If you are having trouble backing up your VMware ESX server, then the Storage Decisions conference in New York was the place to be this week. TechTarget certainly got an earful when it asked attendees about VMware-related storage problems, with users reporting hosts of support and integration problems for most of the popular storage virtualization platforms out there.
Even those using VMware's own virtual machine file system (VMFS) say they enjoy less than ideal results, getting advanced features like file-level restore but at the expense of placing a storage agent on each guest host.
Part of the problem is a lack of certification for most third-party solutions. The company recently launched a new storage virtualization certification program, reports ComputerWeekly.com, bringing in systems like IBM's San Volume Controller (SVC), which up to now required a special of ESX Server that didn't provide clustering and other features available on VMware Infrastructure 3. EMC, Hitachi, HP and NetApp are also said to be working on certification.
Other users are complaining that VMware is not friendly to N_Port ID virtualization (NPIV), a new approach that ties virtual HBAs directly to individual guest hosts.
VMware says it is working on these issues. In the meantime, some folks are successfully dealing with the problems through thin provisioning, cross-domain reporting and new troubleshooting and monitoring tools.