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VMware Virtual SAN for Desktop ( v. 6 ) - license

Mfg. Part: ST6-VSDT100-C-L1 | CDW Part: 3645922 | UNSPSC: 43232907
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  • ( v. 6 )
  • license
  • 100 concurrent users
  • VPP
  • level 1 ( 250-599 )
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Product Overview
Main Features
  • ( v. 6 )
  • license
  • 100 concurrent users
  • VPP
  • level 1 ( 250-599 )
VMware Virtual SAN is radically simple hypervisor-converged storage. Virtual SAN introduces a new high performance storage tier optimized for virtual environments that is simple, resilient and efficient and reduces the total cost of ownership.

Technical Specifications
Specifications are provided by the manufacturer. Refer to the manufacturer for an explanation of the print speed and other ratings.
General
Category: Utilities
Installation Type: Locally installed
Subcategory: Utilities - storage virtualization

Header
Brand: VMware
Compatibility: PC
Manufacturer: VMware VPP Licensing Prog
Model: For Desktop
Packaged Quantity: 1
Product Line: VMware Virtual SAN

Licensing
License Pricing: Volume
Pricing Level: Level 1
Pricing Range: 250-599

Software
License Category: License
License Qty: 100 concurrent users
License Type: License
Licensing Program: VMware Volume Purchasing Program (VPP)
Version: 6

Product Reviews
Rated 4.1 out of 5 by 18reviewers.
Rated 4 out of 5 by I'm able to manage it easily from the web client as it's fully integrated in the VMware stack. As an improvement, I'm looking forward to VSAN Observer being transitioned into the web client. Valuable Features:The most valuable features of VSAN are consistent and increased performance with a linear cost which helped us in our data center.Using VSAN Observer, we were able to see exactly what the VSAN environment is doing on a day to day basis, so we've gotten to really enjoy that interface.Improvements to My Organization:The benefits that we're seeing are directly related to our customers. They have better experiences using their EMR and practice management systems.The manageability is better, it's definitely fully integrated into the VMware stack so it's very easy to use from the web client.Room for Improvement:The features I am most looking forward to are the performance monitoring capabilities of VSAN Observer being transitioned into the web client. That's what I'm really looking forward to.UPDATE: Capacity and performance monitoring is now available in the web client and works well in 6.2. I am looking forward to DARE(data at rest encryption) in the next version.Use of Solution:We have used vSAN for approximately a two years.Deployment Issues:We had one issue with deployment, which was related to using the legacy vsphere client to place the hosts into maintenance mode. Which is easily resolved by using the web client for maintenance.Stability Issues:The stability exceeds what we're currently on from a standard SAN platform.Scalability Issues:The scalability is much greater than the current SAN that we're on because we're technically locked in to a certain number of discs and a certain number of performance and so the scalability is drastically improved. We currently have a four node cluster and we're going to be just incrementally moving off of our legacy SAN.UPDATE: We expanded our cluster to five vsan nodes however we are now in process of retrofitting four legacy hosts for a total of nine vsan nodes.Technical Support:Technical support was very responsive, the technical support staff was. Specifically patching hosts, we inadvertently caused VSANdata evacuations during the middle of the day. Whereas, if you were to do a maintenance mode with non-evacuation, that wouldn't happen but they were able to get to the root cause and provide us an answer on why that happened.Previous Solutions:We made the jump to VSAN primarily due to cost renewals going up year over year on traditional platforms. The software and hardware costs that we see now is just linear, we know what it's going to be.We actually have been with VMware for quite a while so we made the choice to use VSAN because of that partnership that we have had over the years. We're fully focused in VMware and we love the product. That's why we chose VSAN.Initial Setup:I wasn't familiar at all with VSAN at the time, so there was a little learning curve there but outside of that it would be comparable to setting up a legacy SAN environment.Cost and Licensing Advice:We actually, just by incrementally increasing the cost of our servers, plus the licensing, we were able to linearly scale our environment as opposed to doing forklift upgrades.Other Solutions Considered:We evaluated other all-flash arrays and hyper converged infrastructure.Other Advice:Everybody wants to say 10 and I would say it's going to be a 10. I love VSAN and I would say it's probably an 8 and there's room for improvement. It's constantly being worked on and I think it's going to be the storage platform going forward.Colleagues looking into VSAN, I would recommend looking into the VSAN Ready Nodes, they're pre-configured and you can customize your build to whatever you want really, without having to build your own necessarily.We aren't currently using the Ready Nodes, but I could see where a Ready Node would be beneficial for deployment. The time to deploy would be improved using a Ready Node.Peer reviews and peer contents are amazing things to be doing. That's part of the reason why we come here. We want to maintain our relevance, industry wide, and so we always constantly bounce ideas off of other peers in the industry.Disclaimer: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. October 4, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by We use it as the basis for DMZ environments, production environments, and DR sites. Valuable Features:The most valuable features of the product are its basic functionality and that it's all simple.Improvements to My Organization:We are a partner and we're using Virtual SAN for nearly more than half of our customers, VMware-based customers, and we use it as the basis for DMZ environments, production environments, and DR sites. It's getting a lot better to sell VMware solutions and to make the customer happy.Room for Improvement:I'm part of the feature program, so I know what's going to come up in the next version.Room for improvement would be support for more NVMe-based devices and especially firmer combinations; that's sometimes a problem. Also, support for special SES controllers. We have some special customer settings where we solved the customer’s special configuration nearly two years ago, and now it's no longer supported officially for the newest release. There’s room for improvement there.Stability Issues:We started with VSAN nearly from the beginning, almost two years ago. We had some blue screens of death at the beginning, but that was only due to hardware problems. Today, it's very stable and nearly rock solid; so, very nice.Scalability Issues:Most of our customers are using it for up to eight hosts in a cluster. Normally, we know - and our customers know - that you can easily scale up to 64 machines, but today, up to eight is absolutely enough.Technical Support:Technical support is very good. I have only used it two times. There was a driver firmware issue; that's all. We extracted all the log files and prepared them for support. They were able to identify the problem within, let me think, about four to six hours; so, really good.Previous Solutions:We were pretty happy with the release before, the VSA version, but it was discontinued. We are part of the roadmap discussion and we're going to know what comes up next, so we're pretty happy with the new release.Initial Setup:Initial setup and implementation was pretty easy. It's all about the design and all about the thinking process at the beginning of a product; so implementation was pretty easy.Other Solutions Considered:We're a VMware partner, and a Nutanix ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/nutanix ) partner, and a SimpliVity ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/simplivity-omnicube ) partner and a Cisco OpFlex partner. Personally, VSAN is the best solution.For example, SimpliVity does well with applications, but it depends on the hardware. Nutanix are a little bit too aggressive at customer sites and they are switching gears to Acropolis and other strange kind of things. Cisco OpFlex is just a licensed version and it's not in place like VMware's VSAN is, so VSAN is the best solution.Other Advice:I would like to give them a perfect rating if the VMware driver issues, especially with NVMEs, are going to be fixed. Then I would absolutely agree a perfect rating, because we've set up with customers using VSAN Hybrid. We have customers using VSAN All-Flash and it's so simple for the customer to implement, to troubleshoot... It's all about the design and thinking process at the beginning of a project. That's why we are there as a partner.My advice is to definitely test it out; not listen to all the marketing stuff. Test it out on real-life environments, and especially test it out on newer systems. Don’t test it out on five- or six-year-old servers, because you won’t be able to get the best performance.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:My company is a partner. September 28, 2016
Rated 5 out of 5 by It's simplified our deployment methodology a fair amount, and it gave us better performance. Valuable Features:I think performance and cost are the most valuable features of VMware Virtual SAN. We're stringing up an entire virtualization environment for VDI ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/categories/virtual-desktop ) and RDSH through Horizon View ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/vmware-horizon-view ). When we compared the cost of a traditional SAN versus VSAN, that’s what actually made it all possible for us. We're actually able to deploy Virtual SAN for a fraction, like 1/5th, of the cost, of what we're paying for our SAN. It was crazy. The reduced cost made it very palatable and then the actual performance of it made it even that much more functional.Improvements to My Organization:I'm from the cloud virtualization side of things, so consolidating the data allowed us to set up the VSAN instead of a traditional SAN, and allowed us to do faster deployments without having to interact with as many teams. It's simplified our deployment methodology a fair amount, and it gave us the better performance we're looking for from a SAN perspective.Beyond that, it didn't change a lot how we function, necessarily, but it gave us a better tool, or a tool specific for our use case, or something that opens up the door for more. I think that the product itself is going to be paramount in other expansions and other aspects of the corporation. We'll likely keep expanding it into general computing and servers across the globe. It might help with some of the other deployments, cache centers and data centers, so that we don't necessarily have to buy SAN. It gives us the performance for the cost that really makes it attractive overall. Beyond that, I don't know.Room for Improvement:I know it's coming, but I'm really excited for the encryption. I know it's on the all-flash, which is fine, because we're migrating to that anyways. Nonetheless, the encryption