I’m now into my 2nd week at Tintri and have been blown away by the capabilities of the VMstore. As mentioned in my previous blog post, everything Tintri does it at the VM object level (VM and vDisk).
So, what can Tintri do at a VM/vDisk level?
Firstly you get VM granular snapshots. Other storage vendors may lay claim to this, however behind the smoke and mirrors their snapshots still happen at a Volume or LUN level. What you end up with is a snapshot that contains all your VM’s on a given datastore irrespective of the fact that you only want to snap one.
Secondly, you get VM granular replication. This is a big deal.
Thirdly, VM granular Clones.
Other areas include VM level QoS & analytics/reporting. I briefly covered these off in my last post, but I would like to go into each of these in more detail soon.
Snapshots preserve the state and data of a VM at a specific point in time allowing VMs to be easily rolled back or replicated. However, as I’ve already mentioned, traditional storage architectures provide snapshots of storage objects, such as LUNs and volumes, rather than VMs. These snapshots can lead to inefficient storage utilisation as tens-to-hundreds of VMs with varying change rates are snapshotted at once. Snapshot schedules can only be set at a LUN or a volume level, leading to such practices as creating one LUN per VM as a workaround to create individualised snapshot VM schedules.
Tintri VMstore delivers unique, space-efficient snapshot capability that consumes virtually zero disk space and can restore VMs within minutes or even seconds. In addition, granular VM snapshots allow administrators to create snapshots of individual VMs and quickly recover data or entire VMs from snapshots. Tintri VMstore supports 128 snapshots per VM for longer-term retention. Data protection management is also simplified with the use of default or custom schedules for VM-consistent or crash-consistent snapshots that protect individual VM automatically without administrator intervention.
Crash consistent snapshots do not take extra measures with the hypervisor or guest VM to coordinate snapshots. Thanks to integration with native hypervisor management tools, such as VMware vCenter integration, Tinter provides VM-consistent snapshots for simpler application recovery. With VM-consistent snapshots, hypervisor management APIs are invoked to quiesce the application in a VM for a VM-consistent snapshot. Unlike storage-centric snapshot technologies in traditional shared storage systems, Tintri SnapVM makes recovery workflows remarkably easy. Files from individual VMs can be recovered without additional management overhead, dramatically reducing the time to recovery.
Scheduling and creating snapshots is very easy. Simply right-click on the VM and choose the Protect option. From here it takes you to the following UI:
On the above screenshot we have Tintri ReplicateVM configured so the VM snapshot can be replicated to a secondary VMstore. We can also specify a different retention period for the snapshot at the remote site.
Tintri ReplicateVM capability supports efficient replication of VMs from a primary to a second VMstore. Tintri ReplicateVM is based on Tintri snapshot technology, allowing either a new or existing snapshot to be replicated automatically.
Like SnapVM, ReplicateVM enables administrators to apply protection policies to individual VMs, rather than to units of storage such as volumes or LUNs. It allows administrators to easily establish, as-needed, a snapshot and replication policy for individual or set of VMs.
ReplicateVM works by replicating de-duplicated and compressed snapshots of VMs from one Tintri VMstore to another, only sending across the network actual changed blocks or missing data. As a result, VM replication is highly WAN-efficient with up to 95 percent reduction in bandwidth utilisation. It also enables remote cloning, making distribution of golden images for workloads such as VDI with multisite high availability (HA) efficient and simple. ReplicateVM supports different topologies including one to-one, many-to-one and bi-directional replication.
Replication can be dedicated to specific network interfaces, and optionally throttled to limit the rate of replication when replicating snapshots between Tintri VMstore appliances located in datacenters connected over wide-area networks (WANs)
A few traditional storage systems can provide cloning capabilities sharing data blocks between the source/parent and the clone. Unfortunately these clones are done at the LUN or volume level, which can vastly complicate VM deployment, cloning and management operations. Tintri CloneVM™ enables space-efficient cloning operations at the individual VM level. This eliminates the limitations of traditional storage architectures that necessitate complex provisioning and management.
VMstore builds on snapshots to support individual VM cloning capability, either by taking a new snapshot or by cloning an existing snapshot. Hundreds of clones can be created virtually in an instant, all of which are space efficient and full-performance. Cloned VMs can be quickly accessed, powered on and put into service, enabling more efficient use cases such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), development and test, business intelligence and database testing.
New VMs created via cloning exist and function independently from the parent VMs from which they are created. Behind the scenes, new VMs share common vdisk references with parent VM snapshots to maximise space and performance efficiencies. The extent to which they individually grow and diverge from the data they share with their respective parents defines their incremental storage space requirements. Tintri’s patented use of flash assures that clones are 100 percent performance-efficient. They get the same level of performance as any other VM stored on a Tintri VMstore system.
Using the Tintri UI, hundreds of clone VMs can be created at a time. The cloned VMs are dynamically registered and visible to the hypervisor for immediate use. Administrators can also select customisable specifications defined in vCenter for preparing newly created clone VMs using the vCenter sysprep functionality. Further, clones can also be created from golden image VMs for use cases such as test and development and VDI.