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VMware Cloud Native Storage User Guide

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Overview of VMware Cloud Native Storage

Put simply, Cloud Native Storage (CNS) is where the vSphere storage management layer integrates with containers, the hypervisor and underlying storage array(s).  VMware has a long and successful history providing robust data management and enterprise-grade features for virtual machines.  Extending those capabilities to the container world is a natural extension and being able to provide a single ecosystem for running virtual machines and containers side-by-side with all of those features is a key differentiator.  A key wrinkle that containers introduce relative to traditional virtual machines is that they and the resources that they use are transient by default.  Historically a data volume has primarily been assigned to a single virtual machine; in a container-based world, that same data volume can potentially be used by many different containers during its lifecycle.  Thus, the chief responsibility of CNS is ensuring data resiliency, mobility and correctly pairing persistent data with the right applications on demand.

Kubernetes continues to experience robust customer growth, enhanced functionality and become more mainstream within enterprise environments.  As such, it should come as no surprise that VMware has been steadily working on a few different offerings within their ecosystem to expand their value proposition beyond virtual machines and into the world of containers and all of the inherent benefits that they bring.  Despite the rapid growth and maturation around it - in many ways Kubernetes still feels like the 'wild west' thanks to the plethora of container, image, disaster recovery and other solutions that continuously crop up in the market.  This user guide will focus on using VMware vSphere and the underlying Cloud Native Storage (CNS) driver to explore and recommend best practices for using containers alongside of virtual machines on top of ESXi with the FlashArray as a storage layer.  Furthermore, instruction and best practices around the setup, supported scenarios, replication and lifecycle management of persistent volumes for Kubernetes will be covered in detail. 

Due to the constant changing nature of the Kubernetes ecosystem, this guide is meant to be iterative and will be updated often as new functions and features are released.  

Table of Contents

  1. Setting up Cloud Native Storage (CNS)
    1. Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) with VMFS
    2. Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) with vVols
    3. Enabling vSphere Workload Management
    4. Installing Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG)
    5. Installing Cloud Native Storage with Rancher
  2. Using Pure Storage with Cloud Native Storage Driver (COMING SOON)
    1. VMFS 
      1. Supported Functionalities
      2. Dynamic vs. Static
      3. Storage Classes
      4. First Class Disks (FCDs)
      5. Persistent Volumes and Persistent Volume Claims
        1. Expanding PVCs
        2. Reclaim
        3. Retain
        4. Delete
    2. vVols Provisioning
      1. Supported Functionalities
      2. Dynamic vs. Static
      3. Storage Classes
      4. First Class Disks (FCDs)
      5. Persistent Volumes and Persistent Volume Claims
        1. Expanding PVCs
        2. Reclaim
        3. Retain
        4. Delete
  3. CNS Snapshot Management (COMING SOON)
    1. Import pre-existing volume or snapshot
    2. Snapshot workflow recovery
    3. CloudSnap
  4. ActiveCluster
  5. CBS