would be great for at-rest data, because I don't want to rely on a third party. I don't want to get some self-encrypting drives or anything like that; drives me nuts. That would be very good to get.I'm looking forward to being able to do VSAN shares with other clusters; sharing the VSAN storage outside of its existing cluster so that we can actually move data a little bit easier between them, or allocate VMs across the entire frame and all the different VSAN storage. I want to try to make more use of the VSAN storage and do some better vMotions across hosts and clusters. That, I think, would be the best.Stability Issues:I like its stability. I think we probably need to get an additional node in there. Right now, we're running some 4-node VSANs. We probably should be at a 5 with a 2-RAID parity on that. Four is okay; it's stable, it's efficient. I haven't really run into any issues with it.Some of the earlier versions were a little rough; we saw some weird, crooked behavior. Beyond that, it's been solid, and it just works. No issues yet.Scalability Issues:We're actually scaling out right now from several 4-node VSAN clusters to - I think we're going to go to - some 8-, and then eventually 12-, node VSANs. That's one of the really nice parts about it; we'll just be able to scale out. The only downside I think I have with it from a scale perspective is, we've got some hybrid VSAN right now. That's what we all started out with. We really liked the all-flash VSAN arrays that you can get, so we're doing that. However, we can't merge the two, so we have to create whole new clusters for the all-flash VSAN. That makes scaling a little bit rough there, but I don't think that will be much of an issue going forward, because flash is pretty inexpensive now and that's probably going to be the standard from here on out.Technical Support:I think we used technical support earlier on. I didn't personally, but I know our engineers had to work with technical support on some issues with a couple of our VSAN nodes kind of going crazy when they were doing some initial configuration setup. They were just sitting there idle, and one of them would spike up; I don't know if it was trying to replicate data or do something odd. They worked with the support team, got it resolved and addressed it, upgraded to a new version and haven't seen any problems since.I think there could always be improvement. Whenever we interact with the VMware technical support, it's usually because we have issues that aren't easily solved. We've got our own set of engineers that are really intelligent guys, very capable individuals. Whenever we call in, we always get the initial first line of defense, "Hey, give us your logs." Okay, here's our logs. And then they ask us silly questions and basic troubleshooting and, "Did you do this?" Of course we did. I guess the initial support services guys are just that basic line of defense. They don't always really understand the people that they're dealing with nor have that knowledge of the customer base. That knowledge set they're working with makes it difficult to interact with them a lot of times and getting issues escalated. It's always been kind of a tricky thing for us.Previous Solutions:We've been using traditional SAN for a long time. Our engineers had to do test with an initial project to do some developer builds, and they wanted some persistent VMs, and they wanted humongous amounts of storage in them, because they're crazy people. The goal was to give them some virtual machines to replace all these physical machines that they had, because whenever they mess up a machine and they want to rebuild, it takes a long time. You have to rebuild the whole machine, give it back to them, and then they have to build it out all over again.Using the VDI solution, Horizon View, and VSAN made it actually cost-effective, because if we were try to do the amount of storage that they were looking for on the VMs with traditional SAN, it would have cost us a lot more than anybody's willing to spend or to endure. The VSAN made it very possible and gave us the performance needed to actually facilitate and even perform better on the VMs than they do on the physical boxes that they were using, which is good. It all helped.Other Solutions Considered:At the time, we did not look into other solutions. It was either SAN or VSAN ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/articles/choosing-the-right-backup-solution ). From a SAN perspective, we have a partnership with HP for some 3PAR ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/hpe-3par-flash-storage ) storage, and we have some EMC ( https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/emc-vnx ) storage as well. When it comes to VSAN, it was included in our ELA that we agreed with from VMware's perspective. We figured, if we're paying for it, we might as well try using it. It worked out really well.Other Advice:When selecting a vendor like VMware, a lot of the decision comes down to functionality. Functionality, performance, and cost, those are the usually big factors. A lot of times, my company's really focused on cost, which is a pain in the butt. We're a very big VMware shop to start with, so whenever we can use a product that can simplify deployments, simplify management, and integrate with everything that we already have, that makes it really desirable. That's I think what VSAN did; it really simplified the way for us to get our storage for virtual machines and give us that performance and at a lower cost. That satisfied all the different aspects we look for in products.I gave VSAN a perfect rating because it's been great. We really haven't had any problems with it; it's been solid. I