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In the overall VMware Virtual Datacenter Operating System, vStorage falls under the

infrastructure vServices layer and delivers an efficient way to use and manage storage in virtual

VMware vSphere Virtual Machine File System or VMFS is one of two file system types that are
supported by vSphere on shared storage. VMFS is a high-performance cluster file system
designed specifically for virtual machines.

Apart from VMFS, vStorage also works with Network File System or NFS shared storage to host
a virtual machine.

VMware has built a storage interface into the vSphere software that provides a wide range of
storage virtualization connectivity options. These options are related network storage, while
the internal storage disk is a local storage.

vStorage vMotion technology enables the live migration of virtual machine disk files across
storage arrays with no disruption in service.

vStorage thin provisioning reduces the storage requirement for virtual environments by
allocating storage only when required. It also enables report and alert capabilities required to
track the actual storage usage.

VMware vSphere vStorage APIs provide third-party storage array and software vendors with a
set of standardized interfaces which allow them to integrate their products with VMware
Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler or Storage DRS provides the virtual disk placement and
load balancing recommendations to datastores in a Storage DRS-enabled datastore cluster.
Storage DRS is a mechanism that initiates a Storage vMotion when the datastore exceeds a
user-specified I/O latency or space utilization threshold. It manages storage resources across
ESXi hosts and load balances for space and I/O latency. It also enables automated initial
placement of virtual machines disks when installing new virtual machines.

A virtual machine monitor in the VMkernel is the interface between the guest operating system
and applications in a virtual machine and the physical storage subsystem in the ESXi host.

A guest operating system sees only a virtual disk that is presented to the guest through a virtual
SCSI controller. Depending on the virtual machine configuration, available virtual SCSI
controllers are BusLogic Parallel, LSI Logic Parallel, LSI Logic SAS, or VMware Paravirtual SCSI

Each virtual machine can be configured with up to four virtual SCSI controllers, each with up to
15 virtual SCSI disks. Each virtual disk accessed through a virtual SCSI controller is mapped to a
physical datastore available to the ESXi host. This datastore can be formatted with either a
VMFS or NFS file system.

The datastore can be located on either a local SCSI disk or on a FC, iSCSI, or NAS array.

A LUN is a Logical Unit Number. It simply means that a logical space has been carved from the
storage array by the storage administrator. To ease the identification of this space, the storage
administrator assigns a number to each logical volume. In the example illustrated in the
diagram, the LUN is ten and it has twenty gigabytes of space. The term LUN can refer to an
entire physical disk, a subset of a larger physical disk, or a disk volume. A single LUN can be
created from the entire space on the storage disk or array or from a part of the space called a
partition. If a virtual machine needs to see a LUN directly, this can be achieved via Raw Disk
Mapping or RDM. You will learn about RDM later in this module. Although the word LUN is
universally accepted, some storage vendors follow the concept of LUNs and MetaLUNs. In this
course, a LUN means the highest level of logical grouping presented by the storage.

When a LUN is mapped to an ESXi, it is referred to as a volume. The volume size can be less
than or more than the size of a physical disk drive. When LUN uses disk space on more than one
physical disk or partition, it still presents itself as a single volume to an ESXi.

When a volume is formatted with either VMFS or NFS file system, it is referred to as a
datastore. Datastores are logical containers, analogous to the file systems that hide specifics of
each storage device and provide a uniform model for storing the virtual machine files.
Therefore, a datastore is a partition of the volume that is formatted with a file system.

For best performance, a LUN should not be configured with mutliple partitions and multiple
VMFS datastores. Each LUN should have only a single VMFS datastore.

A datastore serves as a storage space for the virtual disks that stores the virtual machine

As shown in the graphic, a virtual machine is stored as a set of files in its own directory in a
datastore. A datastore is formatted either as a VMFS or NFS volume depending on the type of
physical storage in datacenter. It can be manipulated, such as backed-up, just like a file. In the
next few slides, you will learn about the datastore types in detail.

Please note that VMFS5 allows up to 256 VMFS volumes per system with the minimum volume
size of 1.3GB and maximum size of 64TB. By default, up to 8 NFS datastores per system can be
supported and can be increased to 64 NFS datastores per system. In addition to virtual machine
files, a datastore can also be used to store ISO images, virtual machine templates, and floppy
disk images.

A virtual machine usually resides in a folder or subdirectory that is created by an ESXi
host. When a user creates a new virtual machine, virtual machine files are automatically
created on a datastore.
First is a .vmx file. This is the virtual machine configuration file and is the primary configuration
file that stores settings chosen in the New Virtual Machine Wizard or virtual machine settings
Second is a .vmxf file that is additional configuration file for virtual machine.
Third is a .vmdk file. This is an ASCII text file that stores information about the virtual machine's
hard disk drive. There could be one or more virtual disk files.
Fourth is a -flat.vmdk file. This is a single pre-allocated disk file containing the virtual disk data.
Fifth is a .nvram file. This is a non-volatile RAM that stores virtual machine BIOS information.
Sixth is a .vmss file which is the virtual machine suspending state file that stores the state of a
suspended virtual machine.
Seventh is a .vmsd file. This is a centralized file for storing information and metadata about
Eighth is a .vmsn file. This is the snapshot state file that stores the running state of a virtual
machine at the time you take the snapshot.
Ninth is a .vswp file that is virtual machine swap file for memory allocation.
And at last there is a .log file, which is virtual machine log file and can be useful in
troubleshooting when you encounter problems. This file is stored in the directory that holds the
configuration (.vmx) file of the virtual machine.

The type of datastore to be used for storage depends upon the type of physical storage devices
in the datacenter. The physical storage devices include local SCSI disks and networked storage,
such as FC SAN disk arrays, iSCSI SAN disk arrays, and NAS arrays.

Local SCSI disks store virtual machine files on internal or external storage devices attached to
the ESXi host through a direct bus connection.

Networked storage stores virtual machine files on external shared storage devices or arrays
located outside the ESXi host. The ESXi host communicates with the networked devices through
a highspeed network.

Please note that you should format local disk, FC SANs and iSCSI SANs to the VMFS file type for
the ESXi host to access them. It is important to format NAS arrays to the NFS file type for the
ESXi host to access them.

A VMFS volume is a clustered file system that allows multiple hosts read and write access to the
same storage device simultaneously.

The cluster file system enables key vSphere features, such as live migration of running virtual
machines from one host to another. It also enables an automatic restart of a failed virtual
machine on a separate host and the clustering of virtual machines across different hosts.

VMFS provides an on-disk distributed locking system to ensure that the same virtual machine is
not powered-on by multiple hosts at the same time. If an ESXi host fails, the on-disk lock for
each virtual machine can be released so that virtual machines can be restarted on other ESXi

Besides locking functionality, virtual machines operate safely in SAN environment with even
multiple ESXi host sharing the same VMFS datastore. Please note that you can connect up to
128 hosts to a single VMFS5 volume.

