vSAN Assessment Tool Update

Shameless re-post, but an important one.

The vSAN Assessment Tool has been updated.

New features.

  • Re-bootless install – In the past you had to bring a host into maintenance mode to install the collector appliance. But now, with re-bootless install, that requirement has been eliminated! Simply install and execute with no worries about creating change control tickets, or needing to wait for maintenance windows.
  • Runtime reduction from 1 week to 2 days. Who doesn’t like getting results quicker? Now, in just 2 days you can see how vSAN will benefit your environment. With a shorter duration, it is recommended to run the assessment during peak workloads to provide more accurate sizing data.
  • Key new features to actively monitor the status of your assessment while it is running.
    • Collector configuration details displaying:
      • Assessment type i.e. per VM or per Cluster
      • Whether offline or online mode has been selected
      • Configured duration for running the assessment
    • Status of Jobs – showing the total number of jobs processed while the assessment is running, the number of running jobs, queued jobs and pending jobs.

Check out the blog here.

Take the plunge into HCI – Run a simple vSAN Assessment!


New vSAN in 3 Minutes Vidoes

We’d like to continue the success of the vSAN i 3 Mins video series. We’d like to hear from you what is missing and what you would like to see.

We will have more coming in 2017 as we release more vSAN features of course.

Here is the current list

VSAN for ROBO Changes with VSAN 6.5


Previously I have described why I think VSAN and ROBO use cases are a perfect match (see http://vsanteam.info/why-vsan-and-robo-is-a-perfect-match/) however here are several key changes for VSAN ROBO customers in Virtual SAN 6.5 which I believe make it even more compelling

  • Supporting the use of network crossover cables in 2-node configurations.
  • Extending workload support to physical servers and clustered applications with the introduction of an iSCSI target service.
  • Addition of VSAN Advanced for ROBO SKU (Allowing for Space Efficiency features)
  • VSAN Standard and VSAN Standard for ROBO (Allows All-Flash hardware, without Space Efficiency features)

Let’s focus on the first two initially.

In many cases customers have told me that the cost of a single or multiple 10gb switches at remote sites can be somewhat cost prohibitive. Whilst we have supported 1gb networking in these scenarios, almost all of the servers now days ship with 10gb interfaces and using them has become highly desirable for most customers. In addition, for some customers the network infrastructure onsite is sometimes out of scope or unable to be upgraded during this process. In this case, with VSAN 6.5 we allow customers to use a crossover cable to directly connect the two servers, essentially cutting out the network costs, providing significant savings especially when rolling out many sites.


In addition we now also allow customers to use VSAN as an iSCSI target. The use cases we support are allowing customers to connect clustered servers (SQL etc) or physical servers to use the VSAN storage capacity.


Why I say that this in an interesting addition for VSAN ROBO customers, is there are many many customers who have told me they also have the odd physical server on site which requires some form of redundant storage. By bringing these two features together customers can now remove the need for external storage for these servers, further reducing the cost of infrastructure to support remote office/branch office deployments and additionally reducing the operational overhead of supporting external storage.

The other two changes are purely from a pricing and packaging standpoint where we now allow customers who by VSAN Standard licences (including VSAN for ROBO Standard) to use All-Flash hardware. Many customers wanted the ability and flexibility to purchase Flash technology and didn’t feel they should have to pay a premium. However customers who purchase VSAN Standard are not able to turn on Space Efficiency features such as deduplication, compression and erasure coding.

Lastly, in previous releases VSAN for ROBO was only available as a Standard SKU meaning customers were unable to use the features mentioned above in the ROBO 25 VM pack. This is a great change for customers who are now standardising on VSAN Advanced and particularly All-Flash configurations.

For a further look at what we announced in Virtual SAN 6.5 check here https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2016/10/18/vmware-virtual-san-6-5-whats-new/



10 Must See VSAN Sessions @ VMworld US

VMworld 2016 is only a few weeks away and once again it promises to be a HUGE event. I know many of the presenters are working on some awesome content and just maybe a few surprises. We will have plenty of stands, demos and a huge number of sessions to attend and be part of.

11220061_10152987425872691_8685634898144618972_nVirtual SAN Booth (2015)

If you are a VSAN customer, partner or just interested to learn more here is my list of non-negotiable sessions I would be adding to my schedule (in no particular order).