haven't had to deal with the SAN guys, so that makes my life much better. We get much better performance out of it than I would have ever thought. We get all the IOPS we need from it; we get dedupe on the all-flash array. It's my own little SAN and nobody else gets to mess with. I think it's fantastic. I just love it, I really do.If you have the budget or it's available to you, definitely go for it, because it's going to save money over the traditional SAN.The only caveat I ever give to anybody about it is that the initial investments are a little rough. You can't just build a 1-node VSAN; you can do a 2-node VSAN, but, boy, no one ever wants to do it. To really get to a point where you get the data redundancy and the high availability, you need a 4-node VSAN, which can cost a fair amount for that initial investment.If you're trying to do something small, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but if you're in a larger organisation like we are and you have to do a lot, this is a fantastic tool.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions. September 28, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by I'm able to manage it easily from the web client as it's fully integrated in the VMware stack. As an improvement, I'm looking forward to VSAN Observer being transitioned into the web client. Valuable Features:The most valuable features of VSAN are consistent and increased performance with a linear cost which helped us in our data center.Using VSAN Observer, we were able to see exactly what the VSAN environment is doing on a day to day basis, so we've gotten to really enjoy that interface.Improvements to My Organization:The benefits that we're seeing are directly related to our customers. They have better experiences using their EMR and practice management systems.The manageability is, it's definitely fully integrated into the VMware stack so it's very easy to use from the web client.Room for Improvement:The features I am most looking forward to are the performance monitoring capabilities of VSAN Observer being transitioned into the web client. That's what I'm really looking forward to.Use of Solution:We have used vSAN for approximately a year.Deployment Issues:We had one issue with deployment, which was related to using the legacy vsphere client to place the hosts into maintenance mode. Which is easily resolved by using the web client for maintenance.Stability Issues:The stability exceeds what we're currently on from a standard SAN platform.Scalability Issues:The scalability is much greater than the current SAN that we're on because we're technically locked in to a certain number of discs and a certain number of performance and so the scalability is drastically improved. We currently have a four node cluster and we're going to be just incrementally moving off of our legacy SAN.Technical Support:They were very responsive, the technical support staff was. Specifically patching hosts and, what I did not know, was the default action is to evacuate the host so it actually created a situation where it was doing host evacuations during the middle of the day. Whereas, if you were to do a maintenance mode with non-evacuation, that wouldn't happen but they were able to get to the root cause and provide us an answer on why that happened.Previous Solutions:We made the jump to VSAN primarily due to cost renewals going up year over year on traditional platforms. The software and hardware costs that we see now is just linear, we know what it's going to be.We actually have been with VMware for quite a while so we made the choice to use VSAN because of that partnership that we have had over the years. We're fully focused in VMware and we love the product. That's why we chose VSAN.Initial Setup:I wasn't familiar at all with VSAN at the time, so there was a little learning curve there but outside of that it would be comparable to setting up a legacy SAN environment.Cost and Licensing Advice:We actually, just by incrementally increasing the cost of our servers, plus the licensing, we were able to linearly scale our environment as opposed to doing forklift upgrades.Other Solutions Considered:We evaluated other all-flash arrays and hyper converged infrastructure.Other Advice:Everybody wants to say 10 and I would say it's going to be a 10. I love VSAN and I would say it's probably an 8 and there's room for improvement. It's constantly being worked on and I think it's going to be the storage platform going forward.Colleagues looking into VSAN, I would recommend looking into the VSAN Ready Nodes, they're pre-configured and you can customize your build to whatever you want really, without having to build your own necessarily.We aren't currently using the Ready Nodes, but I could see where a Ready Node would be beneficial for deployment. The time to deploy would be improved using a Ready Node.Peer reviews and peer contents are amazing things to be doing. That's part of the reason why we come here. We want to maintain our relevance, industry wide, and so we always constantly bounce ideas off of other peers in the industry.Disclaimer: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. April 7, 2016
