Enabling The Green and Virtual Data Center

Greg Schulz

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VMware vSAN V6.6 Part II (just the speeds feeds features please)

In case you missed it, VMware announced vSAN 6.6 hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software defined data infrastructure solution. This is the second of a five-part series pertaining to VMware vSAN V6.6. View Part I here, part III (reducing cost and complexity) located here, part IV (scaling ROBO and data centers today) 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.

Just the Speeds and Feeds Please

For those who just want to see the list of what’s new with vSAN V6.6, here you go:

  • Native encryption for data-at-rest
  • Compliance certifications
  • Resilient management independent of vCenter
  • Degraded Disk Handling v2.0 (DDHv2)
  • Smart repairs and enhanced rebalancing
  • Intelligent rebuilds using partial repairs
  • Certified file service & data protection solutions
  • Stretched clusters with local failure protection
  • Site affinity for stretched clusters
  • 1-click witness change for Stretched Cluster
  • vSAN Management Pack for vRealize
  • Enhanced vSAN SDK and PowerCLI
  • Simple networking with Unicast
  • vSAN Cloud Analytics with real-time support notification and recommendations
  • vSAN ConfigAssist with 1-click hardware lifecycle management
  • Extended vSAN Health Services
  • vSAN Easy Install with 1-click fixes
  • Up to 50% greater IOPS for all-flash with optimized checksum and dedupe
  • Support for new next-gen workloads
  • vSAN for Photon in Photon Platform 1.1
  • Day 0 support for latest flash technologies
  • Expanded caching tier choice
  • Docker Volume Driver 1.1

What’s New and Value Proposition of vSAN 6.6

Let’s take a closer look beyond the bullet list of what’s new with vSAN 6.6, as well as perspectives of those features to address different needs. The VMware vSAN proposition is to evolve and enable modernizing data infrastructures with HCI powered by vSphere along with vSAN.

Three main themes or characteristics (and benefits) of vSAN 6.6 include addressing (or enabling):

  • Reducing risk while scaling
  • Reducing cost and complexity
  • Scaling for today and tomorrow

VMware vSAN 6.6 summary
Image via VMware

Reducing risk while scaling

Reducing (or removing) risk while evolving your data infrastructure with HCI including flexibility of choosing among five support hardware vendors along with native security. This includes native security, availability and resiliency enhancements (including intelligent rebuilds) without sacrificing storage efficiency (capacity) or effectiveness (performance productivity), management and choice.

VMware vSAN DaRE
Image via VMware

Datastore level Data at Rest Encryption (DaRE) of all vSAN datastore objects that are enabled at a cluster level. The new functionality supports hybrid along with all flash SSD as well as stretched clusters. The VMware vSAN DaRE implementation is an alternative to using self-encrypting drives (SEDs) reducing cost, complexity and management activity. All vSAN features including data footprint reduction (DFR) features such as compression and deduplication are supported. For security, vSAN DaRE integrations with compliance key management technologies including those from SafeNet, Hytrust, Thales and Vormetric among others.

VMware vSAN management
Image via VMware

ESXi HTML 5 based host client, along with CLI via ESXCLI for administering vSAN clusters as an alternative in case your vCenter server(s) are offline. Management capabilities include monitoring of critical health and status details along with configuration changes.

VMware vSAN health management
Image via VMware

Health monitoring enhancements include handling of degraded vSAN devices with intelligence proactively detecting impending device failures. As part of the functionality, if a replica of the failing (or possible soon to fail) device exists, vSAN can take action to maintain data availability.

Where to Learn More

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

What this all means

With each new release, vSAN is increasing its feature, functionality, resiliency and extensiveness associated with traditional storage and non-CI or HCI solutions. Continue reading more about VMware vSAN 6.6 in Part I here, part III (reducing cost and complexity) located here, part IV (scaling ROBO and data centers today) 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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Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.