities associated with them. Now, as mentioned, these can come via VASA and be associated automatically with the storage devices, or these can be user-defined and manually associated. For instance, you might like to use User-Defined business tags for your storage, such as Bronze, Silver & Gold. How then do you create these User-Defined capabilities? Quite easily in fact. From the vSphere UI, click on the icon label VM Storage Profiles:

This will take you to the VM Storage Profiles view:

The next step is to start adding the user-defined storage capabilities (or business tags).

To do this, you select 'Manage Storage Capabilities', and add them in. If we stick with the gold/silver/bronze example, here is how I would create a 'Bronze' user-defined storage capability.

If you continue creating additional storage capabilities, you can use them to classify your different types of storage.

Remember this is just one example; you can use other capabilities to define your storage too. Note that if capabilities were being surfaced by VASA, they would appear here in this "Manage Storage Capabilities" view automatically.

Create a VM Storage Profile

At this point, my user-defined storage capabilities are created. The next step is to create a storage profile. To create a profile, select the option "Create VM Storage Profile" in the VM Storage Profiles view seen earlier. First give it a name and description, and then select the storage capabilities for that profile:

You can make a number of different profiles. For my example, I created three, one for each tier of storage, and each containing a different capability (Bronze, Silver & Gold):

Add the User-Defined Capability to the Datastore

The capabilities are now defined & the VM Storage Profiles are created. The next step is to add the capabilities to the datastores. This is a simple point & click task. Simply right click on the desired datastore and select the option "Assign User-Defined Storage Capability…":

In the Summary tab of the datastore, a new Window called Storage Capabilities now displays both System Storage Capabilities (VASA) and User-defined Storage Capabilities. The bubble icon next to the capability will display additional details:

Using the VM Storage Profile

At this point, the profile is created and the user-defined capabilities are added to the datastore. Now we can use the profile to select the correct storage for the VM. The profile is automatically attached to the VM during deployment phase. Later, we can check if the datastore on which the VM is placed has the same capabilities as the profile. If it does, then the VM is said to be compliant. If they do not, the VM is said to be non-compliant.

VM Storage Profiles can be used during deployment or during migrations, or can be attached on-the-fly. In this example, I am deploying an OVF Template, and when it comes to storage selection, you choose a particular profile from the list of profiles:

Let's pretend that this is a mission critical VM for me, so I am going to put it on my Gold tiered storage. I select the "Gold" VM Storage Profile from the list. See what happens to my storage selection:

Notice the way that the datastores are now split into Compatible & Incompatible. The Compatible datastore are those which have the same storage capabilities as those defined in the profile called 'Gold'. Only one datastore (VSADs-2) has this capability; none of the other datastores have that capability. However, you can still choose to deploy this VM onto one of the Incompatible datastores if you wish. All it means is that the VM will show up as Incompatible in the UI when checked.

Checking Compatibility

OK, at this point we have seen how to associate the VM with the correct storage at initial deployment time using VM Storage Profiles. But during the life-cycle of a VM, it could be migrated to other storage. How do I tell if it is still compliant. Well, that's easy as there a number of built-in mechanisms for checking the compliance of individual VMs or multiple VMs.

To check individual VMs, simply go to the Summary tab of the VM, and you'll see a new VM Storage Profiles window which will indicate if the VM is compliant or not. Here are some sample screen-shots:

However it would be tedious to check all of these individually. Therefore if you go back into the VM Storage Profiles view, you can check all VMs per profile in one place. Here I have one VM which is compliant, and another which is not, but I can see this from a single view:

So there you have it. Not only can VM Storage Profile allow you to select the correct datastore for VM placement each and every time, but through-out the lifetime of the VM, you can continually check to make sure that it is running on its proper storage and that it hasn't been moved to somewhere it shouldn't be.

Re-Blogged from VMware Blogs

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