A Day in the Life of a VSAN I/O [STO7875]
Duncan Epping, Chief Technologist, VMware
John Nicholson, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, VMware

Virtual SAN – Day 2 Operations [STO7534]
Cormac Hogan, Senior Staff Engineer, VMware
Paudie ORiordan, Staff Engineer, VMware

VSAN Networking Deep Dive and Best Practices [STO8165R]
John Nicholson, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, VMware
Ankur Pai, Sr Manager VSAN R&D, VMware

Extreme Performance Series: Virtual SAN Performance Troubleshooting [STO8743]
Zach Shen, Sr. MTS, VMware, Inc.
Ruijin Zhou, Member of Technical Staff, VMware Inc.

Evolution of VMware Virtual SAN [STO9058]
Christos Karamanolis, VMware Fellow – CTO of Storage and Availability, VMware
Vijay Ramachandran, Sr. Dir Product Management, VMware

Virtual SAN Management Current & Future [STO7904]
Christian Dickmann, VSAN Architect, VMware

Virtual SAN: Introducing the Best HCI Platform for Containers and Cloud-Native Applications [STO8256]
Christian Dickmann, VSAN Architect, VMware
Rawlinson Rivera, Principal Architect Office of CTO – SABU, VMware, Inc

An Industry Roadmap: From storage to data management [STO7903]
Christos Karamanolis, VMware Fellow – CTO of Storage and Availability, VMware

The Future is Here: Turbocharge All Flash Virtual SAN with Next Generation Hardware [STO7953]
Bhumik Patel, Partner Architect, VMware
Rakesh Radhakrishnan, Product Management & Strategy Leader, VMware

Rawlinson Rivera, Principal Architect Office of CTO – SABU, VMware, Inc
John Whitman, Sr. Systems Engineer, VMware

There are many other great VSAN sessions so you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy if these don’t. The full content catalog can be viewed here http://www.vmworld.com/uscatalog.jspa if you are registered.

Do you have an interesting story to share or a question? we’d love to speak to you if you come by the VSAN booth. We’ll be there the entire event.

Changing your Default VSAN Storage Policy

Storage Policy Based Management is the lynchpin of VMware Software Defined Storage capability. It provides the ability for a user to define a set of policies, be they based on an SLA and application, workload type or other to be used both at the time of provisioning and the lifetime of the VM to enforce compliance.

Virtual SAN and Virtual Volumes both make use of SPBM and allow capabilities to be configured once and deployed many times and indeed, changed on the fly if and when requirements change. Importantly this is done at the granularity of an object which allows different VMDK’s to have different storage characteristics from eachother or Swap to be different than VMDK’s as an example.

Virtual SAN uses a Default Storage Policy which specifies a few basic rules which are applied to each VSAN object as it is created. In conversation this week I was presented a situation whereby a user wanted to maintain the settings of the Default Storage Policy without adaptation however wanted the ability to set a particular ‘user created’ policy as the default policy used for each newly create VSAN object.

The use case here would to ensure the default VSAN configuration remained largely untouched so in the event of a problem and the defaults could be configured without any delay, however there are also other uses for this. When you have more than 1 VSAN cluster in the vCenter it’s entirely feasible and highly common for these workloads to be different. In this case you may want to define ‘user created’ policy and specify individual defaults and naming to avoid any confusion. In addition, you might have 2 vCenters in Linked Mode both running VSAN Cluster in which case you would have multiple Default VSAN Storage Policies. As the Default Policy cannot be renamed it might be wise to define your own and once again configure defaults at the Datastore layer.

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.46.22 PM

Fig 1 – Multiple Virtual SAN Default Storage Policies

This process is quite easy and is actually possible within the U

  • Select a Default VSAN Policy from the Datastore UI

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.14.50 PM

Fig 2 – Assigning Default Datastore Policy

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 9.20.46 PM

Fig 3 – Selecting ‘user created’ new default policy

Given that there is a 1:1 mapping of SBPM to vCenter Servers and therefore 1 Default VSAN Policy per vCenter, we may need to define our own configuration if we have multiple clusters with different workloads. As each VSAN cluster has a 1:1 mapping to the Datastore it makes more sense for the SPBM to configure the policy at each Datastore. Hopefully this post explains why and how to achieve this.