Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Virtual SAN 6.0

As we start to look at all the new product release announcements, I think one of the more exciting announcements is Virtual SAN 6.0 with policy-based management. With the hypervisor, we have an opportunity to change the way we address storage challenges by providing granular policies that meet the business SLAs of the applications running our companies. Running all your business applications, from mission-critical applications to print servers to software content libraries on tier-2 SAN storage isn't a cost effective model. The hypervisor is uniquely positioned in the IT stack, it provides the ability to make optimal decisions around matching the demands of virtualized applications with the supply of underlying infrastructure. It allows us to transform storage, bringing the same operational efficiencies that we realized with server virtualization while providing capital efficiencies by leveraging the right storage tier to meet the business need.

How is this accomplished:
  • We virtualize the storage resources into VM-centric pools of capacity that are flexibly consumed
  • Then we automate the delivery of storage service levels to applications through a standard approach that is common across all storage tiers

Having a policy-driven framework makes it easy to provision and manage storage. It enables each VM to specify the amount of storage that is required and then the software ensures the policies are met by matching it against the underlying storage capabilities. Virtual SAN monitors it on an ongoing basis through the defined SLAs set by the application owner. This is a tremendous stride in how we manage storage, it affords us the opportunity of being able to meet business requirements in a much more cost effective manner. VSAN is becoming the ideal storage system for virtual machine workloads and with the new feature sets that are being delivered with version 6.0, it is now ready to support enterprise-class workloads.

Let's take a look at some of the new features in Virtual SAN 6.0:
  • All-Flash architecture
  • 2x greater scalability
  • 2x performance improvement with Hybrid and 4x performance improvement with All-Flash
  • Virtual SAN snapshots and clones
  • Rack Awareness
  • Support for direct-attached JBOD
With Virtual SAN 6.0, we have an All-Flash architecture, you will not only be able to use the flash storage as a read cache and a write buffer like is currently available in Virtual SAN 5.5; but you can also use it as a data persistent tier on flash media. In this architecture, the flash cache is used completely for write caching. The All-Flash architecture for VSAN will dramatically improve the performance that it can deliver, almost quadrupling the capabilities of the previous release. It allows tiering of solid-state drives; a write-intensive high endurance tier for writes and a read-intensive cost effective SSD tier for data persistence, thereby reducing the cost of the all flash architecture.

Virtual SAN All-Flash provides predictable performance with up to 90k IOPS and sub-millisecond response times, making it ideal for tier-1 workloads.

Virtual SAN 6.0 doubles the scalability of Virtual SAN 5.5 by scaling up to 64 nodes per cluster for both hybrid and all-flash configurations. Additionally, it improves VM densities by more than 50% with the ability to manage up to 200 VMs per host on hybrid and all-flash configurations.

There has also been a major performance enhancement in version 6.0 with the integration of the Virsto file system, which provides a 2x improvement in IOPS for the standard VSAN hybrid implementation. You will be able to reach up to 40K IOPS per host on a hybrid implementation and 90K IOPS per host on an all-flash implementation.

This new on-disk format not only provides improved high performance capabilities, it provides efficient and scalable high performance snapshots and clones. These are snapshots and clones that have been developed specifically for the new file system that will allow you to take an increased level of snapshots, with up to 32 per object.

With all the major enhancements in Virtual SAN 6.0, it provides both enterprise-class scale and performance to support production and business critical applications. VSAN was built from the ground up for vSphere environments, with its policy-driven framework, scalability, and its opportunity for capital savings; it is something you should be testing in your environment.

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