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Is anyone here using vVols in their XenDesktop/XenApp environment?


Robert Blissitt

Question

After finding very little online, I learned from Citrix Support last week that they don't support VMware Virtual Volumes (vVols).  Snapshots of general-use VMs seem to be tolerated and accelerated better on vVols than on traditional storage, so it seems like they would be a good fit for all the snapshots created by MCS in our environment.

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Ciao Silvio,

That's the same article I found, and it's the example I supplied in my ticket with Citrix.  It only mentions Nimble storage and it's two years old, so I hoped vVols would be supported by Citrix by now, but they're not.  I'll tell you what I've seen in my environment:

 

- Putting the parent VM on vVols and the children on "regular" NFS storage seems to work without complaint with MCS.  (And I can't think of any reason it would not work.  The parent is a "regular" VM and all my regular VMs seem to work great on vVols).  The benefit in this scenario is that the parent VM gains more robust snapshots and instant snapshot deletions.  This is handy if you have snapshot "buildup" - perhaps because members of your Citrix team make multiple updates to the parent and the VMware admins are on a separate team.

 

- Putting both the parent VM and the children on vVols seems to work, but I get errors in the vCenter Recent Tasks pane (e.g. "File [test_vvol_01] rfc4122.bc23fdfb-129b-4729-b9a0-c57b89e94102/T19 VDI Catalog-baseDisk-datastore-5303_6-flat.vmdk was not found").  I see these errors perhaps when MCS cleans up the old basedisks.  It's as if the files/folders have already been deleted and MCS tries to delete them again.  The basedisks do indeed get cleaned up, but it's unsettling to see the errors.  The benefits of this scenario (if it didn't have the errors) is that cloning the parent within the same vVol would be instantaneous, at least with VAAI enabled on our NetApp.

 

-Robert

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I spoke too soon.  The basedisks do not get cleaned up, so they'd have to be cleaned up manually from the VMware side.  So the best scenario above for me is the first one.  I'll lose instant cloning unless I can get it back via some other NetApp mechanism.  I may still be able to offload the cloning work to the back-end storage, at least.

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Well, with VMware 7.0 Update 2 and NetApp's VAAI 2.0 for NFS, native snapshots are available with VAAI.  vVols are not required to get robust snapshots and near-instant snapshot deletions.  Since those two features were the main reasons for wanting vVols in our environment, I may retire vVols unless it's needed for block storage or something.

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