The hard disk drive of a virtual

NFS is a file-sharing protocol and is used to establish a client-server relationship between the
ESXi hosts and the NAS device. As opposed to block storage, the NAS system itself is responsible
for managing the layout and the structure of the files and directories on a physical storage. The
ESXi host mounts the NFS volume, and creates one directory for each virtual machine. NFS
volume provides shared storage capabilities to support ESXi, such as vMotion, DRS, VMware
vSphere High Availability, ISO images,
and virtual machine snapshot.

NFS allows volumes to be accessed simultaneously by multiple ESXi hosts that run multiple
virtual machines.

The strength of NFS is similar to those of VMFS datastores. After the storage is provisioned to
the ESXi hosts, the vCenter administrator is free to use the storage as needed. Additional
benefits of NFS datastores include high performance and storage savings provided by thin
provisioning. Thin provisioning is the default format for VMDKs created on NFS. The NFS client
built into ESXi uses NFS protocol version 3 for communicating with the NAS or NFS servers. By
default, NFS uses thin disk provisioning for virtual disks. The NFS datastore with VAAI hardware
acceleration supports flat disk, thick provision, and thin provision.

Please note that NFS datastores are popular for deploying storage in VMware infrastructure.

Like host clusters, you can also create datastore clusters that support resource allocation
policies. You can set a threshold on a datastore for space utilization. When the usage exceeds
the threshold, Storage DRS recommends or performs Storage vMotion to balance space
utilization across the datastores in the cluster. You can also set an I/O threshold for bottlenecks.
When I/O latency exceeds the set threshold, Storage DRS either recommends or performs a
Storage vMotion to relieve the I/O congestion.

NFS and VMFS datastores cannot be combined in the same Storage DRS-enabled datastore
cluster. The datastores can be of different sizes and I/O capacities. The datastores can also be
of different arrays with different vendors that configure a datastore cluster.

Please note that any host that connects to datastores in a datastore cluster, must be ESXi 5.0 or
later. Earlier version of ESX or ESXi is not supported in a datastore cluster.

Apart from regular hard disk drives, ESXi also supports SSDs that are resilient and provide faster
access to data. You will learn about SSD in the next slide.

SSDs use semiconductors for the storage data and have no spindles or disks that rotate and
move like in the traditional hard disk drives. An ESXi host can automatically distinguish SSDs
from regular hard drives. SSDs provide several advantages. For improved performance, you can
use SSDs for per-virtual machine swap areas. It provides high I/O throughput that helps
increase the virtual machine consolidation ratio.

Please note that a guest operating system can identify an SSD as a
virtual SSD. A virtual SSD allows a user to create a virtual disk on the SSD device and allows the
guest OS to see that it is an SSD.

You can use PSA SATP claim rules for tagging SSD devices that are not detected automatically. A
virtual SSD is supported on virtual hardware version 8, ESXi 5.0 hosts, or VMFS 5 file type or

RDM provides a mechanism for a virtual machine to have direct access to LUN on the physical
storage subsystem. RDM is available only on block-based storage arrays. RDM is a mapping file
in a separate VMFS volume that acts as a proxy for a raw physical storage device. It allows a
virtual machine to directly access and use the storage device and contains metadata for
managing and redirecting the disk access to the physical device.

The mapping file gives some of the advantages of direct access to a physical device while
keeping some advantages of a virtual disk in VMFS. As a result, it merges the VMFS
manageability with the raw device access. There are various terms describing RDM, such as
mapping a raw device into a datastore, mapping a system LUN, or a disk file to a
physical disk volume.

You can use the vSphere Client to add raw LUNs to virtual machines. You can also use vMotion
to migrate virtual machines with RDMs as long as both the source and target hosts have access
to the raw LUN. Additional benefits of RDM include distributed file locking, permissions, and
naming functionalities.

Please note that VMware recommends using VMFS datastores for most virtual disk storage.

There are two compatibility modes available for RDMs, virtual and physical.

The virtual compatibility mode appears exactly as a VMFS virtual disk to a virtual machine. It
provides the benefits of VMFS, such as advanced file locking system for data protection and
snapshots. However, the real hardware characteristics of the storage disk are hidden from
the virtual machine.

In the physical compatibility mode, the VMkernel passes all SCSI commands directly to the
device except for the Report LUNs command. Because of this, all characteristics of the
underlying storage are exposed to the virtual machine. However, blocking Report LUNs
prevents the virtual machine from discovering any other SCSI devices except for the device
mapped by the RDM file. This SCSI command capability is useful when the virtual machine is
running SAN management agents or SCSI target-based software.

Please note that for RDMs in physical compatibility mode, you can neither convert RDMs to
virtual disks nor can you perform operations such as Storage vMotion, migration, or cloning.
Also, you cannot relocate RDMs except to the VMFS5 datastore. VMFS 5 supports RDMs in
physical compatibility mode that is more than 2TB disk size.

You might need to use raw LUNs with RDMs in situations when SAN snapshot or other layered
applications run in a virtual machine. The RDM enables the scalable backup off-loading systems
by using features inherent to SAN.

You may also need to use RDM in any Microsoft Cluster Services or MSCS clustering scenario
that spans physical hosts in virtual-to-virtual clusters and physical-to-virtual clusters. In this
case, the cluster data and quorum disks should be configured as RDM rather than as files on a
shared VMFS.

A new LUN is required for each virtual machine with RDM.

The components of FC SAN can be divided into three categories, the host, the fabric, and the
storage component.

The host components of SAN consist of hosts themselves. The host components also contain
Host Bus Adapter or HBA components that enable hosts to be physically connected to SAN.
HBAs are located in individual host servers. Each host connects to the fabric ports through its
HBAs. HBA drivers running on hosts enable the servers operating systems to communicate with
the HBA.

In an FC SAN environment, the ESXi hosts access the disk array through a dedicated network
called fabric components. All hosts connect to the storage devices on SAN through the SAN
fabric. The network portion of a SAN consists of the fabric components.

SAN switches can connect to hosts, storage devices, and other switches. Therefore, they
provide the connection points for the SAN fabric. The type of SAN switch, its design features,
and port capacity contributes to its overall capacity, performance, and fault tolerance. The
number of switches, types of switches, and manner in which the switches are connected define
the fabric topology.

SAN cables are usually special fiber optic cables that connect all the fabric components. The
type of SAN cable, the fiber optic signal, and switch licensing determines the maximum
distances among SAN components and contribute
to the total bandwidth rating of SAN.

