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Looking for a one to two sentence description of VAAI NAS Primitives

Posted on 2014-09-30
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Last Modified: 2014-10-17
Hello all,

I am trying to work out a succinct but comprehensive description (1 to 2 sentences) of the following VMware VAAI NAS primitives. It is especially difficult considering that I am not knowledgeable with this particular topic and worse, I need to explain in as simple as possible terms, for a semi-technical group (rather than VMware engineers).

Full File Clone
Fast File Clone/Native Snapshot Support
Extended Statistics
Reserve Space

As well as the short description, perhaps a few advantages/disadvantages (or caveats/limitations) of each primitive, in point form.

Thank you so much,
Doug
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Question by:sconnell
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
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Doug

this is my understanding and layman terms...

You may have to start with VAAI is short for VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration, e.g. software middleware provided by the vendor to offload storage processing from host to storage.

Full File Clone

Without VAAI enabled, the ESXi server reads all the data from the SAN, and writes all the data back to the SAN, the server is the "piggy in the middle", when enabled, Full File Clone, eliminates the "piggy in the middle" the ESXi server, and the SAN performs the copy operation and hence it's faster.

Fast File Clone/Native Snapshot Support

additional features of Full File Clone, uses advanced features of the SAN, and uses it's replication features, which will snapshot the data, so snapshots are fast, effecient, and are performed on the SAN, e.g. data does not move off the SAN to the server, the operation is performed on the backend (SAN).

Extended Statistics

Usually referred to NFS Extended Stats, and this is just simply more datastore information is now available to the ESXi server from NFS datastore. Similar information to what is available from VMware's native file system VMFS.

NFS is non VMware, so with vSphere 5.0 and later, with VAAI enable, it can obtain a better insight into the NFS file system.

e.g. it knows, the VMDK has been compressed, de-duplicated, is using 10GB of a 50GB vmdk.

Reserve Space

Quite simply prior to vSphere 5.0, you could only create THIN virtual disks (vmdks) on NFS.

With VAAI enabled, and ESXi 5.x and later, you can now create THICK virtual disks.

e.g. Eager-zeroed-thick VMDKs are used for high performing I/O requirements, and these could not be used previously on NFS.

You still need VAAI enabled, and supported array.

I understand above, there are some VMware terms I've used, which we may have to dumb down as well, but I don't know your intended audience....
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by:sconnell
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Thank you for your effort.

Actually, the simplest way to describe Fast File Clone is by stating, "Off-loads the creation of linked clones..."

Best regards,
Doug
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by:sconnell
ID: 40380537
Thank you
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I was not sure, how technical you wanted it!

Basically all VAAI features are offloaded and SAN/NAS related!

It's not limited to Link Clones.....any CLONE function, or COPY function!
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by:sconnell
ID: 40386281
Good point Andrew. Thanks again! :)
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