VMware Software Defined Data Center Review

Storage and network processes are much faster, all done with just a keyboard

What is most valuable?

I think the best way to think of it is, all the reasons why virtualization is so important to compute, SDDC gives to things like network and storage.

How has it helped my organization?

Things that used to take a real long time to do with compute are much faster with virtualization. Now it's the same thing with storage and network because you don't have to worry about any physical hardware. You need additional load balancing or firewall or even a VLAN stretch somewhere, it's now all done with just a keyboard.

What needs improvement?

The biggest operational change I'd like to see them do with vSAN is to change the actual underlying way the storage is done, so that every node and every disc in the cluster equally participates in all reads and writes. It isn't set up that way right now. I know that's an insane thing to ask because it would require completely rewriting the application.

For NSX I don't know if there's anything that needs to come out right away, partially because we have not started using it yet. Also, because we're so far behind the times, by the time we start using it all the features we need will already be available.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

SDDC is a mix of a range of products so it's tough to kind of answer that. But, I think that by the time it makes it to first customer-ship it's usually good enough that it can be used for most use cases.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Again, two different products. I think the scalability of vSAN is good enough if you consider that most people aren't going to put clusters together larger than 12 or 14 or 16 nodes anyway. NSX doesn't really have a scaling issue so I guess it scales really well.

How is customer service and technical support?

I haven't used it for this solution. I do have the OEM contact. We're only in the discovery phase for software designed storage with vSAN, and we're not even really in discovery for NSX which is the networking side of it. So we haven't really had any production issues because it's not in production yet.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Regarding having used a different solution, that's a tough question to answer. Software defined data center means that there were things that were in the datacenter that weren't software defined and now they are. So I guess we were using other stuff before. But, it wasn't software defined.

The switch is a business conversation, usually around cost avoidance or, potentially, return on investment. It's typically cheaper to do things in software than in hardware and that's the direction we're going.

The main reason we chose VMware is it's very attractive for us, particularly for a VxRail solution from EMC, that every single piece of hardware and software is made by the same company. So there are no inner operability issues. There's no cat and mouse, there's no one trying to play catch-up. As soon as VMware comes out with a new whatever, EMC has it and it works and it's tested.

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the setup at this company. But, I was at a previous one.

There's a lot to it. vSAN is not as straightforward as it could be. But, partnering with Dell EMC, they put together an appliance called VxRail which is extremely easy to use. They solved all the problems.

Anybody could do setup for VxRail. It asks you 15 minutes of questions and you walk away and it's done.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Definitely Nutanix for vSAN is on our shortlist. ACI and NSX, like everybody else. They're the only two players in this space.

What other advice do I have?

The most important thing to look for in selecting a vendor is total cost of ownership.

As for advice, you probably are already, but if your aren't, you need to be looking at SDDC because it's just such an easier, faster, safer, cheaper way of deploying a datacenter.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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