The fabric components communicate using the FC communications protocol. FC is the storage
interface protocol used for most SANs. FC was developed as a protocol for transferring data
between two ports on a serial I/O bus cable at high speed. It supports point-to-point, arbitrated
loop, and switched
fabric topologies.

The storage components of a SAN are the storage arrays. Storage arrays include the storage
processors or SPs that provide the front-end of the storage array. SPs communicate with the
disk array which includes all the disks in the storage array and provide the Redundant Array of
Independent Drives or RAID and volume functionality.

SPs provide front-side host attachments to the storage devices from the servers, either directly
or through a switch. SPs provide internal access to the drives, which can use either a switch or a
bus architecture. In high-end storage systems, drives are normally connected in loops. The
back-end loop technology employed by the SP provides several benefits, such as high-speed
access to the drives, ability to add more drives to the loop, and redundant access to a single
drive from multiple loops when drives are dual-ported and attached to two loops.

Data is stored on disk arrays or tape devices (or both).

Disk arrays are groups of multiple disk devices and are the typical SAN disk storage devices.
They can vary greatly in design, capacity, performance, and other features. The distance
between the server and the disk array can also be greater than that permitted in a directly
attached SCSI environment. Disk arrays are managed by OEM vendor proprietary operating
system with built-in intelligence to manage
the arrays.

Please note that switched fabric topology is the basis for most current SANs. The iSCSI is also
considered as SAN.

The iSCSI allows block-level data to be transported over the IP networks. iSCSI builds on the
SCSI protocol by encapsulating the SCSI commands in IP datagrams. It allows these
encapsulated data blocks to be transported to an unlimited distance through the TCP/IP
packets over traditional Ethernet networks or the Internet.

iSCSI uses client-server architecture. With an iSCSI connection, the ESXi host system and the
initiator communicates with a remote storage device and the target in the same manner as it
communicates with a local hard disk.

An initiator is typically a host, hosting an application that makes periodic requests for data to a
related storage device. Initiators are also referred to as host computers. The iSCSI device driver
that resides on a host may also be called an initiator.

The initiators begin iSCSI data transport transactions by sending an application request to send
or receive data. The application request is immediately converted into SCSI commands. It is
then encapsulated into iSCSI where a packet and a header are added for transportation through
the TCP/IP over the Internet or traditional Ethernet networks.

There are two types of SCSI initiators. Both store data are on remote iSCSI storage devices. First
is the hardware initiator that uses hardware-based iSCSI HBAs to access data, and second is the
software initiator that uses software-based iSCSI code program in the VMkernel to access the
data. This type of SCSI initiator requires a standard network adapter for network connectivity.

Targets are the storage devices that reside on a network. Targets receive iSCSI commands from
various initiators or hosts on a network. On the target side, these commands are then broken
into their original SCSI format to allow the block data to be transported between the initiator
and the storage device. The target responds to a host data request by sending SCSI commands
back to that host. These commands are again encapsulated through iSCSI for transportation
over the Ethernet or the Internet. The targets can be of any type of storage device, such as a
storage array that is part of a larger IP SAN.

The NAS device attached to an existing network provides a standalone storage solution that can
be used for data backup or additional storage capabilities for the virtual network clients. The
primary difference between NAS and SAN depends on how they process communications. NAS
communicates over the network using a network share, while SAN primarily uses the FC
communication channel.

The NAS devices transfer data from a storage device to a host in the form of files. It uses files
systems that are managed independently. They also manage user authentication.

The SAN storage provides multiple hosts with access to the same storage space. This capability
means that all virtual machine templates and ISO images are located on shared storage and also
helps with vMotion because the virtual machine data is located on shared storage. It allows
clusters of virtual machines across different ESXi hosts. The SAN storage helps perform backups
of machines and run these machines quickly after the host failure. This storage also ensures
that important data is not lost by minimizing or preventing downtime. The SAN Storage allows
moving virtual machines from one ESXi host to another for regular maintenance or other issues.
In addition, this storage provides data replication technologies that need to be used for disaster
recovery from primary to secondary sites. The SAN storage improves datastore load balancing
and performance, by moving virtual disks from one datastore to another along with the Storage
DRS technology. The SAN Storage also provides back up solutions by mounting the virtual disks
with snapshot technology. Finally, the SAN storage provides great redundancy to the virtual
machines with VMware clustering features, such as DRS, vSphere HA, and VMware Fault
or FT.

The local storage offers extremely high-speed access to data depending on the type of SCSI
controller used. A local storage is certainly more economical than the SAN infrastructure. The
local storage is also best suited for smaller environments with one or two hosts. Though SAN
provides significant benefits over locally attached storage, sometimes these benefits do not
the costs.

Shared storage is more expensive than local storage, but it supports a larger number of vSphere
features. However, local storage might be more practical in a small environment with only a
few ESXi hosts.

Shared VMFS partitions offer a number of benefits over local storage. The simple use of
vMotion is a huge benefit to any environment, such as the ability to have a fast and central
repository for virtual machine templates, to recover virtual machines on another host if a host
fails, and the ability to allocate large amounts of storage (terabytes) to the ESXi hosts, and
many more. The real idea here is that a shared implementation offers a truly scalable and
recoverable ESXi solution.

You can carry out ESXi maintenance without any disruption to virtual machines or users, if
shared storage is SAN. Once you have decided on local or shared storage, the next important
decision to make is whether the storage is isolated or consolidated.

The isolated storage suggests limiting the access of a single LUN to a single virtual machine. In
the physical world, this is quite common. When using RDMs, such isolation is implicit because
each RDM volume is mapped to a single virtual machine. The disadvantage of this approach is
that when you scale the virtual environment, soon you will reach the upper limit of 256 LUNs.
You also need to provide an additional disk or LUN each time you want to increase the storage
capacity for a virtual machine. This situation can lead to a significant management overhead. In
some environments, the storage administration team may need several days notice to provide
a new disk or a LUN.

Another consideration is that every time you need to grow the capacity for a virtual machine,
the minimum commit size is that of an allocation of a LUN. Although many arrays allow LUN to
be of any size, the storage administration team may avoid carving up lots of small LUNs because
this configuration makes it harder for them to manage the array.

Most storage administration teams prefer to allocate LUNs that are fairly large. They like to
have the system administration or application teams divide those LUNs into smaller chunks that
are higher up in the stack. VMFS suits this allocation scheme perfectly and is one of the reasons
VMFS is so effective in the virtualization storage management layer.

When using consolidated storage, you gain additional management productivity and resource
utilization by pooling the storage resource and sharing it with many virtual machines running on
several ESXi hosts. Dividing this shared resource between many virtual machines allows better
flexibility, easier provisioning, and ongoing management of the storage resources for the virtual
environment. Keeping all your storage consolidated allows you to use vMotion and DRS. This is
so because when the virtual disks are located on shared storage and are accessible to multiple
ESXi hosts, the virtual machines can be easily transferred from one ESXi host to another in case
of failure or for maintenance as well as load balancing.

