VMware Virtual Volumes (aka VVOL) was introduced in vSphere 6.0 to allow vSphere administrators to be able to manage external storage resources (and especially the storage requirements for individual VM’s) through a policy-based mechanism (called Storage Policy Based Management – or SPBM).
VVOL in itself is not a product, but more of a framework that VMware has defined where each storage vendor can use this framework to enable SPBM for vSphere administrators by implementing the underlying components like VASA providers, Containers with its Storage Capabilities and Protocol Endpoint in their own way (a good background on VVOLs can be found in this KB article). This makes it easy for each storage vendor to get started with introducing VVOL support, but also means that it is not easy comparing different vendors with regard to this feature (“YES we support VVOL’s …” does not really say much about the way an individual vendor has implemented this feature in their storage array and how they compare to other vendors).
In this blog I want to show the way Nimble Storage (now part of HPE) has implemented VVOL support. For now I will focus on the initial integration part. In a future blog I will show how this integration can be used to address the Nimble Storage capabilities for individual VM’s through the use of storage policies.