Rated 4 out of 5 by It works and integrates with other VMware technologies. They should integrate it with replication and SRM, so that it can be heavily adopted. Valuable Features:The main thing is the comprehensive data center management type of features. The overall management dashboard, capability to have multiple clusters, link clones, distributed computing, where you have vCenters in different geographies. Site Recovery Manager for failover, VSAN for storage, and again the EVO:RAIL mechanism combining with the type of VSAN architecture that is out there, and previously, the automation capabilities of vCloud Automation Center. Previously, I had experience with vCloud Director, but obviously everything's being transported onto vCloud Automation Center now.Improvements to My Organization:The biggest benefit is cost, so for someone looking to deploy low cost storage, but something that integrates with their virtualization architecture. It's a very good fit for smaller companies who have multiple nodes, and can leverage commodity hardware to go with that. VSAN, by its architecture itself, has inbuilt features for reliability, for load balancing. You could enable VCRE cache, along with VSAN, so it works and integrates with a lot of other VMware technologies.Room for Improvement:I would love to see VSAN transform into an EVO:RAIL-type of technology, but EVO:RAIL has a separate use-case. I think it's not meant for all companies either. VSAN does serve that purpose, and kind of addresses the primary need there. At the same time, EVO:RAIL is limited to certain hardware manufacturers and some providers who are kind of combining everything into one package and selling it off. Whereas, customers like to use commodity hardware, like to use regular software, and do things their own way. So, if VSAN continues to offer that flexibility, which it does today, I think there's great significance for it. If it integrates with replication and SRM, that takes it in a really good fashion, right to the area where it can be heavily adopted.Use of Solution:I have experience, personally, as a VMUG leader and as a vExpert in the areas of vSphere 6, SRM, I've tested VSAN in my home lab. I have worked with replication technologies. Done a little bit of vCloud Automation Center as well, and vCloud director.Stability Issues:I personally consider VSAN to be a very stable product. Obviously you have to have a minimum of four nodes, to say that, the minimum spec is for three nodes, but if you have 4 nodes or higher for VSAN, it is a very stable product.Scalability Issues:It's all about adding nodes, and the number of drives to it. VSAN is very scalable. I was able to, just for a lab purpose, scale it up to 10 terabytes, and I started off at four, so it tells you that it was easier to scale from 4 to 10 terabytes, and the same mechanisms I've read online reviews and some white papers around it, it goes up to quite a few hundred terabytes.Initial Setup:Very straightforward, you need to obviously follow the configuration guide, read advance, just so that you understand the components around VSAN. Then it was just a matter of enabling VSAN, provisioning all the data storage that it needs. You obviously need to have a Solid State Drive to go with it, so many people don't realize that, but you should have one. That is to allow the performance that is required from commodity hardware to be scaled up.Other Advice:For our VMUG group, I was trying to set up a lab, and I tried to go with the VSAN for storage purposes. It's a very rock solid product, very robust. Compared to the previous iterations it is very flexible and very strong now. It was a breeze to set up, it didn't take time. The reliability of VSAN is really good, I was able to set it up at four nodes and I purposely took out one node just to see what happens, and it just kept working fine.Looking at VSAN or a different solution, it depends on the use-case really. Someone looking for Oracle database set up on ASN, is not going to first think of VSAN, but, if you design VSAN the right way, it can host Oracle databases. It's just a matter of how much compute you throw at it, how much storage power you throw at it, and how you design the pool. If you have done things the right way and you have sufficient cache, and you have sufficient Solid State, I think it can be a really good use-case for many different organizations.It offers a lot of scalability to customers. People looking to scale up in terms of nodes when they need it, it's a perfect fit for it.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions. November 4, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by In terms of resiliency and recoverability, with policy-based storage you can decide what level of recoverability and redundancy you want. Valuable Features:Some of the most valuable features of VSAN include the ability to be able to provision and grow your storage as you need to without a very large upfront cost. Also the ability to be able to carry along the licenses as part of a refresh as opposed to traditional storage systems, you end up losing that investment after every single refresh which usually occurs every three to five years.Improvements to My Organization:The great thing about VSAN in terms of resiliency and recoverability is the fact that with policy-based storage, you can actual decide what level of recoverability you want, what level of redundancy you want. This no longer the case of trying to figure out complex RAID-systems or anything like that. You set the policy, and you will get the level of redundancy and resiliency that you want. Something that has been in the enterprise space for quite sometime, with some of the more expensive arrays, now you can bring it down into the commercial even the mid-market space. That's pretty amazing.Scalability Issues:For scalability of VSAN, I mean, you've seen the blog post out there. They've taken up to four million IOPS. In terms of scalability, we haven't seen any roof, any limit, any ceiling to the scalability there. We are extremely surprised that VSAN has been able to keep up with solutions that are four or five times more expensive.Technical Support:The technical support for VSAN has been really surprising in a good way. In our