Compared to strict isolation, consolidation normally offers better utilization of storage
resources. The cost is additional resource contention that, under some circumstances, can lead
to a reduction in virtual machine I/O performance.

Please note that by including consolidated storage in your original design, you can save money
in your hardware budget in the long run. Think about investing early in a consolidated storage
plan for your environment.

Now, which option should you choose when you implement storage: isolated or consolidated?
You will come to know about it in the next slide.

The answers to these questions will help you decide if you need isolated or consolidated
storage. In general, its wise to separate heavy I/O workloads from the shared pool of storage.
This separation helps optimize the performance of those high transactional throughput
applications an approach best characterized as consolidation with some level of isolation.

Due to varying workloads, there is no exact rule to determine the limits of performance and
scalability for allocating the number of virtual machines per LUN. These limits also depend on
the number of ESXi hosts sharing concurrent access to a given VMFS volume. The key is to
recognize the upper limit of 256 LUNs and understand that this number can limit the
consolidation ratio if you take the concept of 1 LUN per virtual machine too far.

Many different applications can easily and effectively share a clustered pool of storage.
After considering all these points, the best practice is to have a mix of consolidated and isolated

Before you implement a virtualization environment, you must understand some of the common
storage administration issues.

Common storage administration issues include:
- How frequently the storage
administrator provisions new
- Monitoring current datastore
- Configuring and maintaining
proper LUN masking and zoning
configuration, and
- Properly configuring multipath
configurations for active/active
or active/passive arrays

You must keep few points in mind while configuring datastores and storage types. For VMFS
volumes, make sure you have one VMFS volume per LUN and carve up the VMFS volume into
many VMDKs.

Use spanning to add more capacity. When virtual machines running on this datastore require
more space, you can dynamically increase the capacity of a VMFS datastore by adding a new
extent. An extent is a partition on a storage device, or LUN. You can add up to 32 new extents
of the same storage type to an existing VMFS datastore. The spanned VMFS datastore can use
any of all its extents at any time. It does not need to fill up a particular extent before using the
next one.

Keep the test and production environment on separate VMFS volumes and use RDMs with
virtual machines that use physical-to-virtual clusters or cluster
across boxes.

You must keep iSCSI on a separate and isolated IP network for best performance, and keep NAS
on a separate and isolated IP network for best performance.

Please note that you have no more than eight NFS mounts per ESXi host because this is the
default number while the maximum number of NFS mounts is sixty four.

Another point to remember is that ESXi 5.0 does not support VMFS 2 file systems. Therefore,
you have to first upgrade VMFS 2 to VMFS 3 and then to VMFS 5.

This concludes the VMware vSphere vStorage Overview module. In summary:

- The VMware vStorage architecture consists of layers of abstraction that hide and manage the
complexity and differences among physical storage subsystems. The virtual machine monitor
in the
VMkernel handles the storage subsystem for the applications and guest operating systems
inside each virtual machine.

- VMware has built a storage interface into the vSphere software that gives you a wide range of
storage virtualization connectivity options while providing a consistent presentation of storage
to virtual machines. Connectivity options include FC, iSCSI SAN, NFS, NAS, and SAS.
- Virtual machines are storedin datastores. The datastoreis located on a physical storage device
and is treated as VMFS,RDM, or NFS volume depending on the type of physical storage the
datacenter has. The physical disk device could be SCSI, iSCSI, NAS, FC, or SAS.

To know how to optimize the space, first you should know the storage-related requirements.
Important requirements for customers today are how to avoid unused disk space, reduce
operational costs, bring storage capacity upgrades in line with actual business usage, and
optimize storage space utilization.
vStorage provides control over space optimization by enabling vCenter Server administrators to
thin provision, grow volume, add extent, and increase the virtual disk size. You will learn about
space optimization techniques in detail in this section.

vSphere thin provisioning can be done at the array level and the virtual disk level. Thin
provisioning at the array level is done by the storage administrator.
In this module, you will learn about thin provisioning at the virtual disk level only.

When you create a virtual machine, a certain amount of storage space
on a datastore is provisioned, or
allocated, to the virtual disk files.
By default, ESXi offers a traditional storage provisioning method. In this method, the amount of
storage the virtual machine will need for its entire lifecycle is estimated, a fixed amount of
storage space is provisioned to its virtual disk, and the entire provisioned space is committed to
the virtual disk during its creation. This type of virtual disk that occupies the entire provisioned
space is called a thick disk format.

A virtual disk in the thick format does not change its size. From the beginning, it occupies its
entire space on the datastore to which it is assigned. However, creating virtual disks in the thick
format leads to underutilization of datastore capacity because large amounts of storage space
that are preallocated to individual virtual machines might remain unused.

To avoid over-allocating storage space and minimize stranded storage, vSphere supports
storage over-commitment in the form of thin provisioning. When a disk is thin provisioned, the
virtual machine thinks it has access to a large amount of storage. However, the actual physical
footprint is much smaller.
Disks in thin format look just like disks in thick format in terms of logical size. However, the
VMware vSphere Virtual Machine File System or VMFS drivers manage the disks differently in
terms of physical size. The VMFS drivers allocate physical space for the thin-provisioned disks
on first write and expand the disk on demand, if and when the guest operating system needs it.
This capability enables the vCenter Server administrator to allocate the total provisioned space
for disks on a datastore at a greater amount than the actual capacity.

If the VMFS volume is full and a thin disk needs to allocate more space for itself, the virtual
machine prompts the vCenter Server administrator to provide more space on the underlying
VMFS datastore.

vSphere also provides alarms and reports that specifically track allocation versus current usage
of storage capacity so that the vCenter Server administrator can optimize allocation of storage
for the virtual environment.

A virtual machine can be assigned the thin disk format when creating the virtual machine,
cloning templates and virtual machines, and migrating virtual machines. When performing the
migration task of the datastore or both host and the datastore, disks are converted from thin to
thick format or thick to thin format. If you choose to leave a disk in its original location, the disk
format does not change.
Thin provisioning is supported
only on VMFS 3 version and later.

VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Array Integration enable you to monitor the use of space on
thin-provisioned LUN to avoid running out of physical space. As your datastore grows or if you
use VMware vSphere vMotion to migrate virtual machines to a thin provisioned LUN, the
host communicates with the LUN and warns you about breaches in the physical space and out-
of-space conditions. It also informs the array about the free datastore space that is created
when files and Raw Disk Mappings or RDMs are deleted or removed from the datastore by
vSphere Storage vMotion. The array can then reclaim the freed blocks of space.

