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Getting the most out of VMware environments with IBM Storage FlashSystem

By Sally Neate posted 30 days ago


This week, IBM Storage is at VMware Explore Barcelona. It’s a great opportunity to share the enhancements we’ve been developing in Storage Virtualize with our VMware users, including brand new functionality coming in our forthcoming 8.6.2 release. Over a series of blog posts, we’ll be exploring a number of VMware-related topics, to look a little deeper at how Storage Virtualize software works to integrate with VMware and enable all the value IBM Storage FlashSystem brings to virtualized environments.

VMware and Storage Virtualize have a long history of synergy. Throughout 2023, we’ve been celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first release of IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC), the world’s first storage virtualization appliance capable of managing data spread across multiple storage devices, using the same software stack that powers IBM FlashSystem today.

This initial release was only months after VMware’s launch of ESX Server, another revolutionary advancement that brought virtualization to x86 servers, enabling multiple VM servers with different operating systems to run on a single piece of hardware - technology previously available only on mainframe. SVC version 1 picked up ESX 2.1, and we’ve worked in tandem ever since.

Both technologies were born out of the same drive to use the power of virtualization software to solve fundamental IT challenges that persist today. How do I get the most value from my resources? How can I simplify managing IT infrastructure and accelerate time to deploy? How can I automate and maximise operational resilience?

Today, as a Principal Technical Alliance Partner (TAP), IBM continues to work with VMware to leverage each other’s technology and ensure that, together, we provide industry-leading solutions to meet our users’ needs.

VMware capabilities for FlashSystem include:

Integration with the vSphere client courtesy of the IBM Storage Virtualize Plugin for vSphere

Our vSphere plugin automates both storage and VM-level operations in simple workflows to make it incredibly easy to perform everyday storage-related tasks from within the vSphere client, such as provisioning datastores and taking snapshots. With our forthcoming 1.2 release, we’ll be adding support for FlashSystem policies, meaning that with a single click it will be possible to schedule snapshots or SafeGuarded copies, or replicate a volume with high-performance Policy Based Replication. Head over to the IBM FlashSystem site to check out some demo videos of the plugin in action.

Support for VMware Virtual Volumes (vVol) with the FlashSystem embedded VASA provider

vVol helps VMware users take a more VM-centric approach to storage management, allowing for better granularity of performance monitoring, faster snapshot performance and improved scalability. The FlashSystem embedded VASA provider enables quick vVol setup to empower VM admins to provision storage with a single click.

Data resiliency with Policy-Based replication and SRM integration for VMFS and vVol

FlashSystem integrates with VMware Site Recovery Manager to provide high-performance replication capabilities for VMware environments. Using the IBM Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) with Policy-Based Replication on FlashSystem, it’s simple to replicate VMFS datastores across two sites while achieving sub-second RPOs.

Storage Virtualize 8.6.2, coming later this year, introduces support for vVol replication, meaning however you manage your VMware datastores with FlashSystem, you’ll be guaranteed to have the utmost data resilience.

VMware Aria (formerly vRealize suite) vROps support

The IBM Storage Management Pack for True Visibility suite enables performance monitoring and predictive analytics on IBM FlashSystem within the vRealize Operations user interface.

Containerized workload support with VMware Tanzu

FlashSystem is certified for Kubernetes persistent volume storage in vSphere, managing and protecting data for VMware Tanzu containerized workloads. Check out this blog post for more info on how to provision storage with FlashSystem for Tanzu.

Check back soon as we take a closer look at these integrations, and don't forget to bookmark our latest FlashSystem VMware Redbook for technical details on implementation and best practices.