A while ago I wrote this article on the topic of “one versus multiple disk groups“. The summary was that you can start with a single disk group, but that from a failure domain perspective having multiple disk groups is definitely preferred. Also from a performance stance there could be a benefit.
So the question now is, what about all-flash VSAN? First of all, same rules apply: 5 disk groups max, each disk group 1 SDD for caching and 7 devices for capacity. There is something extra to consider though. It isn’t something I was aware off until I read the excellent Design and Sizing Guide by Cormac. It states the following:
In version 6.0 of Virtual SAN, if the flash device used for the caching layer in all-flash configurations is less than 600GB, then 100% of the flash device is used for cache. However, if the flash cache device is larger than 600GB, the only 600GB of the device is used for caching. This is a per-disk group basis.
Now for the majority of environments this won’t really be an issue as they typically don’t hit the above limit, but it is good to know when doing your design/sizing exercise. The recommendation of 10% cache to capacity ratio still stands, and this is used capacity before FTT. If you have a requirement for a total of 100TB, then with FTT=1 that is roughly 50TB of usable capacity. When it comes to flash this means you will need a total of max 5TB flash. That is 5TB of flash in total, with 10 hosts that would be 500GB per host and that is below the limit. But with 5 hosts that would be 1TB per host which is above the 600GB mark and would result in 400GB per host being unused?
Well not entirely, although the write buffer has a max size of 600GB, note that the remainder of the capacity is used by the SSD for endurance, so it will cycle through those cells… and that is also mainly what you are sizing for when it comes to the write buffer. That 10% is mainly around endurance. So you have a couple of options, you can have multiple disk groups to use the full write buffer capability if you feel you need that, or you can trust on VSAN and the flash “internals” to do what they need to do… I have customers doing both, and I have never heard a customer “complain” about the all-flash write-buffer limit… 600GB is a lot to fill up.