vSAN is one of three pillars of VMware’s network functions virtualization infrastructure (NFVI). The company offers vSphere for compute, vSAN for storage, and NSX for networking. These components also comprise VMware’s hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) for software-defined data centers (SDDCs).
VMware initially released vSAN in 2014. Customers like it because they can manage compute with native storage, said Michael Haag, group manager, product marketing with VMware. “vSAN is embedded directly into the kernel of vSphere,” he said. “And it’s managed completely from vCenter, the same management that manages vSphere.”
VMware announced in its last quarterly earnings call that it has more than 7,000 customers for vSAN. Haag said the company is following more of a DevOps model for vSAN updates with new releases coming about every six months.
One new feature in vSAN 6.6 is the inclusion of software-defined encryption, featuring simplified key management to protect against unwanted access to data. Haag said the vSAN Encryption runs in the software layer as opposed to more traditional security that relies on encrypting drives within hardware.
Other new features in vSAN 6.6 include:
- A new management stack enables customers to monitor and manage the storage platform in the event vCenter Server is offline.
- Enhanced stretched clusters provide resiliency against both site and local component failures. “It’s a fully distributed system; there’s no single point of failure,” said Haag. “A stretched cluster allows us to take that data storage and stretch it between two separate data centers with active-active storage. Both sites are seeing the same storage volume.”
- vSAN Cloud Analytics provides real-time support notifications and custom recommendations to help customers optimize their vSAN environment.
- Faster flash performance and support for new hardware, including support for Intel’s Optane NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs), which are slated to be released soon. “We support all flash systems because that’s where most customers are going,” said Haag. “Software-defined storage is very hardware agnostic.”