I have seen this being debated many times on twitter now, and I’ve seen various Virtual SAN (VSAN) and EVO:RAIL competitors use this in the past to mislead potential customers.
@vmwevorail Exchange/SQL etc is use case for EVO:RAIL? No objection by VMware for whatever reason to run such apps on rail?
— Marcel van den Berg☁ (@marcelvandenber) September 7, 2014
I think we have all seen these slides at VMworld or at a VMUG when it comes to VSAN or EVO:RAIL. The slide contains a couple of primary use cases:
So what does that mean? Does this mean that VMware does not support Exchange or MS SQL on top of VSAN or EVO:RAIL? Does that mean that VMware does not support it as a DR target? Or what about a management cluster? Or what about running Oracle? Or maybe SAP? Or what about my WordPress instance? Or what about MySQL? Or although you mention VDI, would that only be VMware View? What about… Yes by now you get my drift.
Let me try to make it really simple: Primary use cases says nothing about support. Primary use case means that this where the vendor expects the product or solution to fit best. In this case it is where VMware expect VSAN/EVO:RAIL to fit best, this is the target market VMware will be going after with this release.
Why include this in a slide deck? Well it allows you (the user / consultant / architect) to quickly identify where the majority of opportunities will be with the current version for your environment or for your customers. It does NOT mean that if your use case, like running your Exchange environment for instance on top of VSAN, is not listed that it is not supported. (Try listing all use cases on a slide, it will get pretty lengthy.)
Running Tier-1 applications on top of VSAN (or EVO:RAIL) is fully supported as it stands today, however … your application requirements and your service level agreement will determine if EVO:RAIL or VSAN is a good fit. One example would for instance be that if your agreed SLA requires an RPO (recovery point objective) of zero then sync replication is the only option (or stretched clustering), now you will need to determine if this is possible with the platform you want to use (this goes for any solution!). (Yes, you can make that happen with the platform pretty soon before anyone wants to go there…)
I hope that clears things up a bit.