As a Drobo Solutions Architect, I assist our customers in the design and sizing of their virtualization storage infrastructure. Even the smallest SMBs are dipping their toes into the virtualization waters to take advantage of its increased flexibility and simplified management.
For customers who are new to virtualization or are battling with the limitations of local hypervisor storage, moving to Drobo iSCSI SAN storage enables a number of management and high availability (HA) features in VMWare. While these features were once limited to the large enterprise due to its high licensing fees and hardware requirements, a VMWare Essentials Plus license and Drobo iSCSI SAN provide a cost-efficient way for the SMB to utilize these features.
- Host Failures – Virtual machines are not bound to a specific ESXi host. Should there be a physical server failure, the virtual machines can be easily migrated to another ESXi host with minimal downtime.
- Live Migration – Leveraging VMotion, virtual machines can be migrated between hosts to distribute load or to perform maintenance on the ESXi host. This migration is a zero downtime event that is completely transparent to users.
- Significantly Higher Storage Utilization – Leveraging thinly provisioned Drobo volumes, SAN capacity can be efficiently shared between all hosts. When iSCSI multi-pathing (MPIO) has been configured, it provides redundant connectivity to the host for high-availability in the event of a network outage.
- Ease of Expansion – Drobo instant expansion provides simple storage expansion with no downtime. If the Drobo has no available slots, drives can be upsized to larger disks, even utilizing dissimilar size disks.
- The B1200i combines both SSD and traditional HDDs enabling Data-Aware Tiering. By automatically tiering transactional data, the Drobo offers high IOPS performance without sacrificing capacity. Best of all, the SSDs can be added at any time to boost performance of an all-HDD configuration.
- Distributed Resource Scheduled (DRS) Clusters – A collection of ESXi hosts that function as a single resource automatically migrating virtual machines between ESXi hosts based on demand and utilization.
- Disaster Recovery – Using a Drobo iSCSI SAN both primary and backup storage allows for shorter recovery time objective (RTO) as virtual machines can be spun up directly from backup storage.
VMWare is designed to take advantage of shared storage to provide increased flexibility and high-availability of the virtualization infrastructure. Combining VMWare with Drobo iSCSI storage built on BeyondRAID technology provides simple, high performance and easily expandable storage with none of the limitations of traditional RAID systems.