There are a number of plugins from a variety of vendors available for vSphere. These plugins can serve many functions; Pure Storage's vSphere plugin helps customers manage their FlashArrays from the vSphere interface and automates many normal administrative functions while giving administrators granular control over who can access what through roles based access control (RBAC).
Traditionally, these plugins have been installed directly and registered to the vCenter and managed through vSphere.
Through the FlashArray web interface, storage administrators have been able to deploy the local vSphere plugin to their vCenter.
Remote Plugin Architecture
Remote plugins manage vSphere resources but are not directly installed but are registered on vCenter appliances. With Pure Storage's remote plugin, there is an Open Virtualization Appliance (OVA) that Pure maintains that allows administrators to deploy the plugin with better simplicity than the locally installed vSphere plugins. The OVA also supports deployments of Pure Storage's Virtual Machine Analytics (VMA).
The OVA is deployed in the vSphere environment as a stand-alone virtual machine and communicates with vSphere and the FlashArray(s) to perform administrative functions without the need for the administrator to manually log into the FlashArrays it is managing.
What is Changing
Starting in vSphere 8.0, VMware is deprecating local plugin support and will no longer certify local plugins on vSphere. VMware has moved to an exclusively remote plugin architecture for vSphere 8.0.
Starting in Pure Storage's vSphere plugin version 5.0.0, all new features will only be in the remote plugin.
The ability to deploy the local vSphere plugin to a vCenter will be removed from the FlashArray web interface in a future Purity version. All remote plugin versions need to be deployed from Pure Storage's OVA.
Benefits of the Remote Plugin Architecture
Deploying and upgrading Pure Storage's plugin is now much simpler.
- All deployments are streamlined by the use of a downloadable OVA instead of requiring access to an array's web interface
- Offline deployments of the plugin are much quicker with the inclusion of a supplemental file
- Upgrades are controlled through the OVA's command line interface and can greatly speed up upgrade time
- This also upgrades the OVA's underlying components, allowing for more rapid patching of bugs and vulnerabilities
VMware has outlined the benefits from a vSphere perspective with the remote plugin architecture.