Over the last couple of months I’ve spoken to many customers about Virtual SAN. What struck me during these conversations is how these customers spoke about Virtual SAN. In all cases when we start the conversation it starts with a conversation about what their environment used to looked like. What kind of storage they had. How it was configured, number of disks etc you name it. Of course we would discuss what kind of challenges they had with their legacy environment. Thinking back to these conversations there is one thing that really stood out, although never explicitly mentioned, the big difference between Virtual SAN and traditional storage systems is that Virtual SAN is not a storage system but rather an extension of the VMware vSphere Platform.
Software extension, a file containing programming that serves to extend the capabilities of or data available to a more basic program
I believe this statement is spot on. What is great about Virtual SAN is that it does the extension of the capabilities of vSphere in an extremely easy way. Virtual SAN achieves this simply by abstracting layers of complexity and pooling the resources and allow these to be assigned to workloads in an automated fashion whether through the use of policies and a simple UI or through the vSphere APIs. Keywords here are definitely: abstract, pool and automate.
Maybe I should have used the word “converging” instead of “abstracting”. That is essentially what is happening, and although many other vendors claim the same, I truly believe that Virtual SAN is one of the few solutions which is truly hyper-converged as it seamlessly converges layers instead of adding a layer on top of another layer. Hyper-convergence is more than just stacking layers in a single box.
With Virtual SAN storage is just there. Not bolted on, layered on top or mounted to the side, an integral part of your environment, an extension of your platform. Virtual SAN does for storage what vSphere does for CPU and Memory, it becomes a fundamental component of your cluster.
Hopefully one day VMware makes it possible to have a two node VSAN with the witness on external storage.
Duncan Epping says
Mark Whiley says
There are other options if you want that kind of two node configuration with external witness. Our product StorMagic SvSAN has been recommended by VMware for remote office/branch office environments that are often wanting that type of solution. Link over at The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/05/stormagic_vmware_endorses/.
Sure would be nice if vSAN was part of my Ent + licensing package. vFRC is but it doesn’t work. Hoping that it will get fixed.