VMware has announced vSphere 7 Update 1, introducing VMware vSphere with VMware Tanzu

vSphere 7.0 Update 1 brings a new possibility to run containers and Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) without the need to go via VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). This means that admins will be able to set up and use Kubernetes and containers within their organizations just with vSphere. The good news is that NSX or vSAN are not required so admins don’t need to revamp completely their infrastructure to accommodate the vSphere container workload platform and they can use any block storage and more specifically vVols.

What makes vSphere 7U1 one of the most anticipated releases of vSphere to date is the fact that customers can quickly modernize the 70 million+ workloads running on vSphere today. vSphere with Tanzu is the fastest way to get started with Kubernetes workloads on a developer-ready infrastructure

One of the new features that was added in vSphere 7.0 is the ability to provision Virtual Volumes (vVols) to back Kubernetes Persistent Volumes (PVs) via the updated version of the vSphere (CNS Container Storage Interface ) driver.

VMware’s Virtual Volume was introduced in vSphere 6.0, this is a storage technology that provides policy-based, granular storage configuration and control of virtual machines (VMs). Through API-based interaction with an underlying array, vVol benefits include Virtual Disk Granularity, Automatic Provisioning, Array-level VM Visibility, Storage Policy Based Management, and more.

Starting from PowerMax version 9.2, the array comes (when ordered) with embedded VASA already installed and configured, there is nothing to configure or deploy for VASA 3.

In latest PowerMax patch – Embedded VASA, is now available for post-install implementation on PowerMax arrays if it wasn’t requested when ordered, as you can there are two instances of the VASA 3 Provider for high availability.

Both providers are registered in the vCenter with one recognized as primary and one as standby.

PowerMax vVols leverage Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) to ensure VMs have the appropriate storage capabilities through their entire life cycle. VM storage policies can be optionally created after the storage provider is registered. These policies are used to determine the desired storage capabilities when a PV is being provisioned. For instance, on PowerMax we can set the Service Level (QoS) for each vVOL.

vVol datatores can be added to the vSphere Kubernetes namespace as SPBM policies by clicking on the edit storage button, This allows customers to create the TKG persistent volumes on the DELL EMC PowerMax VVOL datasture

As you can see in the example below, the PowerMax storage class in this manifest file of a TKG cluster is used for both the control plane and worker nodes.

Inside the guest Tanzu Kubernetes clusters, customer can create pods and statefulset and use the same VVOL storage policy to storage their persistent data.

By navigating to the PowerMax UI and navigating on the VMware tab, we can get a list of all the VMs running on this host

By selecting one of the TKG VMs , You can see that we have multiple vVols, and each of them represents a single persistent volume of the Tanzu pods

Persistent storage is presented through the VMware CSI driver, called CNS (Cloud Native Storage). CNS uses existing storage options for storage provisioning, in a new way. First it is based on Storage Policies as we saw before and furthermore, it uses first class disks instead of standard disks

FCD are just virtual disks, but in the API they are 1st class objects–they can be created and exist independently of a VM. Which makes sense for something a container.

FCDs can be created, snapshotted, resized, etc just like a virtual disk but without a VM to own it, this is exactly what Kubernetes persistent volume claim is

One of the main advantages of running K8s on top of vSphere is the insight we receive via CNS. Rather than having to keep switching between array views and datastore content views, we can view all the information relevant to Persistent Volumes consuming vSphere storage in one place.

Under the container volumes view, we can see very useful information about the persistent volumes managed by the CNS driver.

DELL EMC PowerMax vVols integration is a key component of this solution, as it offers full flexibility, and granularity that may be required by your containerized application. You can define multiple VM storage profiles which can be assigned to a different storage class within Kubernetes to really fit your needs!

Below, you can see a demo how it all looks

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