What is the buzz with hyperconverged and vSAN?


By Valerie Lee, VMware Solutions Engineer, Southeast Asia Korea | vExpert 2019

Traditionally, data centres have always been designed in a silo manner where each silo represent a specific technology – storage, computing and networking. Each aspect of these technologies require different hardware, skillsets and operations. Naturally, this translates to greater capital and operational expenditure, which will hamper companies in staying ahead of the curve.

Then comes a time where every technology is due for a refresh cycle, be it because the product is reaching its End-of-Life (EOL) or just the end of the organisations amortisation period. Regardless, customers often find themselves repeating going through the same process to realise that they have just repeated the same cycle, but with newer kit.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure or HCI, completely transforms the way we consume storage. It’s essentially the convergence of compute, storage and storage networking all into a single industry standard x86 server, using server-side economics. This means no more expensive purpose built storage appliances or Fibre Channel (FC) Switches and no more silo teams using a bunch of different tools. With a single team managing these converged components together, Day 2 operations becomes much simpler and easier to manage. To put it simply, adopting a solution like HCI helps you reducing risks, boosting productivity and providing scalability and availability.

vSAN is VMware’s solution to HCI, and with 41% market share as reported by IDC, it is definitely the preferred choice for most enterprises.

Essentially, the solution comprises of 3 different components: vSphere, our software-defined compute solution, vSAN, the software-defined storage component and vCenter, the unified management tool that manages both the compute and storage components under a single pane of glass. Assuming you are an existing VMware customer, it is very likely you would already have 2 components (vSphere and vCenter) and the 3rd component (which is vSAN) in your datacenter- it is just awaiting activation. vSAN have been shipped with vSphere since version 5.5.

As mentioned earlier, HCI runs on typical x86 servers and this means that there is no need to buy additional servers; both storage and server budgets can be combined.


Where’s the secret sauce at?

vSAN works by abstracting and pooling capacity from all locally attached disks, be it SSDs or HDDs, and aggregates them into a single shared pool of resources. The provisioning and managing of storage can be done on the software layer via Storage Policies, which can be attached to individual VMs, or even at the disk level. This granularity gives you storage control that you never had before with traditional storage.

What’s more interesting is that vSAN is NATIVELY integrated into the hypervisor. In fact, we are the only storage virtualization software that is embedded into the vSphere kernel. This means more optimized I/O paths, less resource usage and better security for you.

Getting onboard with vSAN also means you’re no longer locked into a particular hardware platform. VMware garners a broad support for hardware; we work well with 15 other major storage vendors where their ReadyNodes have all been tested and certified to run vSAN.


Start small, finish big

Today, you can simply start off with small requirement, and as your need requires, grow storage or compute independently, or grow both together. As demand increases, with vSAN there is always the option to scale up by adding more disk drives or scale out by adding more nodes. This means lower initial investment, less complex planning and eliminates inconsistent scaling.


Why now?

HCI and vSAN is the future.

We just crossed the threshold of over 20,000 enterprises deploying vSAN and its now widely accepted as a proven storage solution for virtualised environments. The same technology is also deployed at Cloud-Scale on the “VMware Cloud on AWS” offering that is home to many critical workloads.

There is little reason to not consider vSAN in your next storage/server refresh or next virtualisation project, given its ability to streamline operations, save costs and future proof your datacenter. As vSAN adoption continues to grow, we are now preparing our early adopters for the next phase of the HCI journey with VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). VCF will help customers spearhead their path to hybrid cloud through a full stack hyperconverged infrastructure, with consistent infrastructure and operations.


Your next server refresh, could be your last storage refresh.