When virtual machines running on a VMFS datastore require more space, you can dynamically
increase the capacity of the datastore by using the add extent method. This method enables
you to expand a VMFS datastore by attaching an available hard disk space as an extent. The
datastore can span 32 physical storage extents and up to 64TB.

Certain storage arrays enable you to dynamically increase the size of a LUN within the array.
After the LUN size is increased, the VMFS volume grow method can be used to increase the size
of the VMFS datastore up to the 64TB limit.

Another use of volume grow is that if the original LUN was larger than the VMFS volume
created, then you can use the additional capacity of the
LUN by growing the VMFS volume.

Please note that volume grow for RDM is not supported.

The criteria applicable to volume grow and extent grow are listed in the table. For both
methods, there is no need to power off virtual machines. Both methods can be used on an
existing array that has expanded LUN.

Additionally, you can grow a volume any number of times, up to a limit of 64TB. A datastore can
have a maximum of 32 extents, but the maximum datastore size is still 64TB. No new partition
is added for volume grow, but a new partition is added when performing an extent grow. This
new partition has a dependency on the first extent. Therefore, if the first extent fails, virtual
machines lose access to the entire volume. With volume grow, as long as the datastore has only
one extent, virtual machine availability is never affected.

It is important for users to know how much space their virtual machines are using, where to
locate their snapshots, and how much space are the snapshots consuming.
vStorage provides control over the environment space utilization by enabling vCenter Server
administrators to add alarms that send notification for set conditions. It also provides utilization
reports and charts. Based on organizational policy, you can put a virtual machine either in a
specific datastore or in the virtual machines home directory.

vCenter Server administrators can monitor space utilization by setting up alarms that send a
notification when a certain threshold is reached. They can also analyze reports and charts that
graphically represent statistical data for various devices and entities and give real-time data on
the utilization.

Alarms are notifications that are set on events or conditions for an object. For example, the
vCenter Server administrator can configure an alarm on disk usage percentage, to be notified
when the amount of disk space used by a datastore reaches a certain level. The administrator
can also set alarms that are triggered when a virtual machine is powered off, the amount of
configured RAM used by the virtual machine exceeds a set capacity, or a hosts CPU usage
reaches a certain percentage.

The vSphere administrator can set alarms on all managed objects in the inventory. When an
alarm is set on a parent entity, such as a cluster, all child entities inherit the alarm. Alarms
cannot be changed or overridden at the child level.

Alarms have a trigger and an action. A trigger is a set of conditions that must be met for an
alarm to register. An action is the operation that occurs in response to the trigger.
The triggers for the default alarms are defined, but the actions are not. The vCenter Server
administrator must manually configure the alarm actions, for example, sending an email

Triggers and actions answer three questions.
First, what is the threshold that your environment can tolerate?
Second, when should a notification
be sent?
And last, what action should be
taken in response to the alarm?

The Storage Views tab is a part of vCenter Management Web services called the Storage
Management Service. This service provides a greater insight into the storage infrastructure,
particularly in the areas of storage connectivity and capacity utilization. It assists the vCenter
Server administrator in quickly viewing information to answer questions, such as how much
space on a datastore is used for snapshots and are there redundant paths to a virtual machines

All data used to compute information shown on the tab comes from the vCenter Server
database. The Storage Management Service makes direct database calls periodically, computes
the information, and stores it in an in-memory cache.

A display in the top-right corner shows the last time when the report was updated. The Update
link enables you to manually update the report as required.

The Storage Views tab includes two view pages: Reports and Maps.

The Reports page of the Storage Views tab enables you to view the relationship between
storage entities and other vSphere entities. For example, you can view the relationship
between a datastore and a virtual machine or host. You can also view the relationship between
a virtual machine and a SCSI volume, path, adapter, or target. All reports are searchable and
include links to drill down to specific entities.

Performance charts graphically represent statistical data for various devices and entities
managed by vCenter Server. They display data for a variety of metrics including CPU, disk,
memory, and network usage.

VMware provides several preconfigured charts for datacenters, hosts, clusters, datastores,
resource pools, and virtual machines. Each metric for an inventory object is displayed on a
separate chart and is specific to that object. For example, the metrics for a host are different
from the metrics for a virtual machine.

In the next section, you will learn how a vCenter Server administrator can provide assurance of
necessary and sufficient storage for the VMware virtual datacenter.

The key requirements for vStorage administrators are to ensure bandwidth for mission-critical
virtual machines, avoid storage I/O bottlenecks, get predictable storage throughput and latency
for virtual machines, and ensure that mission-critical virtual machines have storage available at
all times.

vStorage provides various features to meet these requirements. It provides Native Multipathing
Plug-in to avoid I/O bottlenecks, Pluggable Storage Architecture to enable third-party software
developers to design their own load balancing techniques, and Storage I/O Control or SIOC to
prioritize I/O for certain virtual machines.

To maintain a constant connection between an ESXi host and its
storage, ESXi supports multipathing.

Multipathing is the technique of using more than one physical path for transferring data
between an ESXi host and an external storage device. In case of a failure of any element in the
SAN network, such as HBA, switch, or cable, ESXi can fail over to another physical path.

In addition to path failover, multipathing offers load balancing for redistributing I/O loads
between multiple paths, thus reducing or removing potential bottlenecks.

To support path switching with Fibre Channel or FC SAN, an ESXi host typically has two or more
HBAs available, from which the storage array can be reached using one or more switches.
Alternatively, the setup should include one HBA and two storage processors or SPs so that the
HBA can use a different path to reach the disk array.

In the graphic shown, multiple paths connect each ESXi host with the storage device for a FC
storage type. In FC multipathing, if HBA1 or the link between HBA1 and the FC switch fails,
HBA2 takes over and provides the connection between the server and the switch. The process
of one HBA taking over another is called HBA failover. Similarly, if SP1 fails or the links between
SP1 and the switches break, SP2 takes over and provides the connection between the switch
and the storage device. This process is called SP failover.

The multipathing capability of ESXi supports both HBA and SP failover.

With Internet Small Computer System Interface or iSCSI storage, ESXi takes advantage of the
multipathing support built into the IP network. This support enables the network to perform
routing, as shown in the graphic.

Through the Dynamic Discovery process, iSCSI initiators obtain a list of target addresses that the
initiators can use as multiple paths to iSCSI LUNs for fail over purposes. In addition, with the
softwareinitiated iSCSI, the vSphere administrator can use Network Interface Card or NIC
teaming, so that multipathing is performed through the networking layer in the VMkernel.

To manage storage multipathing, ESXi uses a special VMkernel layer called the Pluggable
Storage Architecture or PSA. PSA is an open, modular framework that coordinates the
simultaneous operation of multiple multipathing plug-ins or MPPs.

