Determining a Storage Architecture

Selecting the right storage solution is the third major decision that you must make before you proceed with your vSphere deployment. The lion's share of advanced features within vSphere-features like VMotion, VMware DRS, VMware HA, and VMware FT-depend upon the presence of a shared storage architecture, making it equally as critical a decision as the choice of the server hardware upon which to run ESX/ESXi.

Fortunately, vSphere supports a number of storage architectures out of the box and has implemented a modular, plug-in architecture that will make supporting future storage technologies easier. vSphere supports Fibre Channel-based storage, iSCSI-based storage, and storage accessed via Network File System (NFS). In addition, vSphere supports the use of multiple storage protocols within a single solution so that one portion of the vSphere implementation might run over Fibre Channel, while another portion runs over NFS. This provides a great deal of flexibility in choosing your storage solution.

When determining the correct storage solution, you must consider the following questions:

• What type of storage will best integrate with my existing storage or network infrastructure?

• Do I have existing experience or expertise with some types of storage?

• Can the storage solution provide the necessary throughput to support my environment?

• Does the storage solution offer any form of advanced integration with vSphere?