Over the last couple of weeks I have been presenting at various events on the topic of Virtual SAN. One of the sections in my deck is a bit about the future of Virtual SAN and where it is heading towards. Someone tweeted one of the diagrams in my slides recently which got picked up by Christian Mohn who provided his thoughts on the diagram and what it may mean for the future. I figured I would share my story behind this slide, which is actually a new version of a slide that was originally presented by Christos and also discussed in one of his blog posts. First, lets start with the diagram:
If you look at VSAN today and ask people what VSAN is today then most will answer: a “virtual machine” storage system. But VSAN to me is much more than that. VSAN is a generic object storage platform, which today is used to primarily store virtual machines. But these objects can be anything if you ask me, and on top of that can be presented as anything.
So what is it VMware is working towards, what is our vision? VSAN was designed to serve as a generic object storage platform from the start, and is being extended to serve as a platform to different types of data by providing an abstraction layer. In the diagram you see “REST” and “FILE” and things like Mesos and Docker, it isn’t difficult to imagine what types of workloads we envision to run on top of VSAN and what types of access you have to resources managed by VSAN. This could be through a native Rest API that is part of the platform which can be used by developers directly to store their objects on or through the use of a specific driver for direct “block” access for instance.
Combine that with the prototype of the distributed filesystem which was demonstrated at VMworld and I think it is fair to say that the possibilities are endless. VSAN isn’t just a storage system for virtual machines, it is a generic object based storage platform which leverages local resources and will be able to share those in a clustered fashion in any shape or form in the future. Christian definitely had a point, in which shape or form all of this will be delivered has to be seen though, this is not something I can (or want) to speculate on. Whether that is through Photon Platform, or something else is in my opinion besides the point. Even today VSAN has no dependencies on vCenter Server and can be fully configured, managed and monitoring using the APIs and/or the different command-line interface options we offer. Agility and choice have always been the key design principles for the platform.
Where things will go exactly and when this will happen is still to be seen. But if you ask me, exciting times are ahead for sure, and I can’t wait to see how everything plays out.