VMware Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and NetApp ONTAP

Below are some links to get your started with VVOLs and NetApp ONTAP.
TR-4400 is probably the best starter resource, just it is a little old.
Usually, when looking for useful collateral I’ll start with these 3 sites:
1) NetApp Field Portal (NetApp Partners & Employees): https://fieldportal.netapp.com/
2) NetApp Insight 2020 content: https://insightdigital.netapp.com/content-library or Panopto link (for NetApp Partners & Employees)
3) Lab on Demand (mostly NetApp Partners & Employess): https://labondemand.netapp.com/ (also, since there is a big VMware element here, I'd check out https://labs.hol.vmware.com/)
Image: VM - Data Path - Protocol Endpoint - VVOL - Storage Container (enabled by VASA Provider and vCenter)

Image: A Couple of Protocol Endpoint LUNs Created by the NetApp VSC Provisioning a VVOL Datastore for SAN consisting of 2 flexvols

Image: Example of deployed files for a VM with one 16GB disk deployed with a VVOL on SAN VM Storage Policy (click to enlarge)

VVOLs on ONTAP: Starter Resources
Note: As I write this, 9.7.1P1 is the latest version of the Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere.
Image: ONTAP VASA Provider architecture

TR-4400: VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes with ONTAP

[YouTube] Provisioning a vVols Datastore with the Unified VSC

LoD: Virtual Storage Console 9.6 for VMware vSphere 6.7 v1.2

https://labs.hol.vmware.com/HOL-2105-02-HCI - Virtual Volumes (vVols) and Storage Policy Based Management (Not ONTAP but still useful)

Insight 2020: BRK-1262-2 VVOLs Disaster Recovery with ONTAP Tools and VMware SRM 8.3
TR-4597: VMware vSphere with ONTAP
Insight 2020: BRK-1260-2 Best Practices for VMware vSphere and NetApp ONTAP

LoD: Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere 6.7 v1.1-(VSC&VVOL)

LoD: Early Adopter Lab for SnapCenter with VMware vCenters in Enhanced Linked Mode v1.0

VVOLs on ONTAP: Further Resources
Docs & Knowledgebase > GPS (Guided Problem Solving) > Management Software > Virtual Storage Console for VMware
Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere: Download:
Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere: Resources:
Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere 9.7: Documentation:
Configuring vVols datastores:

Virtual Storage Console for VMware vSphere: Knowledge Base:

VVOLs: Other References (Not ONTAP Specific)

Cormac Hogan: VVols (Virtual Volumes) posts:

Virtual Volumes and Storage Policy-Based Management for Databases:

VVOLs on ONTAP: Notes

Note: These notes are mostly from TR-4400 which last time I checked was a little old (says July 2018).

  • The VASA Provider requires the ONTAP FlexClone license.
  • The appliance has a built-in watchdog to ensure availability, and it can optionally be configured with the VMware High Availability or Fault Tolerance feature.
  • If the VASA Provider is not available, VMs using VVOLs will continue to run, however, new VVOL datastores and VVOLs cannot be created (VMs using VVOLs cannot be powered on)
  • The appliance should not be on VVOL storage.
  • For dashboard information ... the VASA Provider requires a dedicated installation of OnCommand API Services, and it cannot be shared with multiple VASA Provider instances.
  • Section 2.2 of TR-4400 lists ‘Best Practices
    1. Use the VASA provider for ONTAP to provision VVOL datastores and protocol endpoints.
    2. Evaluate the optimal number of FlexVol volumes for your environment.
    3. Keep Storage Capability Profiles simple.
    4. Consider using Max IOPS to control unknown or test VMs.
  • Using ONTAP VVOLs with vSphere is easy and follows published vSphere methods (see “Working with Virtual Volumes” under “vSphere Storage” in the VMware documentation for the ESXi Server).
  • VMware-managed snapshots are offloaded to space-efficient and fast ONTAP file or LUN clones.
  • One LIF per node for each switch/fabric connection.
  • Add the ONTAP cluster to the Virtual Storage Console under Storage Systems.
  • VVOLs can be protected using Commvault or Veeam. Using: VMware vSphere Storage APIs – Data Protection (formerly known as VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection or VADP)
  • [2018-05] Two major benefits in using VVOLs with ONTAP (not as compelling with NFS, more so with SAN):
    • Policy-based management to speed VM provisioning and avoid mistakes
    • VM granular management on SAN (performance, QoS, etc)
  • It is a good practice to include multiple FlexVols in a VVOL datastore. Because FlexVols have LUN count restrictions that limit the number of virtual machines, having multiple FlexVols can increase performance (source)
  • Using standard hypervisor-based cloning on a standard datastore, the hypervisor and vCenter take on the overhead for the cloning operation. When cloning on a VVOL backed by NetApp storage, the entire clone creation operation is offloaded to the storage.
  • When a VM is on a VVOL backed by NetApp storage, a VM Snapshot operation in vCenter performs a backup using VMware vCenter, but it is different from a traditional VMware-based snapshot. Using VAAI, the task previously performed by the ESX host is now offloaded to the storage.
  • Steps to Provisioning a VVOL VM (source):
    1. Create a storage capability profile (SCP).
    2. Create a vVols datastore and associate the SCP to the datastore.
    3. Verify the datastore configurations.
    4. Create VM storage policies.
    5. Configure a virtual machine with VM storage policies.
  • New for 2020: VVOLs replication - supported beginning with VP 9.7.1, ONTAP 9.5 and SRM 8.3.
  • No support for VVOLs on NFS v4.1.
  • Virtual Storage Console for VMware renamed to ONTAP Tools for VMware vSphere starting with the 9.8 version.
  • As of ONTAP 9.7, VVOLs are not supported with NVMe-oF ONTAP with vSphere! (VMware itself does not currently support VVOLs with NVMe-oF, see: Requirements and Limitations of VMware NVMe Storage)
  • VMware's vSphere External Storage Evolution/Outlook is to VVOLs (VVOL-NVMe for block, VVOL-NFS for NAS)