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VMware vSAN: A high performing storage solution

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IT sector is booming and new advancements are occurring with the speed of light. The 21st century has been blessed with some extraordinary inventions in the field of information technology. With the universal spread of the Internet, the IT sector has paved new opportunities for other sectors as well. It has boosted growth worldwide and simplified the process. It has become possible to accomplish tasks with a few clicks.

The advancement in IT has not only provided us the simplicity of work but has also eliminated the traditional, obsolete infrastructure and hardware. The new inventions we are being acquainted with on a daily basis are a pathway to productivity and growth. IT has increased the scope of each and every business running today.

Cloud computing is undoubtedly a major invention. The ever-growing power of the Internet has pushed us one step further on the growth ladder. We are moving towards what is called the “Cloud Computing Model.” Cloud computing refers to a model of computing that provides access to a shared pool of computing resources (computers, storage, applications, and services) over a network, often the Internet.

These “clouds” of computing resources can be accessed from any connected device, no matter where you are in the world. Every data file you have on your desktop can be moved to a virtual space which can be accessed from anywhere. This facility is cost effective and comes with security. Your data is more secure on a cloud than in your desktop.

Organizations are seeking help from IT to help them stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Organizations are evaluating solutions to help them solve the challenges of integrating multiple clouds, and the VMware Digital Foundation—a ubiquitous control plane from edge to core to cloud—provides a solution that can enable hybrid cloud today.

VMware-powered HCI offers organizations a natural next step to the Digital Foundation by quickly building and integrating cloud infrastructure. IT teams experience simplified operations that increase business agility through consistent infrastructure, processes and tools from edge to core to cloud.

Policies and automation reduce management to a few easy clicks, allowing IT personnel to devote their time to strategic IT projects rather than routine operations.

VMware vSAN, formerly known as Virtual SAN, is a hyper-converged, software-defined storage (SDS) product developed by VMware. It has a forte in pooling together direct-attached storage devices across a VMware vSphere cluster to create a distributed, shared data store.

The user defines the storage requirements, such as performance and availability, for virtual machines (VMs) on a VMware vSAN cluster. After this has been done, VMware vSAN ensures that these policies are administered and maintained.

Being a part of VMware ESXi kernel, VMware vSAN runs on industry-standard x86 servers from original equipment manufacturers or OEMs, including Cisco, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Fujitsu, Lenovo, and Supermicro.

With all the benefits that VMware vSAN provides, the cherry on the cake is the fact that it does not require additional software. VMware vSAN is a native component and hence the user can enable it with a few clicks without any additional software required.

VMware vSAN has varied advantages, distributed architecture of VMware vSAN being one of them. This enables the parameters of the storage policy to be enforced despite changes in the virtual machine (VM) workload demands or hardware or network failures. The vSphere Web Client handles cluster administration and storage policy implementation.

VMware vSAN also supports both hybrid and all-flash configurations using a two-tier architecture. Both these configurations are known to use a caching tier and a capacity tier. The caching tier is composed of at least one flash device per host whereas the capacity tier is composed of at least one flash device (for all-flash) or one magnetic disk (for hybrid) per host.

VMware vSAN combines the host’s storage resources into a single, high-performance, a shared data store that all the hosts in the cluster can use.

VMware vSAN has simplified operations in many ways. In order to keep pace with the increasing competition, businesses are focusing on increasing agility. They need a cloud operating model requiring simplified operations from automation. VMware vSAN allows customers to quickly build and integrate cloud infrastructure with guided, exhaustive instructions for complex tasks, which makes it easy to get started with HCI.

Automated watching and upgrades keep the infrastructure stable and secure. VMware vSAN ensures consistent application performance and resiliency during maintenance operations and reduces time spent troubleshooting maintenance issues.

VMware vSAN has an efficient infrastructure. We are well aware that businesses are under constant pressure to manage costs. Every firm has a mammoth of data which grows significantly each year. This data needs to be stored securely which constitutes a major expense for IT organizations.

Many IT teams are indulged in a practice of buying large amounts of storage up front for storing this enormous amount of data. Sometimes, this leaves resources idle for long periods of time. VMware has come up with a brilliant solution known as VMware vSAN. It automates space reclamation, dynamically reducing application storage usage over time, freeing up valuable resources as well as enhancing application performance. VMware vSAN also enables admins to size capacity needs correctly and incrementally to improve capacity management and planning.

VMware vSAN is a complete package which has simplified the complexities and operations of organizations. VMware vSAN introduced vSAN Ready Care – a simplified support process that has benefits in reducing customer requirements to resolve deployment problems in some situations.

VMware vSAN also expedites self-help with centralized health monitoring, Data Protection that Lowers TCO IT managers need resilient solutions that can guard against data loss from a wide variety of failures—from a single drive to an entire site. Imbibed with some remarkable features, let’s have a look at the features of VMware vSAN.

VMware vSAN features

Shared storage support:

VMware vSAN supports VMware features that require shared storage, such as HA, vMotion, and DRS, Distributed Resource Scheduler. DRS is said to balance computing workloads with available resources in a virtualized environment.

