VMworld2015LogoToday at VMworld the new version of Virtual SAN, version 6.1, was introduced. VMware’sVirtual SAN leverages local storage in servers and delivers it to the vSphere cluster as a virtual SAN. vSAN was introduced in 2014 as version 5.5. The new features are pretty impressive. Initially Virtual SAN required to have at least 1 SSD and 2 SAS or SATA disks per node with a minimum of 3 nodes. With the new version you have more options and better protection.

Virtual SAN basically comes in 2 flavors:Virtual SAN Standard andVirtual SAN Advanced. With vSAN standard you have these features:

  • Storage Policy Management
  • Read/Write SSD Caching
  • Distribured RAID
  • Virtual Distributed Switch Support
  • Virtual SAN Snapshots and Clones
  • Rack Awareness
  • vRealize Operations Management Pack
  • Virtual SAN Replication (5 minute RPO)

With Virtual SAN Advanced these features are added:

  • Stretched Cluster
  • All FlashVirtual SAN Support

So, what’s new?VMworld2015FeaturedImage

The new features list is pretty impressive. Check it out:

  • Enterprise Availability and Data Protection
    • Stretched Cluster with RPO=0, metro-distance (Advanced version only)
    • 5 min RPO vSphere Replication
    • Support for SMP-FT
    • Support for Oracle RAC and Microsoft MSCS
  • Advanced Management and Troubleshooting
    • Health Check plug-in for HW monitoring, compliance
    • vRealize Operations integration for capacity planning and root-cause analysis
    • Support cloud-native apps
  • New Hardware Options
    • 2-node clusters for ROBO
    • New SSD HW options:
      • Intel NVMe
      • Diablo Ultra DIMM

NVMe (Non Volatile Memory, Express) is a communications protocol developed developed to overcome the SAS/SATA bus limitations, specifically for SSDs, allowing for greater parallelism to be utilized by both hardware and software and as a result various performance improvements. Leveraging NVMe in a Virtual SAN all flash deployment resulted in 3.2M IOPS measured on a 32-node cluster at about  100.000 IOPS per Host.

Ultra DIMM SSDs connect flash storage to the memory channel via DIMM slots, achieving very low (<5us) write latency. Ultra DIMM provides even greater density and performance. For example, it allows for a 12-TB All Flash Virtual SAN host in a thin blade form factor, as well as 3x improvement in latency compared to external arrays. For those of you who don’t know Diablo Ultra DIMM, check out our article from VMworld 2014 on this innovative technology

Upgrade Path

If you already have vSAN 6, how can you upgrade to v6.1? There are a few upgrade paths.

If you have You can upgrade to
Virtual SAN 6.0 Virtual SAN Standard 6.1
Virtual SAN 6.0  withAll Flash Add-On Virtual SAN Advanced 6.1
Virtual SAN for Desktop 6.0 Virtual SAN Standard for Desktop 6.1
Virtual SAN for Desktop 6.0 All Flash Add-On Virtual SAN Advanced for Desktop 6.1

Also check out the vSAN webpage at VMware