VMware vSAN V6.6 Part IV (HCI scaling ROBO and data centers today)

April 11, 2017 – 10:10 pm

server storage I/O trends

VMware vSAN V6.6 Part IV (HCI scaling ROBO and data centers today)

In case you missed it, VMware announced vSAN v6.6 hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software defined data infrastructure solution. This is the fourth of a five-part series about VMware vSAN V6.6. View Part I here, Part II (just the speeds feeds please) is located here, part III (reducing cost and complexity) located here, as well as part V here (VMware vSAN evolution, where to learn more and summary).

VMware vSAN 6.6
Image via VMware

For those who are not aware, vSAN is a VMware virtual Storage Area Network (e.g. vSAN) that is software-defined, part of being a software-defined data infrastructure (SDDI) and software-defined data center (SDDC). Besides being software-defined vSAN is HCI combining compute (server), I/O networking, storage (space and I/O) along with hypervisors, management, and other tools.

Scaling HCI for ROBO and data centers today and for tomorrow

Scaling with stability for today and tomorrow. This includes addressing your applications Performance, Availability, Capacity and Economics (PACE) workload requirements today and for the future. By scaling with stability means boosting performance, availability (data protection, security, resiliency, durable, FTT), effective capacity without one of those attributes compromising another.

VMware vSAN data center scaling
Image via VMware

Scaling today for tomorrow also means adapting to today’s needs while also flexible to evolve with new application workloads, hardware as well as a cloud (public, private, hybrid, inter and intra-cloud). As part of continued performance improvements, enhancements to optimize for higher performance flash SSD including NVMe based devices.

VMware vSAN cloud analytics
Image via VMware

Part of scaling with stability means enhancing performance (as well as productivity) or the effectiveness of a solution. Keep in mind that efficiency is often associated with storage (or server or network) space capacity savings or reductions. In that context then effectiveness means performance and productivity or how much work can be done with least overhead impact. With vSAN, V6.6 performance enhancements include reduced checksum overhead, enhanced compression, and deduplication, along with destaging optimizations.

Other enhancements that help collectively contribute to vSAN performance improvements include VMware object handling (not to be confused with cloud or object storage S3 or Swift objects) as well as faster iSCSI for vSAN. Also improved are more accurate refined cache sizing guidelines. Keep in mind that a little bit of NAND flash SSD or SCM in the right place can have a significant benefit, while a lot of flash cache costs much cash.

Part of enabling and leveraging new technology today includes support for larger capacity 1.6TB flash SSD drives for cache, as well as lower read latency with 3D XPoint and NVMe drives such as those from Intel among others. Refer to the VMware vSAN HCL for current supported devices which continue evolve along with the partner ecosystem. Future proofing is also enabled where you can grow from today to tomorrow as new storage class memories (SCM) among other flash SSD as well as NVMe enhanced storage among other technologies are introduced into the market as well as VMware vSAN HCL.

VMware vSAN and data center class applications
Image via VMware

Traditional CI and in particular many HCI solutions have been optimized or focused on smaller application workloads including VDI resulting in the perception that HCI, in general, is only for smaller environments, or larger environment non-mission critical workloads. With vSAN V6.6 VMware is addressing and enabling larger environment mission critical applications including Intersystem Cache medical health management software among others. Other application workload extensions including support for higher performance demanding Hadoop big data analytics, a well as extending virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) workspace with XenDesktop/XenApp, along with Photon 1.1 container support.

What about VMware vSAN 6.6. Packaging and License Options

As part of vSAN 6.6 VMware several solution bundle packaged options for the data center as well as smaller ROBO environment. Contact your VMware representative or partner to learn more about specific details.

VMware vSAN cloud analytics
Image via VMware

VMware vSAN cloud analytics
Image via VMware

Where to Learn More

The following are additional resources to find out more about vSAN and related technologies.

What this all means

Continue reading more about VMware vSAN 6.6 in part I here, part II (just the speeds feeds please) is located here, part III (reducing cost and complexity) located here as well as part V here (VMware vSAN evolution, where to learn more and summary).

Ok, nuff said (for now…).


Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert (and vSAN). Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Watch for the Spring 2017 release of his new book “Software-Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials” (CRC Press).

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