This DRS is a part of a virtualization suite called VMware Infrastructure 3. If a host becomes overloaded, DRS can migrate virtual machines to other hosts in the cluster and ease the task.

Speed Operations and Lower Costs:

It’s time to bid farewell to the cost and complexity of traditional storage and start the journey towards the easiest path to hyper-converged infrastructure and hybrid cloud with VMware vSAN. As the only vSphere-native storage, VMware vSAN makes it easy to extend your existing virtualization investments. Improvements in agility and simultaneously managing complexity, cost, and risk, it is time to switch to an integrated, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution incorporated in VMware vSAN.

Integration with vSphere:

VMware vSAN is built into the vSphere kernel, optimizing the data I/O path to provide the highest levels of performance with minimal impact on CPU and memory.

VM-centric Policy-based Management:

VMware vSAN is part of the larger VMware SDDC stack that uniquely delivers consistent, VM-centric operations through policy-based management. These simple policies help in automating common tasks and balancing storage resources to reduce management time and optimize HCI efficiency.

Single Pane of Glass Management:

VMware vSAN natively integrates with the user interface of the SDDC stack. This eliminates the need for training and operating specialized storage interfaces. VMware vSAN also uses a modern HTML5-based web client. VMware vRealize Operations within VMware Center enables rapid visibility into a vSAN deployment with broad monitoring and deep analytics.

Flash-optimized:

VMware vSAN minimizes storage latency with built-in caching on server-side flash devices delivering up to 50% more IOPS than previously possible. VMware vSAN all-flash can be deployed for less than a $1 per GB of usable capacity — over 50% less than the cost of competing hybrid hyper-converged solutions.

Granular Non-disruptive Scale-up or Scale-out:

VMware vSAN allows you to expand capacity and performance by adding hosts to a cluster, known as scale-out You can also grow capacity by adding disks to a host. This is called scale-up.

Deduplication and Compression:

This built-in capacity of VMware vSAN called Software-based deduplication and compression optimizes all-flash storage capacity, providing as much as 7x data reduction with minimal CPU and memory overhead.

Erasure Coding:

VMware vSAN Erasure Coding feature increases usable storage capacity by up to 100% while keeping data resiliency unchanged. It is capable of tolerating one or two failures with single parity or double parity protection.

VMware vSAN Encryption:

VMware vSAN Encryption provides data-at-rest security at the cluster level and supports all vSAN features, including space efficiency features like deduplication and compression. This can be enabled with a few clicks. VMware vSAN Encryption is built for compliance requirements and offers simple key management with support for all KMIP compliant key managers, such as CloudLink, Hytrust, SafeNet, Thales, and Vormetric.

Stretched Clusters with Local Protection:

With VMware vSAN, you can create a robust stretched cluster with the site and local protection between two geographically separate sites, synchronously replicating data between sites. It enables enterprise-level availability where an entire site failure can be tolerated. It also enables local component failures, with no data loss and near zero downtime. Users can set granular protection on a per-VM basis and non-disruptively change policies—all for 50% lower costs than the leading traditional solution.

Quality of Service (QoS):

Since VMware vSAN is now available in all editions, QoS controls, limits and monitors the IOPS consumed by specific virtual machines, eliminating noisy neighbor issues.

VMware vSAN Health Service:

Health Service provides integrated hardware compatibility checks, performance monitoring, storage capacity reporting, and diagnostics directly from VMware vCenter Server.

iSCSI Access:

VMware vSAN can now support Windows Server Failover Cluster (WSFC) technology, reducing data center silos by managing more Business Critical Applications through a single HCI solution. VMware vSAN storage can be presented as an iSCSI target for physical workloads. This is managed through vCenter.

VMware vSAN Support Insight:

VMware vSAN Support Insight helps keep vSAN running in an optimal state, saving monitoring and troubleshooting time, by providing real-time support notifications and actionable recommendations.

2-Node Direct Connect:

You can now save up to 20% per site by eliminating the need for any switches between servers in a 2-node deployment. VMware vSAN also allows the use of crossover cables to simply and reliably connect the servers directly.

Full-Featured PowerCLI:

VMware vSAN provides the ease and scalability of enterprise-class automation with a set of full-featured PowerCLI cmdlets. New SDK and
API updates enable more enterprise-class automation by supporting REST APIs.

Built-in Failure Tolerance and Advanced
Availability:


VMware vSAN leverages distributed RAID and cache mirroring to ensure that data is never lost if a disk, host, network or rack fails. It seamlessly supports vSphere availability features like vSphere
Fault Tolerance, vSphere High Availability, etc. vSphere Replication for VMware vSAN provides asynchronous VM replication with RPOs of up to 5 minutes. New always-on features deliver a highly-available management stack, independent of vCenter, and intelligent rebuilds accelerate recovery.

The Bottom Line:

VMware vSAN is aiding organizations to help grow. It has radically simple storage as it integrates seamlessly with vSphere platform for storage tasks. Storage provisioning and management is a breeze with VMware vSAN. It automatically rebuilds and rebalances storage to maintain Quality of Service from the storage resource. With all the advantages vSAN comes with, businesses have a bright present and undoubtedly a brighter future.

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