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Experience / Best Practices with long time VM snaps for huge VMFS stores?

We have a huge global customer from the logistics sector who is looking into offering more flexibility to app owners when doing patches and alike.

Right now they leverage VMAX with 1.2TB LUNs in their vSphere environment with dozens of VMs on top.

There is a project driving this: offering to their customers warehouses (real ones, remember logistics sector) with the portal as a service.

What is the challenge?

The end user might keep snaps for several weeks (up to 5) until they commit changes. The IT team is skeptical to leverage VMware snapshots for this, On VMAX to snap the whole LUN with a lot of VMs on top… not a good idea.

Think 1000’s of VMs, from 50 to 500GB size.

We received some really valuable input from EMC's vSpecialist and VMware Presales Minor group. We would like to share that here and give anybody else the chance to contribute to the discussion and / or get ideas for their challenges out there.

The following we discussed:

  • NFS with Isilon
    • + granularity
    • – workload and performance so far not recommended for a 100% VMware environment because of random IO
  • XtremIO
    • + performance
    • – unpredictable deduplication ration as customer WILL put anything on there – and as you see there is a lot of DATA going to hit the storage

In general our assumption at this customer is: if you can imagine a worst case scenario, this is going to happen here!

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