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HPE 3PAR StoreServ Is Ready: VMware Announces vSphere 6.5



By Eric Siebert

At VMworld 2016 Europe, VMware just announced vSphere 6.5 with VVols replication support. HPE 3PAR StoreServ stands ready.

Many of the features and enhancement that come with this version are storage related –including the much anticipated support for Virtual Volume (VVol) replication as part of the new VASA 3.0 specification built into vSphere 6.5. Some additional storage HPE Storage_VMware vSphere_ready_blog.jpgenhancements include support for automatic space reclamation (UNMAP), support for 512e drives and a new Components feature for Storage Policy Based Management.

Support for 512-byte emulation drives is another much anticipated enhancement. We’ve seen increasing demand for larger drive capacities, and the storage industry has introduced advanced formats, such as 512e, which support legacy applications and guest operating system. 512e is an advanced format in which the physical sector size is 4,096 bytes, but the logical sector size emulates 512-bytes sector size. Support for 512e allows vSphere to scale storage to much higher limits using larger capacity drives.

Support for automatic space reclamation is long overdue. Remember when VMware released vSphere 5.0 with support for storage arrays to automatically reclaim space when VMs are deleted or moved using UNMAP operations? Well, shortly thereafter, some issues occurred when a synchronous operation and VMware was forced to withdraw automatic support and instead made it a manual CLI operation. The CLI operation using vmkfstools/esxcli was very resource intensive, time-consuming, not as efficient and ended up being more of a workaround than automatic.

With vSphere 6.5, a host can automatically issue UNMAP commands on VMFS6 datastores to reclaim unused space on thin-provisioned storage arrays. Despite being automatic, it is still a resource intensive operation on the storage array so it is designed to send UNMAP commands in bursts to lessen the I/O impact. By default, it is set to Low which means UNMAP commands will be sent at a less frequent rate but it can be changed via a parameter to work at a more moderate or aggressive rate. It is great to see this feature back as HPE 3PAR StoreServ has been ready to support this since day one of the vSphere 5.0 launch and now finally users can enjoy automatic, real-time space savings.

Finally, saving the best for last, is the support for replicating VVols between storage arrays using array based replication. This key support was not part of the VASA 2.0 spec in the initial release of VVols in vSphere 6.0 and this limitation has held some customers back from deploying VMs on VVols storage, despite the many benefits that VVols provides. HPE 3PAR StoreServ is a VMware design partner for VVols and has the distinction of serving as the Fiber Channel reference platform for VMware’s development of VVols. HPE 3PAR StoreServ was one of a handful of vendors that had day-one support for the initial release of VVols back in March 2015 and we are currently finalizing our support for this next release which includes replication.


Now that vSphere 6.5 uses the VASA 3.0 spec, array based replication is supported and this missing capability allows storage vendors to leverage array replication capabilities via vSphere Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM). Another enhancement to SPBM that is directly related to replication is a feature called Components which allows something to be defined once and re-used multiple times in storage policies. This allows you to setup Replication Components that define parameters for replicating and insert them into storage policies as needed.


Since vSphere 6.5 VVols has matured and is essentially 2.0, replication support will help drive adoption of this great new storage architecture so you may experience the many benefits that it provides first hand.

Much more on the VVols topic

To learn more about the VVols architecture, benefits and new replication capabilities, check out this recent recording of my VVols session at VMworld 2016 US. In addition, partners can sign up for an upcoming vmLIVE event on 11/15/16 where Ben Meadowcroft, the product manager for VVols, and I will cover what’s new with VVols around the new replication capabilities. Visit the VMware Partner Central site for more information and to sign up.

When VMware releases vSphere 6.5, you can expect existing HPE 3PAR StoreServ arrays to be ready on day one, as usual. HPE 3PAR StoreServ will fully support the new VVols capabilities including array based replication in an upcoming release of HPE 3PAR OS.

Eric Siebert HPE .jpg

Meet Around the Storage Block blogger Eric Siebert, Worldwide Solutions Marketing Manager, HPE Storage.


Disclaimer: This document contains forward-looking statements regarding future operations, product development, product capabilities and availability dates. This information is subject to substantial uncertainties and is subject to change at any time without prior notification. Statements contained in this document concerning these matters only reflect Hewlett Packard Enterprise's predictions and/or expectations as of the date of this document and actual results and future plans of Hewlett Packard Enterprise may differ significantly as a result of, among other things, changes in product strategy resulting from technological, internal corporate, market and other changes. This is not a commitment to deliver any material, code or functionality and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions.

About the Author


I have worked at HP and now HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage.