New Enhancements to VMware Integration for High Availability and Data Protection

With our partners at VMware, we’ve been collaborating on two new features that will help organizations achieve unparalleled data protection.

VMware Integration

Summary

Two new capabilities developed in partnership with VMware provide high availability and robust data protection: XCOPY for NVMe-oF and Virtual Volumes with vSphere metro clustering.

Summary

Two new capabilities developed in partnership with VMware provide high availability and robust data protection: XCOPY for NVMe-oF and Virtual Volumes with vSphere metro clustering.

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Today, we are happy to announce new capabilities in collaboration with VMware (acquired by Broadcom) that provide high availability and robust data protection—natively integrated into VMware vSphere. IT infrastructure teams need the highest levels of availability to support mission-critical workloads. For years, VMware has provided this caliber of data protection with traditional datastores such as VMFS and NFS. Now, through our joint engineering efforts, VMware users can mirror that standard of equally high availability storage using the Pure Storage platform with all of the feature and lifecycle benefits provided by VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols). 

“These new jointly developed capabilities will empower IT organizations relying on both VMware and Pure Storage to achieve unparalleled data protection—seamlessly integrated and delivered as a native experience on the VMware platform.” – Paul Turner, Vice President of Products, VCF Division at Broadcom.

This release includes two features that Pure Storage has been working as a design partner with VMware by Broadcom: XCOPY for NVMe-oF and Virtual Volumes with vSphere metro clustering, or what is commonly referred to as stretched clusters. Both of these features are exciting in their own ways. Let’s dig in!

Virtual Volumes Support for vSphere Metro Clustering (Stretched Clusters)

This one has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. As announced by VMware, vSphere 8 U3 provides official support for vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVols) with vSphere metro clustering, or what is commonly referred to as “stretched clusters.”

Over the years, the operational efficiencies and advantages of using vVols over VMFS have long been discussed and noted (check out this white paper). Simplification of VM provisioning, easier troubleshooting, and no compromises when using snapshots are just a few. But there was one feature that VMFS could hold over its more feature-rich vVols sibling, vSphere metro clustering.

Metro clustering provides unparalleled business continuity and operations for environments where “downtime” just isn’t an option. Utilizing synchronous data replication over short distances (think deployment over a WAN or campus network), metro clustering gives you recovery point objectives (RPO) of zero and near-zero recovery time objectives (RTO). Your RTO is how fast your virtual machine powers on from a vSphere High Availability (HA) restart.  Your RPO is how much data will be recovered.

Data Protection
Figure 1: Virtual Volumes with Stretched Cluster

XCOPY for NVMe-oF (Cross Namespace Copy)

There is little doubt about the need for VMware’s vSphere API for Array Integration, or VAAI, to offload storage operations from your ESXi hosts to your storage hardware, saving on ESXi host resources and utilization and having them perform faster as the storage array is completing the operations. 

However, if you’re using NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) as your storage protocol, there was a crucial VAAI primitive unavailable to you: Hardware Accelerated Copy (or what is referred to as XCOPY in SCSI and Cross Namespace Copy in NVMe-oF). Without Hardware Accelerated Copy offloading cloning, Storage vMotion, or template deployment to the storage array, these tasks would be completed by the ESXi host using the VMkernel software Data Mover driver.

VMware Integration

Today, that changes! On day one of the feature being supported by vSphere, Pure Storage is in lockstep with VMware to announce our support of XCOPY on our FlashArray™ platform. Take full advantage of the performance that FlashArray delivers in copy data management for databases or the spinning up of new virtual machines like you haven’t seen before with NVMe-oF. In our performance testing we have seen drastic reductions in the time needed to complete these tasks, up to a 7x decrease in the time required to complete copy data operations!

Just like with the support for Virtual Volumes with Metro Clusters, the engineering teams at Pure Storage and VMware have been working in tandem to bring XCOPY support to vVols and to bring feature parity to vVols compared to VMFS. vVols is the present and future for how VMware workloads will consume storage.
For more information on XCOPY to NVMe-of or Virtual Volumes with vSphere metro clustering, go HERE and HERE.

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