VVOLs and Pure win VM storage beauty parade for French chain

by Jeremy

Successful examples of VMwareVirtual Volumes (VVOLs) deployment were unheard of in France, but perfume and cosmetics chain Beauty Success put them at the center of their virtualization storage upgrade. Using VVOLs and Pure Storage has gained significant performance increases – up to 3x and dodged potentially fatal bottlenecks – by moving virtual machine storage away from physical array volumes. VVOLs was launched in 2015 by VMware to address virtual machine storage issues. But it has not been particularly prominent as it contrasts starkly with the ways most array makers do things. “We were at an impasse,” said Edouard Jugie, technical lead at Beauty Success, which has more than 300 outlets across France connected to core applications by VPN at its Dordogne datacentre.

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“According to established storage practice, we had divided our disk array into several volumes of 1.5TB, which was about 20 volumes between 140 VMs. The problem with this kind of schema is that you run the risk that a VM will saturate its volume to the point it becomes unusable for all the others that access it. When that happens, no more applications from the same set can write data. Avoiding failures was becoming a nightmare. We had to keep a constant eye on performance, and at the least sign of danger, we would move a VM to a volume with more space and more bandwidth,” said Jugie.

“These are the tools – business intelligence applications, shopping portals, another to track orders, and internal logistics messaging app – that run on the VMs. They’re all as critical as each other and maintained by just nine IT staff.” Our applications are virtualized with VMware ESXi, which has functionality that can address our challenge: VVOLs. With VVOLs, it’s the virtualization system alone that optimizes storage resources to the VMs and which, above all, avoids any VM saturating the storage of others. However, the problem was that in 2019, nearly four years after VVOLs had launched, no enterprise in France had borne witness to the system’s functioning. 

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