Posted by: Rick Vanover
Rick Vanover, Storage, VI3, VMware ESX
On October 1, VMware posted two important documentation updates related to the storage and compatibility guides for VI3 environments. The most visible indicator is that VMware has split the compatibility guides for ESX Server 3.0.X and ESX Server 3.5 including ESX Server 3i into separate guides. Both guides are available from the VMware website as a PDF. Here are links to both the ESX Server 3.0.X and ESX Server 3.5 and 3i guides.
The support matrix for storage and SAN configuration is an absolutely critical component to planning additional storage purchases or expanding current environments. Among my small circle of peers, I have been a little critical of VMware for releasing documentation that covers ESX 3 in a blanket format. This is a big step in the right direction, as the supported environments and their functionality vary by platform which was the crux of my frustration with blanket documentation.
This split in documentation is likely due to ESX 3i and Storage VMotion related supported environments. At first glance at the two guides they seem similar, but the following was taken from the 3.5 and 3i guide:
You will note that this guide is sparsely populated at present. The reason for this is that storage arrays require re-certification for ESX Server 3.5 and ESX Server3i, and while many re-certifications are in process or planned, relatively few have been fully completed to date. In contrast, servers and I/O devices do not require re-certification.
While this is somewhat of a surprise for a nearly 11-month-old product line, I still welcome the split documentation. Be sure to check these guides when making storage related infrastructure decisions, as they change frequently and based on the excerpt above should be updated. VMware’s supported configurations for storage are important to not only deliver a solution that works as expected, but to lay the framework for the virtual machine file system or VMFS, which I touched on during a prior blog post of why the proprietary drivers are important.