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Is VMware VSAN ready for business critical VMs?

Posted on 2015-02-17
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Last Modified: 2015-03-31
We're looking at a refresh of our virtual environment late this year or early next, and I'm taking the opportunity to reexamine our architecture. Currently we have a 9TB SAN with dual everything connecting to three hosts with a total of 55 VMs. However, even with this I don't like that the SAN is single point of failure, especially since we've had a dual controller reset on the SAN before (absolutely not fun). However, I understand a physical SAN, I understand its limitations, and it's a proven technology.

VSAN makes a lot of sense to me on the theoretical level, and I can see it being the future of virtualized storage. However, it's only been a year since VMware released their VSAN product.

So, is VMware VSAN ready for a production environment with business critical VMs on it?
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Question by:donohoe1
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10 Comments
 
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Zephyr ICT
ID: 40614845
That's a very good question, difficult to answer and it will always start with a "it depends"... That being said, my opinion is also one of those it depends, I say it's kinda ready but depending on the needs might still need to grow a little.

My favourite source to read up on all things vsan is here
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Author Comment

by:donohoe1
ID: 40614865
What are the needs where it might still need to grow a little?
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Zephyr ICT
ID: 40614951
1 thing off the top of my mind, deduplication, if that is a feature you use right now ... You need to make sure your hardware is VSAN ready, same goes for VMware itself of course, but still, there are things to consider... Things are improving in VSAN6 though ... Optimally you also need 4 hosts, 3 works, but 4 is recommended...
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LVL 121
ID: 40616208
VSAN 6.0 is!

We have been using it in beta for 18 months!

Test drive it and trial!
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Author Comment

by:donohoe1
ID: 40616503
We don't do anything special with our SAN. No snapshots, no dedup, no cloning, nothing. It's only a (fairly) reliable place to store our VMs. Our number one priority is reliability.
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

by:Zephyr ICT
Zephyr ICT earned 167 total points
ID: 40616516
In my opinion VSAN would be a very good solution, if you have the room and need for the required hosts.
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Author Comment

by:donohoe1
ID: 40616525
We have plenty of room.

We're planning on running four hosts regardless, so the question would be are they hooked up to a SAN or do we load them up with local storage and run a VSAN?

As I mentioned, my largest concern is having the most reliable solution. We've already had a dual controller reset on our SAN which effectively took down our entire network. Not to mention, firmware updates on the SAN are tricky and difficult beasts.
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LVL 121

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 166 total points
ID: 40616541
If you are having SAN issues then time for a stable software defined solution.

vSAN 6.0 now supports all Flashbir SSD so fully load all servers with flash on the HCL and Server HCLband your are set to go.
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LVL 5

Accepted Solution

by:
Dawid Fusek earned 167 total points
ID: 40626849
That's true that technology need to stay some time on the market to be fully stable but with VMware ESXi solutions it's in most cases not really needed.

If you will use ONLY HCL hardware, all, mean server, SSD and HDD on the server you may be sure it will be fully stable solution for years, if vSAN looking ok for you there is no real objections not to use it.

So use vSAN and ESXi with ONLY HCL hw and your data will be safe.

best regards
NTShad0w
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LVL 121
ID: 40627719
Valso remember vSAN is NOT a bolt on like VSA its part of the ESXi OS!

Jusy needs enabling with a license!
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