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A refreshing new way to manage and share centralized data

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on June 21, 2016 by Allan Meace

What if I told you of new way to manage and share data pools with a bold, flexible, yet easy enterprise-level storage…and you won’t be tied into a single proprietary appliance or hardware vendor. You may even be able to utilize what you have installed already.

Hyperconvergence is creating tectonic shifts in the IT world, using revolutionary new technology to offset the way things have always been done. Since the sixties, we’ve just followed the lemming in front of us trapping ourselves in the mindset where the only way to manage and share centralized data is to have large dedicated arrays of disks. Enter VMware’s vSAN.

What vSAN actually does
VMware Virtual SAN is a radically simple, enterprise-class native storage for VMware Hyper-Converged Software solutions. Uniquely embedded in the hypervisor, Virtual SAN delivers high performance, flash-optimized hyper-converged storage for any virtualized application—at a fraction of the cost of traditional, purpose-built storage and other less-efficient hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

Virtual SAN clusters server-attached flash devices and/or hard disks to provide a flash-optimized, highly resilient shared datastore suitable for a variety of workloads including business-critical applications, virtual desktops, remote IT, DR, and DevOps infrastructure.

In other words, vSAN is server-based. It abstracts storage from hardware, then pools all of the physical resources within that single server together with other servers with local storage!

Why vSAN is ideal for pay-as-you-grow models
vSan utilizes reference architecture with ready nodes allowing for vendor-approved architectures to take the familiar server, storage, and networking we’re all used to and adds a sleek new software layer on top.

This is absolutely ideal for a ‘pay-as-you-grow’ mentality than can scale out as you need – simply by adding resources in a granular way when more are required.

Taking it a step further, including VMware’s virtual networking product called NSX across your datacenter will enhance ease of use, performance, and security with micro-segmentation. Imagine we could go back to when we “invented” networking and just start over, re-imagining everything from the start based on what we know now.

What would you change? I know spanning trees, control planes, 7 different layers of communication, port forwarding and throttling, QOS, routing and firewalls all contribute to our frustrations.

Add in NSX, right onto your existing infrastructure
That is what NSX does – it converged all features into a single, cohesive and intelligent virtual layer of networking that can be implemented on your existing networking infrastructure. Additionally, micro-segmentation within NSX allows you to put a virtual firewall around every VM to protect your internal and east/west traffic, instead of having a single perimeter fence around your backyard. NSX shrink wraps your data and policies follow your users no matter what the device.

Combining VSAN and NSX for the reasons above is taking off in the End-User Computing and Virtual Desktop environments.

By scaling storage and performance (utilizing server-side storage in VSAN), offering a unified experience to all users on any device (using VMware’s SDDC), and protecting all data from all sides with NSX and microsegmentation – you can see how the Software-Defined Datacenter is becoming the standard.

What’s New in vSAN 6.2?
As of the press release on February 10 2016, there are vast improvements in 6.2 for enhanced performance and security on an already simple platform. Newly released, long-awaited features including:

  • Erasure Coding to utilize RAID 5/6 for space savings,
  • Deduplication and Compression on all-flash arrays,
  • Stretched Cluster Support across sites,
  • Enhanced Replication between clusters, and (coming out later this year)
  • Encryption all set VMware’s Software Defined Storage solution now further set vSAN apart from anyone else in the virtual space.

Pair this with VSAN’s inherent design for read-intensive workloads and you have a storage solution built for next generation deployments and mission-critical applications.

For a deeper look into the new features, one of our best resources at VMware, Kevin Groat, created this What’s New in VSAN 6.2 Video:

How do you know vSAN is right for your business?
How will vSAN affect my applications? How does it integrate with MY vision of the Software-Defined Datacenter? What do I believe when sifting through countless blurbs and opinions all over the internet? How can you embrace the technology but not be locked in with proprietary appliances?

Softchoice offers the most comprehensive Datacenter TechCheck Assessment in the industry to analyze your hardware and software workflows, combined with our Virtualization Optimization TechCheck and resources, we can show you how the technology will allow you to be more flexible than ever. We will even wrap it in a nice bow with current VMware promotions.

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