The PSA framework supports the installation of thirdparty plug-ins that can replace or
supplement vStorage native components. These plug-ins are developed by software or storage
hardware vendors and integrate with the PSA. They improve critical aspects of path
management and add support for new path selection policies and new arrays, currently
unsupported by ESXi. Third-party plug-ins are of three types: third-party SATPs, third-party
PSPs, and third-party MMPs.

Third-party SATPs are generally developed by thirdparty hardware manufacturers, who have
expert knowledge of their storage devices. These plug-ins are optimized to accommodate
specific characteristics of the storage arrays and support the new array lines. You need to install
thirdparty SATPs when the behavior of your array does not match the behavior of any existing
PSA SATP. When installed, the thirdparty SATPs are coordinated by the NMP. They can be
simultaneously used with the VMware SATPs.

The second type of third-party plug-ins are thirdparty PSPs. They provide more complex I/O
load balancing algorithms. Generally, these plug-ins are developed by thirdparty software
companies and help you achieve higher throughput across multiple paths. When installed, the
thirdparty PSPs are coordinated by the NMP. They can run along and be simultaneously used
with the VMware PSPs.

The third type, thirdparty MPPs, can provide entirely new faulttolerance and performance
behavior. They run in parallel with the VMware NMP. For certain specified arrays, they replace
the behavior of the NMP by taking control over the path failover and loadbalancing operations.

When the host boots up or performs a rescan, the PSA discovers all physical paths to storage
devices available to the host. Based on a set of claim rules defined in the /etc/VMware/esx.conf
file, the PSA determines which multipathing module should claim the paths to a particular
device and become responsible for managing the device.

For the paths managed by the NMP module, another set of rules is applied to select SATPs and
PSPs. Using these rules, the NMP assigns an appropriate SATP to monitor physical paths and
associates a default PSP with these paths.

By default, ESXi provides the VMware Native Multipathing Plug-in or NMP. NMP is an extensible
module that manages subplug-ins. There are two types of NMP subplug-ins, Storage Array Type
Plug-ins or SATPs, and Path Selection Plug-ins or PSPs. SATPs and PSPs can be built-in and are
provided by VMware. They can also be provided by a third-party vendor.

When a virtual machine issues an I/O request to a storage device managed by the NMP, the
NMP calls the PSP assigned to this storage device. The PSP then selects an appropriate physical
path for the I/O to be sent. The NMP reports the success or failure of the operation. If the I/O
operation is successful, the NMP reports its completion. However, if the I/O operation reports
an error, the NMP calls an appropriate SATP. The SATP interprets the error codes and, when
appropriate, activates inactive paths. The PSP is called to select a new path to send the I/O.

This page enables you to view details of all storage devices.
To ensure that storage device names are consistent across reboots, ESXi uses unique LUN
identifiers to name the storage devices in the user-interface and outputs from CLI commands.
In most cases, the Network Addressing Authority ID or NAA is used.

Runtime Name is created by the host and shows the name of the first path to the device. Unlike
Universally Unique Identifiers or UUIDs,runtime names are not reliable identifiers for the device
and they are not persistent.
The format for runtime devices is vmhba#:C#:T#:L#.
The vmhba# portion of the Runtime Name is the name of the storage adapter. The name refers
to the physical adapter on the host but not to the SCSI controller used by the virtual machines.
C# is the storage channel number.
T# is the target number. The host decides target numbering, and the numbering might change if
the mappings of targets are visible to the host. Targets shared by different hosts might not have
the same target number.
L# is the LUN identifier that shows the position of the LUN within the target. The LUN identifier
is provided by the storage system. If a target has only one LUN, the LUN identifier is always

For example, vmhba1:C0:T0:L1 represents LUN1 on target 0 accessed through the storage
adapter vmhba1 and channel 0.
The Devices page also includes an Owner column so you can view the PSA multipathing module
managing the device. From the Devices page, you can click the Manage Paths link to view and
manage the path details for a selected device.

Here is an example of the Manage Paths dialog box. It shows the storage array type and the
status of each multipathing target. The Active status indicates that the path is operational and
is the current path used for transferring data. The Standby status indicates that the path is on
an active-passive array that is working, but is not currently being used for transferring data. The
status may also show as either Disabled or Dead, depending on whether any of the paths are
disabled or dead, respectively.
In Manage Paths dialog box, you can select the path selection policy based on the multipathing
plug-in you are using. This example is using the NMP, so the choices are Most Recently Used,
Round Robin, and Fixed. When the Most Recently Used path is selected, the ESXi host uses the
most recent path to the disk until this path becomes unavailable. This means that the ESXi host
does not automatically revert to the preferred path. Most Recently Used path is the default
policy for activepassive storage devices and is required for those devices.

When the Round Robin path is selected, the ESXi host uses an automatic path selection,
rotating through all available paths. In addition to path failover, the Round Robin path supports
load-balancing across the paths.

When the Fixed path is selected, the ESXi host always uses the preferred path to the disk, when
that path is available. If it cannot access the disk through the preferred path, it tries the
alternative paths. Fixed path is the default policy for activeactive storage devices.

Storage I/O Control provides I/O prioritization of virtual machines running on a cluster of ESXi
servers that access a shared storage pool. It extends the familiar constructs of shares and limits
that have existed for CPU and memory to address storage utilization through a dynamic
allocation of I/O queue
slots across a cluster of ESXi servers.
When a certain latency threshold is exceeded for a given block-based storage device, SIOC
balances the available queue slots across a collection of ESXi servers. It then aligns the
importance of certain workloads with the distribution of available throughput. SIOC can also
reduce the I/O queue slots given to virtual machines with low number of shares, to provide
more I/O queue slots to a virtual machine with a higher number of shares.

SIOC throttles back I/O activity for certain virtual machines in the interest of other virtual
machines to get a fairer distribution of I/O throughput and an improved service level. In the
graphic, two business-critical virtual machines, online store and MS Exchange, are provided
more I/O slots than the less important
data mining virtual machine.
SIOC was enhanced in vSphere
5.0 to include support for NFS datastores.

SIOC is supported on FC, iSCSI, and NFS storage. However, it does not support RDM or
datastores with multiple extents.
In vSphere 5.0, SIOC is enabled by default on the Storage DRS-enabled datastore clusters.

On the left side of the slide, you will notice that there are two critical virtual machines, the
Online Store and Microsoft Exchange. These virtual machine requires higher datastore access
priority. Without Storage I/O Control enabled, these two virtual machines may not get the
access priority that they need. However, other virtual machines, such as the Data Mining and
Print Server virtual machines may consume more Storage I/O resource than what they really
On the right side of the slide you will see, with Storage I/O Control enabled, the Storage I/O
resources can be prioritized to those virtual machine that require more datastore access

VAAI is a set of protocol interfaces between ESXi, storage arrays, and new application
programming interfaces in the VMkernel. VAAI helps storage vendors provide hardware
assistance to speed up VMware I/O operations that are more efficiently accomplished in the
storage hardware. VAAI plugins improve the performance of data transfer and are transparent
to the end-user.

