VMware VMFS-3: Interoperability Reality

Just came across this interesting blog from Jason Perlow

He Says:

The VMWare Cluster Locking File System, version 3 (VMFS-3) Is one of the core technologies used in VMWare ESX/vSphere 4 virtual infrastructure environments. Unfortunately, it’s also a completely proprietary black box that makes interoperability nearly impossible.”

I had a customer which had to perform a business continuity recovery exercise over a 48 hour period which required my assistance as the VMWare lead, working round the clock shifts in a cold datacenter, sleep deprived, bugged-out on fluorescent lighting and hopped up on dispenser machine coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins and MSG-laced snack foods.

He further says..

“For those not familiar, the ESX hypervisor itself can talk to local VMFS-3 storage, or to iSCSI or fiber SAN-attached VMFS-3 storage. It can also talk to remote NFS storage through its vmkernel interface over the network. However, It CANNOT talk to the USB ports on the hardware the ESX server itself is running on, nor can it locally mount any other file system other than its own VMFS, or files mounted on the CD-ROM or DVD drive.

So if someone provides you with a disk that contains copies of your VMWare virtual machines, how do you transfer it? Well, in our case, since we didn’t have replicated VMFS-3 LUNs that we could just connect to as a regular VMWare ESX datastore using the SAN, we had to connect the eSATA drives to a PCI eSATA adapter that was hooked up to a Red Hat Linux server, exported the storage as NFS, and used the vmkernel NFS interface on ESX to copy over the files over the gigabit LAN using the Windows-based VMWare Infrastructure Client.”

Read the complete Post Here


Well said Jason, Virtualization is there to make things simpler and easy to both IT and Business, Its should not be a rocket science, it should be considered as just another piece of great technology as any other technologies that we use in our daily lives to make things easier and simpler instead of making me work round the clock in that super cold server room.

For all you who have haven’t yet….. Rely on HYPER V , and sleep well at nights :)