I did promise to pop back to QNAP's stand at VMworld Europe when I posted yesterday about them introducing VAAI across their range of storage appliances. True to my word, I popped in for a chat.

As a reminder, VAAI (vStorage APIs for Array Integration) enables ESXi hosts to offload specific virtual machine and storage management operations to compliant storage hardware – basically talking some of the storage load from the hosts and letting the storage hardware handle it.

Now whilst the functionality will be available across their range of products with release 3.8, it seems likely that they are only going to certify it on the x79 series. It will work on all of their current and past models however. The features to be implemented are:

  • Block Zeroing – used during the creation of vmdk disk files
  • Block Copy – used when deploying and cloning VMs / templates. Rather than the ESXi host copying vmdk files from the storage and re-writing them back, the copy is performed by the storage hardware.
  • Hardware accelerated locking – (aka Atomic Test & Set) used during the creation and locking of files on a volume
  • vSphere Client Integration – allows provisioning and management of datastores from within the vSphere client

QNAP said that 3.8 will be available as of November sometime although their website makes no mention of it currently. I did ask about other features, such as VASA (vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness), but there's no word on those yet. Personally I suspect they knew a little more than they were letting on.