experience, there are very few vendors that take full ownership of a problem when it occurs. What VMware has done is that whenever there is a VSAN issue or a question, as long as the hardware is on the hardware compatibility list, they took full ownership. They escalate with the hardware vendor. It's really one throat to choke. Where else can you say that?Previous Solutions:We've been a VMware partner for quite sometime. When VSAN was announced, we were actually working with the beta. We decided that this is really the track that we want to follow because we believe in the software-defined data center. Everything is becoming software-defined. For us to not do the same thing with storage when we're doing it with networking and with compute, it just really doesn't make sense. The same kind of savings had been brought by server virtualization, the same kind of flexibility, agility, that can also be applied to storage. So, it just seems like the next natural place to go. For us as a VMware-focused partner, it made sense to get on board with VSAN right from the get-go.Previously before VSAN, we're using a whole host of different technologies because there were a lot of corner cases where we would have to use an enterprise array. Other times we would end up using something that's a little bit smaller. What VSAN has done is, not only bridge some of the gaps that we had in storage before, but it's allowed us to replace a lot of solutions that didn't really meet the needs perfectly. Here we've got a more custom-fit that we can provide our customers and be able to address about 80% of customer's needs.Cost and Licensing Advice:From a cost-benefit perspective, especially in regards to TCO, total cost of ownership, CFOs, CEOs that are looking to really cut down the cost of their storage systems because that's becoming a larger part of their overall IT budget. This uncontrolled cost is running along the same lines with the uncontrolled growth and data. So, you know, when more and more of that IT budget is going to storage, you have CFOs, CEOs looking to try to control those costs. What VSAN allows us to do is give them an enterprise-class array, enterprise-class solution at usually half the cost of the traditional arrays.Other Advice:I would easily give it a 9, because 10 would be perfect and nothing is perfect. After the next few releases, who knows? Maybe that 10 will happen.For people who are evaluating bringing VSAN into their environment, one of the most important things to do is really get an idea of what the performance the requirements are and what workloads are going to go into that environment. That's best done with an assessment. Right now, VMware partners are providing a assessment service for VSAN. That's a great jumping off point to make sure that the VSAN implementation is going to go as expected and have an immediate win.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:We're partners. November 3, 2015
Rated 4 out of 5 by Its part of the vSphere world, so it looks and feels like any other object that people are used to seeing metrics on. I would like to have snapshots for recovery be part of the core product. Valuable Features:It's not a storage array which is a very valuable feature of it and it's maintenance structure isn't paid like a traditional storage array. For me, that's the biggest leap with it is there's a compelling cost with reason to step in to it. You don't have to make a snap decision and get away from where I am. I can keep what I have and dip my toe in VSAN without risking an all-or-nothing decision.Improvements to My Organization:VSAN is really simple to manage. Its GUI is part of the eco-system so it looks and feels like the rest of VMware. So a VMware engineer or a VMware operations guy's is going to be able to manage the provision storage without having to touch an array, which is generally higher profile so there's a cost reduction through headcount.VSAN manageability is much easier because it's in and part of the vSphere world, so it looks and feels like any other object that people are used to seeing metrics on and there have been great improvement in management. In 655, there's a little bit of lack information. In the newer system, there's a lot more data about what's going on in that system, in the GUI, easily consumable.Room for Improvement:The features I'd like to see in future releases of VSAN are around back-up and recovery. There is a great way to replicate data now, but I'd like to see them focus on making recovery from snap shots, off-site, part of the core product.Stability Issues:It's very stable. Once you get it built and you take the time to build the system correctly, do your research, once it's in place it's been very stable and it performs as it says.Scalability Issues:I'm looking at two different ways of scaling that system. One is for speed and one is for mass. It scales into mass based on what size of disc you choose and it scales in to speed based on solid-state drive size. Both of those are two different avenues that work well for us.Technical Support:I haven't had a technical support case open but we do look at the forums and try to avoid issues and problems based on what's in a publicly available space which has always been something that VMware has done really well, which is making issues public so we can avoid them.Previous Solutions:We chose it from a cost perspective. In media we are always looking to save money. It's a publicly traded company so the money I give back is smiled on. We saw a way not to pay maintenance for expensive systems and to run it in a system that performs on parallel with what we already own.Cost and Licensing Advice:So with a traditional storage array you