VMware vSAN Review

I'm able to scale my system for more users by ordering an additional host and over-provisioning.

What is most valuable?

Performance is the most valuable feature because you are moving the storage closer to the CPU. It’s also cheap. We also evaluated an all-flash array, but even a low-end flash is much more expensive. This is much cheaper.

How has it helped my organization?

Concrete benefits would be manageability; we don’t have a storage guy because there is less stuff to deal with.

The savings is not the issue but I can scale my system – I’m building the node for 200 users, but all I will have to do is order another host and it will be configured exactly the same, and they are over-provisioned in terms of memory.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using VMWare since it was a beta test.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don’t know, but my gut feeling is that it distributes across the hosts, which should be very stable, and it’s all done at the hypervisor level. I don’t think we’ll have any issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think it’s scalable in a linear fashion. We’ve outgrown our low-end SAN and hit a wall. We didn’t have a storage guy so we hit a wall when we hit 180 users and it was thrashing the SAN. With VSAN, that kind of issue – especially using the sizing tool – says that you should be more than fine. We're a small shop so we don’t have any doubt that it will scale to size.

How are customer service and technical support?

They are the best in class – I hold everyone else to their standard. They solve the problem and work the problem. I’m kind of spoiled because I also get federal support so I get especially good service. I have always found their support to be stellar.

I had an issue a few years ago where my hosts were dropping and I couldn’t connect to them, so for three days I worked with VMWare. I went through four shifts of support staff, and they stayed with me. It was a 72 hour outage and I got back around to my original guy, and he figured it out. They are amazing. They don’t point a finger – with IBM they would hand it off from one guy to another and will never ever tell you that.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We replaced our infrastructure and did a proper POC. It’s cheap enough that we can still use the hosts and hook a SAN in, and everyone will get an SSD at their desks, so most of the cost is infrastructure. I loved it when I heard about it – virtualized storage and a distributed RAID. Makes total sense.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Their licensing gets a bit confusing, it’s hard to get the hang of that.

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