VAAI plug-ins are used by ESXi to issue a small set of primitives or fundamental operations to
storage arrays. These operations are used to perform storage functions such as cloning and
snapshots, which the storage arrays perform more efficiently than the host. In this way, ESXi
uses VAAI to improve its
storage services.

The three fundamental primitives of VAAI are Atomic Test and Set or ATS, Clone Blocks or Full
Copy or XCOPY, and Zero Blocks or Write Same.

In vSphere 5.0, all of the primitives are T10 compliant and integrated in the ESXi stack. Please
note that although all three primitives were supported in vSphere 4.1, only the Write Same
(Zero Blocks) primitive was T10 compliant. T10 compliant primitives means that T10 compliant
arrays can use these primitives immediately with a default VAAI plug-in. Additionally, the ATS
primitive has been extended in vSphere 5.0 or VMFS 5 to cover more operations, such as
acquire heartbeat, clear heartbeat, mark heartbeat, and reclaim heartbeat. This results in
better performance.

In previous versions of VAAI, ATS is used for locks when there is no resources contention. But in
the presence of contention, SCSI reservations are used. However, in vSphere 5, ATS is also used
in situations where there is contention.

New VAAI primitives fall into two categories, Hardware Acceleration for Network Attached
Storage or NAS and Hardware Acceleration for Thin Provisioning.

Storage hardware acceleration functionality enables your host to offload specific virtual
machine and storage management operations to compliant storage hardware. With the
assistance of storage hardware, the host performs these operations faster and consumes less
CPU, memory, and storage fabric bandwidth.

To implement the hardware acceleration functionality, the PSA uses a combination of special
array integration plug-ins, called VAAI plug-ins, and an array integration filter called vStorage
APIs for Array Integration or VAAI filter. The PSA automatically attaches the VAAI filter and
vendor-specific VAAI plug-ins to the storage devices that support hardware acceleration, such
as block storage devices, FC and iSCSI, and NAS devices.

Hardware acceleration is enabled by default on your host. To enable hardware acceleration on
the storage side, you must check with your storage vendor. Certain storage arrays require you
to explicitly activate the hardware acceleration support on the storage side.

When the hardware acceleration functionality is supported, the host can get hardware
assistance and perform various operations faster and more efficiently. These operations include
migration of virtual machines with Storage vMotion, deployment of virtual machines from
templates, cloning of virtual machines or templates, VMFS clustered locking and metadata
operations for virtual machine files, writes to thin provisioned and thick virtual disks, creation
of fault-tolerant virtual machines, and creation and cloning of thick disks on NFS datastores.

Hardware Acceleration for NAS is a set of APIs that enables NAS arrays to integrate with
vSphere and transparently offload certain storage operations to the array. This integration
significantly reduces CPU overhead on the host. VAAI NAS is deployed as a plug-in, which is not
shipped with ESXi 5.0. This plug-in is developed and distributed by the storage vendor, but
signed by VMwares certification program. VAAI-enabled array or device firmware is required to
use VAAI NAS features.

The new VAAI primitives for NAS provide the Reserve Space and Full File Clone operations.

The Reserve Space operation enables storage arrays to allocate space for a virtual disk file in
thick format. When you create a virtual disk on the NFS datastore, the NAS server determines
the allocation policy. The default allocation policy on most NAS servers does not guarantee
backing storage to the file. However, the Reserve Space operation can instruct the NAS device
to use vendor-specific mechanisms to reserve space for a virtual disk of non-zero logical size.

The Full File Clone operation enables hardware-assisted cloning of offline virtual disk files. It is
similar to VMFS block cloning and enables offline VMDK files to be cloned by the Filter. Offline
cloning occurs when you clone from a template, or you perform a cold migration between two
different datastores. Note that hot migration using Storage vMotion on NAS is not hardware-

The Extended file statistics enables storage arrays to accurately report space utilization for
virtual machines.

In vSphere 4.1 VAAI Phase-1, ESXi reverts to software methods, such as, DataMover method or
fail operation, if the NAS primitive fails. There is no equivalent ATS primitive because locking is
done completely in a different manner on the NAS datastores.

A private VMODL API call to create native snapshots will be used by View. At this time, it is not
clear if the native snapshot feature will be supported on VMFS-5 or not. Please note that hot
migration using Storage vMotion on NAS is not hardware accelerated.
You will now learn about the second category of new VAAI primitives, VAAI primitives for thin

Hardware Acceleration for Thin Provisioning is a set of APIs that assists in monitoring disk space
usage on thin-provisioned storage arrays. Monitoring this usage helps prevent the condition
where the disk is out of space. Monitoring usage also helps when reclaiming disk space. There
are no installation steps required for the VAAI Thin Provisioning extensions.

VAAI Thin Provisioning works on all new and existing VMFS3 and VMFS5 volumes. However,
VAAI-enabled device firmware is required to use the VAAI Thin Provisioning features. ESXi
continuously checks for VAAI-compatible firmware. After the firmware is upgraded, ESXi starts
using the VAAI Thin Provisioning features.
The thin provisioning enhancements make it convenient to use the thin provisioning feature
and reduce the complexity of storage management.

Use of thin provisioning creates two problems. The first problem is that as files are added and
removed on a datastore, dead space accumulates over time. However, the array is not
informed so the space is considered as being in use. This negates the benefit of thin
provisioning. This problem is common in virtualized environments because Storage vMotion is
used to migrate virtual machines to different datastores. The second problem is that storage
over-subscription can lead to out-of-space conditions. An out-of-space condition is catastrophic
to all virtual machines running on the Logical Unit Number or LUN.

VAAI Thin Provisioning solves the problems of dead space and the out-of-space condition. VAAI
Thin Provisioning has a feature called Reclaim Dead Space. This feature informs the array about
the datastore space that is freed when files are deleted or removed by Storage vMotion from
the datastore. The array can then reclaim these free blocks of space. VAAI Thin Provisioning
also has a Monitor Space Usage feature. This feature monitors space usage on thin-provisioned
LUNs and tries to helps administrators avoid running out of physical disk space. vSphere 5.0
also includes a new advanced warning for the out-of-space condition on thin-provisioned LUNs.
You will now learn about VASA which is a new feature in vSphere 5.0.

vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness or VASA is used by the VASA providers to provide
information about their storage arrays to vCenter Server. The vCenter Server instance gets
information from storage arrays by using plug-ins called VASA provider. The storage array
informs the VASA providers of its configuration, capabilities, storage health, and events. The
VASA provider, in turn, informs vCenter Server. This information can then be displayed in
vSphere Client.