pay maintenance based on the purchase price for the array plus any software you bought with it so that residual number is high, so if you paid a million dollars for the machine, you may have to pay $200,000 for maintenance at some point in time. With VSAN I'm paying server-based maintenance and that's a much lower number.Other Solutions Considered:The top criteria we looked at when considering VSAN was performance and cost. We were going to make sure that we could deliver the performance that people are used to and used the system that costs less than a traditional array model. We did not look at other vendors because there really isn't another vendor that's doing this. There are people that are close but with a traditional hyper-converged box, there's a bunch of things I don't need. With VSAN I have the technical backing from VMware to back-stop the product and is doing what I need and no more so there is a cost-savings for not buying features-compute that I don't need.Other Advice:I would certainly give it an 8 and I would split in to two parts. The initial configuration of VSAN, once the systems in place, it manages and runs without much attention and that's where it's really shining at the moment, is once it's in production, it doesn't require a lot of care and feeding.My recommendation is make sure you've got a hardware vendor who's promising you that this equipment that you get is on the HCL, so the compatibility list of what VMware supports and VSAN is important to having a successful deployment. Taking the time to do that and install and build the system correctly first will give you years of good results. Not doing that is a headache.When looking at any new technology, having peer review and having information available about what it's doing, how many people have adopted it and whether or not it's a good technology is critically important. It's good to be on the edge but you don't want to be the first guy to take the blind leap so having that out and having the forms available has been very important.Disclaimer: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. November 3, 2015
Rated 3 out of 5 by We don't have to drop half a million on a SAN for all the storage that we may or may not use, and it just eases the pain of a lot of storage. There were bugs, but things have stabilized significantly. Valuable Features:We have a private cloud that we host in our data center. All of our servers are on VSAN and we have customer servers that we host in our data center on our hardware that is on top of VSAN.Data store: you don't have to carve out ones and ones and ones and then map from the data stores and data stores and data stores. Good performance.It makes it really modular too so we can grow as needed, that's actually the case that I submitted to do this talk was about another customer that we host in our rack at our data center wanted to do small entry, have a small entry footprint but then grow as their business acquired other business.Improvements to My Organization:Benefits are being able to grow as needed. We don't have to drop half a million on a SAN for all the storage that we may or may not use and it just eases the pain of a lot of storage. You still have to deal with the, the networking of it, making sure that everything is networked together, but that radically simplifies the storage administration piece.Some of the problems that I have with, traditional SANS whenever I'm administering them is, whenever I do edit operations I have to be extremely careful. It requires a lot of planning up front to deploy the LUNs. To make sure everything matches all the way through from end to end. So that when I know have a data store, you know, one, whenever I turn it off on the SAN after I’m done using it, I'm not turning off the wrong one and taking down the entire environment. Things like that. You know, I don't have to deal with that 'cause it's just one data store and it does what I need it to do.So, another big use case that we do is Horizon View for VDI customers. We use it internally and the contrast between our internal use, which is off of an NFS store, contrasting that with a VSAN, deployment is like night and day. Our internal one is kind of slow and kludgy. It's not a big central part of our day to day work so it doesn't impact us as much but I can see how big the difference is between the performance of a Horizon View deployment on an NFS target is compared to how tightly it works with VSAN and how much performance and throughput VSAN does with the, the read and write caching with the flash drives. We haven't got to mess a lot with the flash, all-flash VSAN, yet, but I'm sure we will soon here.Room for Improvement:The dedupe is awesome. The stretch clustering is crazy, in my opinion. It's really cool. We've been talking about it internally and have lot of school districts and it actually makes a lot of sense for a school district because they have the fiber runs between the buildings so they can hit the five millisecond, ten, twenty, forty, a gig, requirements of the network and it would be a good use case for them I feel like. We have to look at the reality of it, of course, cause it got announced like yesterday, but it's really exciting to see some of this stuff and especially dedupe. Dedupe for root would be really cool. It's really kind of taking that mindset that I see a lot of people have that VSAN isn't, you know enterprise ready and putting it to rest.Use of Solution:We are a partner with VMware and we do deployments services. Do a lot of professional services that's a lot of what we do and then we're growing our managed services to be able to incorporate VMware monitoring and alerting both, proactive and