Hypervisor-aware storage is a category of storage array that provides administrators with the ability to correlate an application on a virtual machine (VM) with the underlying physical storage.
One of the challenges of traditional storage systems in server virtualization environments has been provisioning and managing storage at the logical unit number (LUN) level. Typically, a LUN is assigned to a physical server and storage from the LUN is then assigned to a VM.
Hypervisor-aware storage provides administrators with insight into how many VMs are using that storage, how many input/output operations per second (IOPS) each VM generates and which VMs are write-intensive. They can also provide administrators with information about the capabilities of the underlying physical storage, such as its interconnect speeds and thin provisioning and deduplication capabilities. This information can be useful for storage capacity planning, automating tasks and combining automated tasks into a workflow, which is called orchestration.
Vendors are addressing the complexity of managing storage in heavily virtualized environments in different ways and may use the label “hypervisor-aware storage” to describe very different approaches. For example, one hypervisor-aware storage system vendor might change the storage architecture so administrators can provision and manage storage at the VM level, while another vendor might complement their traditional storage system with auxiliary tools and application program interfaces (APIs) to provide administrators with complete data paths and insight into the underlying physical storage.
Hypervisor-aware storage may also be called virtualization-aware or VM-aware storage.