When VASA provider components are used, vCenter Server can integrate with external storage,
both block storage and NFS. This helps you obtain comprehensive and meaningful information
about resources and storage data. This also helps you choose the right storage in terms of
space, performance, and Service-Level Agreement or SLA requirements.

Profile-Driven Storage enables you to have a greater control over your storage resources. It also
enables virtual machine storage provisioning to become independent of the specific storage
available in the environment. You can define virtual machine placement rules in terms of the
storage characteristics and monitor a virtual machine's storage placement based on user-
defined rules.

Profile-Driven Storage uses VASA to deliver the storage characterization supplied by the storage
vendors. VASA improves visibility into the physical storage infrastructure through vCenter
Server. It also enables the vSphere administrator to tag storage based on customer-specific
descriptions. This new API allows VASA-enabled arrays to expose storage architecture details to
vSphere Server. Instead of only seeing a block or file device with some amount of capacity,
VASA allows vCenter to know about replication, RAID, compression, deduplication, and other
system capabilities provided by storage array vendors like EMC and NetApp. With this new
information, VMware administrators can create storage profiles that map to volumes. Virtual
machines can then be assigned storage by policy and not just the availability of space. The
storage characterizations are used to create the virtual machine placement rules in the form of
storage profiles. Profile-Driven Storage also provides an easy way to check a virtual machine's
compliance against the rules.

Using Storage vMotion, you can migrate a virtual machine and its files from one datastore to
another, while the virtual machine is running. The virtual machine stays on the same host and
the virtual machine files are individually moved to a different datastore location. You can
choose to place the virtual machine and all its files in a single location or select separate
locations for the virtual machine configuration file and each virtual disk.

You can migrate a virtual machine from one physical storage type like FC to different storage
type like iSCSI. Storage vMotion supports FC, iSCSI, and NAS network storage.
The Storage vMotion migration process does not disturb the virtual machine. There is no
downtime and the migration is transparent to the guest operating system and the application
running on the virtual machine.

Storage vMotion is enhanced in vSphere 5.0 to support migration of virtual machine disks with

Storage vMotion has a number of uses in virtual datacenter administration. For example, during
an upgrade of VMFS datastore from one version to the next, the vCenter Server administrator
can migrate the virtual machines that are running on a VMFS3 datastore to a VMFS5 datastore
and then upgrade the VMFS3 datastore without any impact on virtual machines. The
administrator can then use Storage vMotion to migrate virtual machines back to the original
datastore without any virtual machine downtime.

Additionally, when performing storage maintenance, reconfiguration, or retirement, the
vCenter Server administrators can use Storage vMotion to move virtual machines off a storage
device to allow maintenance, reconfiguration, or retirement of the storage device without
virtual machine downtime.

Another use is for redistributing storage load. The vCenter Server administrator can use Storage
vMotion to redistribute virtual machines or virtual disks to different storage volumes in order to
balance the capacity and improve performance.

And finally, for meeting SLA requirements, the vCenter Server administrators can migrate
virtual machines to tiered storage with different service levels to address the changing business
requirements for those virtual machines.

To ensure successful migration with Storage vMotion, a virtual machine and its host must meet
resource and configuration requirements for virtual machine disks to be migrated. There are
certain requirements and limitations of Storage vMotion.

The virtual machine disks must be in persistent mode or RDMs. For virtual compatibility mode
RDMs, you can migrate the mapping file or convert it into thick-provisioned or thin-provisioned
disks during migration, as long as the destination is not an NFS datastore. If you convert the
mapping file, a new virtual disk is created and the contents of the mapped LUN are copied to
this disk. For physical compatibility mode RDMs, you can migrate the mapping file only.

Another limitation is that migration of virtual machines during VMware Tools installation is not
supported. Additionally, the host on which the virtual machine is running must have a license
that includes Storage vMotion. ESX and ESXi 3.5 hosts must be licensed and configured for
vMotion. ESX and ESXi 4.0 and later hosts do not require vMotion to be configured in order to
perform migrations with Storage vMotion.

The host on which the virtual machine is running must have access to both the source and
target datastores. And finally, the number of simultaneous migrations with Storage vMotion is

In vSphere 5.0, Storage vMotion uses a new mirroring architecture that guarantees migration
success even when facing a slower destination. It also guarantees a more predictable and
shorter migration time.

Mirror mode works in a following manner.
The virtual machine directory is copied from the source datastore to the destination datastore.
The mirror mode driver takes a single pass and copies the virtual disk files from the source to
the destination. The mirror mode driver keeps track of which blocks have been copied to the
destination disk. If a write occurs to a disk block on the source that has already been copied to
the destination, the mirror mode driver copies the modified block to the destination. The
virtual machine on the destination datastore is started using the copied files. The destination
virtual machine waits for all virtual machine disk files to finish being copied from the source
datastore to the destination datastore. After the single-pass copy is complete, Storage vMotion
transfers control to the virtual machine on the destination datastore. Finally, the virtual
machine directory and the virtual machines disk files are deleted from the source datastore.

vSphere 5.0 introduces a new storage feature called Storage DRS. This feature helps you to
manage multiple datastores as a single resource, called a datastore cluster. A datastore cluster
is a group of datastores grouped together but functioning separately. It serves as a container or
folder where users
can store their datastores.

Storage DRS collects resource usage information for the datastore cluster it has enabled. It then
makes recommendations about the initial virtual machine or VMDK placement and migration to
avoid I/O and space utilization bottlenecks on the datastores in the cluster.

Storage DRS can be configured to work in either manual mode or fully automated mode. In
manual mode, it provides recommendations for the placement or migration of the virtual
machines. When you apply Storage DRS recommendations, vCenter Server uses Storage
vMotion to migrate the virtual machine disks to other datastores in the datastore cluster to
balance the resources. In fully automated mode, Storage DRS automatically handles the initial
placement and migrations, based on runtime rules.
Storage DRS also includes affinity or anti-affinity rules to govern the virtual disk location.

This concludes the Working with VMware vSphere vStorage module.
In summary:
- vStorage provides control over
space optimization by enabling
vCenter Server administrators
to thin provision, grow volume,
add extent, and increase
virtual disks size.
- vCenter Server administrators
can monitor space utilization
by setting up alarms that
send notification when a
certain threshold has
reached. They can also
analyze reports and
charts that graphically represent
statistical data for various
devices and entities and gives
real-time data on the utilization.
- vStorage provides NMP to avoid
I/O bottlenecks and the PSA
that enables third-party software
developers to design their own
load balancing techniques and
failover mechanisms for
particular storage array types.
- vSphere 5.0 introduces a new
storage feature called Storage
DRS that helps to manage
multiple datastores as a
single resource, called a
datastore cluster.
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