VMware Virtual SAN Announcements

This week was an exciting week for VMware Virtual SAN enthusiasts (of which I am one). I’m looking forward to checking out the new features and functions as they become available with version 6.2 (VMware stated this would be by the end of the quarter). With these features the Virtual SAN solution becomes quite a mature storage solution comparable in feature set with many traditional (SAN/NAS) midrange storage systems. Among the features that will become available with the core product are :

  • Checksumming … making data integrity more robust
  • IOPS limits per object … improving Storage based QoS
  • Deploying thin swap objects … decreasing the overhead required for swapping (which you would want to prevent anyway)
  • Improved Virtual SAN management capabilities in the WebClient … removing the need for additional (RVC based) tools

Major additional functionality which will only become available for All-Flash configurations includes :

  • Erasure Coding (RAID-5/RAID-6)
  • Deduplication and Compression

Initially I was a little disappointed to hear that these features would not be available for Hybrid (Flash + Traditional HDD) configurations, but when you think of it, they really make the most sense for Flash based solutions. Deduplication and compression (which works on the disk group level) will allow you to save on required (still relatively expensive) SSD capacity. These savings will further be improved due to the use of Erasure Coding. Similar to RAID-5 and RAID-6 in traditional storage solutions this technique will increase the amount of IOPS on the back-end, especially with a write-intensive workload. Only Flash storage is able to sustain these potentially high IO loads without resulting in much higher IO latency (response times).

In this same week EMC (through its Federation company VCE) announced it’s soon to be released VxRail product. In it’s simplest form this will be a 2U appliance with 4 integrated servers nodes, integrated storage (SSD+HDD or all SSD) and networking connectivity (10GbE). At the software layer this will be managed with vSphere and Virtual SAN for the core virtualization function, but on top of that additional web-based management tools will be available to manage the cluster on a hardware level which will very easily allow you to grow to 16 appliances in a single cluster as well as manage/monitor the entire configuration through the VCE support organization (including “Dial Home” functionality like what we are used to from Enterprise storage solutions). On top of that VxRail will include EMC Recoverpoint functionality to extend the replication capabilities that already exist within vSphere and will also include EMC CloudArray functionality to allow inactive data on Virtual SAN to be moved to cloud storage.
All in all a very complete storage offering (what else can you expect from a storage company 🙂 )

Once the product is officially available we will see what it means from a pricing point of view …

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