Friday, August 15, 2014

vSphere Native Drivers - 1/2

It has been a while since I wanted to post something about Native Drivers, today I got the time to compile some good information about the topic, so hang on to your hat….

Starting with vSphere 5.5, VMware had implemented a new architectural model to handle devices.

Pre vSphere 5.5 the devices are handle by Linux Drivers managed by a layer module, vmklinux, which identifies the device and choose the right driver for them.

With vSphere 5.5, a new layer sits on front of devices and during the boot process identifies the device and decides if it should be managed through the legacy mode (Linux Drivers) or Native Drivers.
The big difference here is, once the driver is loaded, you can realize on the picture bellow, that Native Drivers talks directly with the kernel and the device, while with Linux drivers must go through that extra layer, vmklinux. Well more layers, more latency, less performance ; )

Historically VMware has been using drivers derived from Linux, I believe it’s our heritage from the time we used a Linux system, it was easier to use all that drivers that were already there, enabling us to support a large number of devices.

Nowadays the needs are much more challenging, we need more control of the devices, we need to interact with them, need new features like hot-plug and device power management, unfortunately, vmklinux does not allow us to perform all of that……..that’s when Native Drivers came to play, they were design to work specific with ESXi and provide all those desired features.

I think it's enough for today, on the next post I will cover how to work with those devices, stay tuned 

Continue learning at:  vSphere Native Drivers - 2/2

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I’m an IT specialist with over 15 years of experience, working from IT infrastructure to management products, troubleshooting and project management skills from medium to large environments. Nowadays I'm working for VMware as a Consulting Architect, helping customers to embrace the Cloud Era and make them successfully on their journey. Despite the fact I'm a VMware employee these postings reflect my own opinion and do not represents VMware's position, strategies or opinions. Reach me at @dumeirell

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