VMware’s new VSAN – What Matters

Congrats to VMware for launching VSAN!  Are they a virtualization company or storage company?  Yes.  IMO to truly be software defined you should abstract to a none storage construct.  In this case the move from managing LUN’s and brute force storage admin now moves to Policy Based Storage.  Yep, a policy runs storage.  Extending from my previous post on how “SDDC is like a Harmony Remote” VMware has now allowed us to add a new class of components to the remote control.

Surprise of the launch seems to be the slow roll of 8 node beta going to 16 nodes (as announced at PEX) and surprise surprise it’s now 32 nodes.  That’s up to 32 Servers with Direct Attached SSD and Drives connect (hopefully) with 10gb ethernet.  That should provide a cool 2 million IOPS and 4.4 petabytes (not terabytes).


Core Info

  • It’s software that runs on Cisco, IBM, Dell, and Fujitsu x86 Servers (for now)
  • It runs on Director Attached Internal Storage – about 10% SSD or PCIe Flash, the rest Hard Drives + Raid controller
  • 10gb ethernet connected but can run on 1gb links (I wouldn’t recommend)
  • 32 nodes max
  • 4.4 pb capacity
  • 2 million I/O per second (IOPS)
  • Profile Driven Management


What’s not addressed so far; Licensing (price), Snapshots, Replication (is that because of VM native replication?), Dedupe, which Storage Features in vSphere 5.5 aren’t relevant in VSAN


  • Simple – 2 clicks, profile driven.  Simple in design.
  • Scalable – beyond what anyone will deploy anytime soon so fire away.
  • Performance – not just IOPS but performance managed through policy to address latency… think to vC Ops and what’s your score
  • Architectural – Scale out IMO is a one size fits most (but not all) architecture. I like the node based approach because it’s a linear scaling model with CPU, ram, I/O, network, and capacity.  You will get technically different advantages with scale up and other models (see Chad Sakac’s brilliant post here)
  • Software Defined model – Move from hardware defined to software defined to enable the Software Defined Data Center
  • Retrofit? – You have the potential opportunity to add DAS, 10gb, and software to replace legacy SAN.  Holy crap that could be profound.

What we don’t yet have; Pricing, HP Servers, experience (beyond the beta and engineering), and some comparisons to understand power draw, BTU’s, etc.

Net Net; The focus is on Policy Based Storage, how to move from hardware defined to software defined, and how this fits based on design requirements (which will evolve).   For those that don’t like this kind of change (traditional storage admins) this simple will seem like a crappy play.  Don’t sell it to storage admin.  🙂

Questions?  Comments?

One thought on “VMware’s new VSAN – What Matters

  1. Pingback: Welcome to vSphere-land! » VSAN Links

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