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I am busy familiarising myself with the revamped and new storage options going from vShpere v5.5 to vShpere v6.5. VMware Virtual SAN is an interesting beast but would like to know how the real life perspectives are. Our current production environment has three ESXi virtual hosts attached to a simple iSCSI storage unit (ReadyDATA 5500). At our offsite, we have two ESXi virtual hosts connected also to iSCSI based storage unit (EMC Clarrion AX4). Our biggest challenge is that cost of storage units from EMC, NetApp and HP are very hard to quantify as we basically just require block based storage which is certified by VMware, good support in case we can not deal with a problem and parts availability for at least 5-10 years. VMware Virtual SAN seems like a very cost effective option to build reliable shared storage. It also seems that the virtual SAN nodes could exceed basic storage unit by a long shot at fraction of the price and provide more flexibility. I am busy obtaining pricing for some entry level vSAN nodes from Supermicro (5TB) and will also look into what HP has to offer. I would like to find out the following:

  1. Is the recommended two to three vSAN node requirement to be strictly followed? Can I get away having a two node vSAN for our offsite?
  2. From the sound, I can get good performance by having flash accelerated SATA drives or 10k SAS. We currently using 15K SAS drives in a RAID10 setup.
  3. Did anybody go through an elaborate exercise of converting their current shared storage environment to a VMware virtual SAN infrastructure?

I can provide more details - so please feel free to ask.

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You can find information about VMware certified storage using VMware Compatibility Guide

From my experience, StarWind Virtual SAN and HPE StoreVirtual VSA are VMware certified and provide to vSphere Cluster highly available and fault tolerant storage presenting local disks as iSCSI ones those you might be interested in. They have required SSD cache functionality and replication. Running both solutions in the lab, I can sum-up that if you need fair performance try StarWind. Due to iSER support, it utilizes the full capacity of storage performance.

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  • The HPE StoreVirtual VSA run too expensive. StarWind's Virtual SAN looks very good as it would mean I could basically get JBODs. Will most defently look further into it. – Bernd Jul 22 '17 at 11:56
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  1. Is the recommended two to three vSAN node requirement to be strictly followed? Can I get away having a two node vSAN for our offsite?

A: Yes, you can go with the ROBO version of vSAN. It's different from the licensing perspective though: VMware charges per VM packs rather than per CPU sockets.

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2015/09/11/vmware-virtual-san-robo-edition/

https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/products/vsan/vmware-vsan-65-licensing-guide.pdf

  1. From the sound, I can get good performance by having flash accelerated SATA drives or 10k SAS. We currently using 15K SAS drives in a RAID10 setup.

A: For performance you'd have to look at their all-flash deployments. It's licensed differently from ROBO, see link above.

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2015/02/13/vmware-virtual-san-all-flash-configuration/

  1. Did anybody go through an elaborate exercise of converting their current shared storage environment to a VMware virtual SAN infrastructure?

A: Lots of people did. It's poking around since mid-2015 I guess and VMware claims 5,000+ paying customers so far.

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  • Thanks a lot for that - ROBO, however, has a maximum virtual machine of 25 limit. The licensing sheet is very helpful. I think I will be fine without going all-flash. We currently have 1110 max write IOPS on our fastest storage tier. – Bernd Jul 22 '17 at 11:55
  • Oh, you don't need AF for 1,000 IOPS! – BaronSamedi1958 Jul 23 '17 at 10:36

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