Essential Guide

Hyper-V and vSphere storage APIs: Tailoring your virtual environment

Popular hypervisors use APIs to increase integration with storage. Use this guide to learn how Hyper-V and VMware APIs can be used to your benefit by improving storage management, backup, performance and scalability.

Introduction

When looking at the feature set released with the latest versions of vSphere and Hyper-V, it's clear the vendors understand that storage integration in virtual server environments is a top priority for IT professionals. At a time when storage technologies that work with virtual machines -- such as virtual machine-aware or hyper-converged options -- are garnering more interest, more storage vendors are supporting the application programming interfaces that allow tighter integration between virtual servers and their products.

With vSphere 5, VMware provided more application programming interfaces (APIs) aimed at improving storage management, data protection, workload balancing and cloud integration. Microsoft offers a very similar feature set with Hyper-V 3.0, which provides administrators with greater control over their use of capacity, data movement and overall performance.

Whether it's vSphere or Hyper-V, there's a lot to consider when it comes to working with these storage APIs. To help explain what these storage APIs can do, SearchVirtualStorage compiled this essential guide of expert tips and advice. Learn the functions of the most prominent storage APIs and their features, best practices for working with them and how they can be used to troubleshoot problems in your environment.

1Definitions-

Standout storage APIs: A glossary

This glossary offers an overview of some of the Hyper-V and VMware features and APIs that have garnered the most attention.

2Vetting VMware-

VMware storage APIs provide data protection, management opportunities

VSphere storage APIs can be beneficial as long as the arrays you're working with support them. VSphere 5 offered APIs that improved several different aspects of storage, such as the vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), which accelerate processes by offloading them from the hypervisor to the storage. Also new in vSphere 5 was an upgraded API for data protection, as well as the vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA), a set of APIs used to help administrators and hypervisors place data more intelligently. In the links below, you'll find detailed descriptions of VMware's most prominent storage APIs and what can be accomplished with them.

Tip

Support for VAAI speeds up processes in virtual environments

VAAI offloads storage tasks from the virtual server host to the storage array. Find out which vendors support them and how to disable them. Continue Reading

Answer

Use the vCloud API to bridge virtual servers and the cloud

The vCloud API allows service providers to develop applications to help manage both internal virtual environments and external vCloud resources. Continue Reading

Tip

VStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) provide opportunities for VARs

Learn the benefits of using VMware VADP, how it compares with VMware Consolidated Backup and the risks VADP presents to storage VARs. Continue Reading

Feature

Data protection and backup with vSphere 5.1

Get answers to frequently asked questions about VMware VADP and vSphere Data Protection before implementing backup tools. Continue Reading

Answer

How VMware vSAN works with VDPA

VSphere Data Protection Advanced is currently the primary product for backing up VMs running on VMware's vSAN. Brien Posey explains how it works. Continue Reading

Tip

VASA provides a deeper view into VMware storage

VASA improves visibility into storage arrays that support VMware environments. This tip outlines how VASA can help admins better manage their storage. Continue Reading

Podcast

API upgrades in vSphere 5: Frequently asked questions

Learn more about the new vSphere 5 storage features, how they compare to vSphere 4 and the benefits of using the vSphere Storage Appliance. Continue Reading

3Hyper-V application-

Newest Hyper-V features simplify storage management

Similar to VMware, some of Hyper-V's most beneficial features improve storage management and data placement. The Offloaded Data Transfer (ODX) feature is comparable to VMware's VAAI, as it speeds certain operations by performing them at the storage level. And Hyper-V's storage thin provisioning feature claims capacity on an as-needed basis, providing a result similar to that of VMware's VASA. These tips provide an overview and analysis of the newest storage features Hyper-V users will find in the 3.0 release and Windows Server 2012 R2.

Answer

VM storage options expand in Hyper-V 3.0

Hyper-V 3.0 simplifies virtual machine (VM) storage by eliminating the Cluster Shared Volumes (CSV) requirement and adding the option to use file servers for storage. Continue Reading

Answer

Hyper-V ODX function makes for a speedier environment

Storage expert Brien Posey explains how Hyper-V 3.0's new ODX feature performs tasks more quickly. Continue Reading

Answer

Shared-nothing live migration allows data movement without clusters

Introduced in Hyper-V 3.0, shared-nothing live migration eliminates the need for CSV, and lets VMs be live migrated without the need for shared storage between hosts. Continue Reading

Answer

Storage thin provisioning limitations remedied by auto trim feature

Learn how the automatic trim feature in Windows Server 2012 R2 frees up capacity from thinly provisioned virtual hard disks. Continue Reading

Answer

Generation 2 VMs bring new management features to Hyper-V

Generation 2 VMs, a new Hyper-V feature in Windows Server 2012 R2, work to ease storage management with dynamic resizing, cloning and more. Continue Reading

4APIs in action-

Management and troubleshooting tips for Hyper-V and VMware APIs

Now that you have a grasp on how these storage APIs and features work, explore some expert tips on the differences between the two hypervisors and the practical applications of each.

Feature

Hyper-V vs. VMware storage specifications

How do the key storage features and functionality of the two leading hypervisors compare when it comes to deploying storage? Continue Reading

Tip

Hyper-V virtual switch allows management similar to vSphere

Microsoft’s latest hypervisor features a new, extensible Hyper-V virtual switch to bring Hyper-V 3.0 networking up to par with that of vSphere. Continue Reading

Answer

VMware and Hyper-V come with comparable feature sets

Although the two hypervisors have similar feature sets, their capabilities can be different. Continue Reading

Podcast

VMware APIs could make hypervisor swap tricky

Switching from VMware's hypervisor to a commercial or open source alternative might necessitate third-party tools to replace storage features. Continue Reading

Tip

Best practices for peak performance of your Hyper-V storage

Microsoft expert Brien Posey walks through the best storage tips and features to optimize your Hyper-V environment. Continue Reading

Tip

Troubleshooting common Hyper-V errors

Learn to identify and address common Hyper-V storage problems, such as corrupt VMs, Blue Screen of Death errors and storage contention. Continue Reading

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