reactive, to be able to stabilize customer environments and give them the best performance that they can out of their products.Stability Issues:Starting out there was some stability issues but I don't see them the same way that I did. There were bugs, there’s firmware, the HCL cam, seemed a little fluid but things have stabilized significantly. There haven't been any major outages that were something that I would say wasn't our fault or wasn't due to like a configuration error somewhere in the stack so, and the best part about it actually was, whenever we did have these stability issues and outages VSN never dropped data.It wasn't until we had gone through like five or six, dirty reboots that we started to have it drop the objects from the metadata tables so we couldn't address the objects and see them but they were technically still there, there was just no owner of them. So if we had gone in, you know, with a higher level engineer that knew how to take ownership of those back we would have been able to get them back but it was a VDI deployment so we didn't really care we just scorched earth and began again, but you know, data resiliency has been something that VSAN evangelists really talk about and it's something that they really do. You're not dropping data as long as you stick to the HCL, of course.Scalability Issues:Scalability is good. We haven't had to scale a lot. We scale from a three node to a four node and we're trying to decide that to a five node or not, it's pretty easy. Once you have a networking piece set up, like, that's one and done. Upfront costs and then you just bolt everything on the side because you just blast out the same config, same quotes, same everything. Get the exact same hardware. Stick it on. Scales out.Technical Support:Once you get to the VSAN team they know what they're doing. Like bar-none. They are incredibly receptive. They’re very good at giving you root cause and analyses and helping you work through issues.Previous Solutions:We've been a strong VMware partner for a long time and we saw, my direct boss is John Nickelson, he's a vExpert, a huge, huge, huge storage person. He really identified the value that it was going to bring and how, impressive the technology was to have this, you know, kind of decoupling from the, you know, the big SAN box that sits in the corner and it really makes a lot of sense for certain use cases.Some use cases where a traditional SAN is the right move, you know, if you want the capacity and stuff like that but the VSAN really helps especially with the VDI. That was where our biggest play was initially, was Horizon View mixed with VSAN.We usually will do a four node deployment. That's in our opinion, the best configuration. Three nodes the minimum, but we like to do four so we can do rolling upgrades without losing our n+1 fault tolerance, and so, when we initially started using this, and technically it was before I started working there. When we initially started using this, we'd roll it out and just take advantage of the performance improvement that it would make. Getting the right cache with the flash drives, you know, allowed us to spin up, spin down, fast log-in times, fast application delivery. Really makes a difference.Cost and Licensing Advice:If you're looking at a traditional SAN you're already looking at a lot of money anyway. So, VSAN is a contender in a lot of cases.Other Solutions Considered:To my knowledge we didn't ever do like Citrix or, you know, anything like that. We didn't actually deploy the VDIs that are on traditional SANS so I think that we have just done pretty much all VSAN coupled with VDI 'cause it just makes so much sense.Other Advice:Obviously, it saves rack space and that's something you have to consider. It's an important thing 'cause you got to pay for power, cooling, if you got give him more cabinets cause you got another SAN coming in that's more money for you that you may not be fully utilizing and it really helps with that efficiency. You know, your rack space is doing as much for you as they can because if you have to compute the storage memory, in some cases will view the GPU off load just for us all in a little for you, for your rack, and we have three of the exact same deployments just like on top of each other. Two of them are customer's and one of them is ours and they, you know, at 12 views of stuff, just one on top of the other where it would be, probably have a full rack rather than just, you know, a quarter of the rack and that's very beneficial.I'd probably rate it a seven right now. Probably in six months it'll be an eight or a nine. Just, you know, growing pains obviously. It's a fairly new product. Having to deal with some of the baby steps, you know, and the HCL, getting the HCL right, the ready nodes things that they've been doing they've pretty much replaced the HCL with ready nodes. That was actually our initial offering for VSM was that. So, that actually simplifies the process a lot. It helps to bolster and make sure that you're not deploying something that isn't going to work.You got to size the compute, the memory and the storage right? You got to make sure that all those are going to make sense so that you're going to be able to hit that within the con-con-confines of VSAN. Yeah, you only get the one flash disk and you want to make sure that you're hitting at least ten percent flash, magnetic disk and so you have to just you have to evaluate it. You know, make sure that it makes sense and don’t discount just because you think it's not enterprise ready or that it's too expensive.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:We're partners. November 3, 2015
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