VMware Distributed Storage and VDI

In today’s market we are seeing a clear change in storage architectures and the drivers for change are new technologies such as SSD/Flash and new applications, which have different requirements from the storage subsystem. Some of the storage architectures that we are seeing in the market are the traditional ones such as SAN/NAS, gateways to cloud storage, scale out storage, BLOB storage and DAS with flash drives.

During the first VMWorld’s keynote Steve Herrod’s announced the virtualization of a next set of datacenter components, including networking and storage. In specific he mentioned something called VMware Distributed Storage, or vSAN. I would like to comment on the vSAN initiative in the VDI and DaaS context.

VMware Distributed Storage architecture is beneficial to virtual desktop environments because it provides both the performance and capacity that is required by VDI workloads. This is a layer of software in the vSphere stack that aggregates locally attached storage and provides a datastore for consumption. It is based on a RAIN architecture, which insures no SPOF and enough throughput is available for a high bandwidth environments. It requires SSD’s as well as spinning disks in the vSphere servers and the SSD layer is treated as a Read/Write caching layer with data being protected at the spindle level.

The solution is very tightly integrated with snapshots, replication and thin provisioning capabilities of vSphere and also integrated with vMotion, HA, DRS. The management is provided in vCenter and VMware View can use the datastores for storing desktops. Another important piece of this technology is the ability to configure storage management policies – it is possible to set policies based on SLA requirements. For example – You can say that the latency that you desire is a maximum of 8ms and that you do not want replication, as an example.


If you are at VMWorld and want to learn more about this technology I recommend you attending EUC1305- What’s New and What’s next for VMware View with my colleague Narasimha Krishnakumar.


This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.

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