What is most valuable?
The most valuable features of VSAN are consistent and increased performance with a linear cost which helped us in our data center.
Using VSAN Observer, we were able to see exactly what the VSAN environment is doing on a day to day basis, so we've gotten to really enjoy that interface.
How has it helped my organization?
The benefits that we're seeing are directly related to our customers. They have better experiences using their EMR and practice management systems.
The manageability is better, it's definitely fully integrated into the VMware stack so it's very easy to use from the web client.
What needs improvement?
The features I am most looking forward to are the performance monitoring capabilities of VSAN Observer being transitioned into the web client. That's what I'm really looking forward to.
UPDATE: Capacity and performance monitoring is now available in the web client and works well in 6.2. I am looking forward to DARE(data at rest encryption) in the next version.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have used vSAN for approximately a two years.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
We had one issue with deployment, which was related to using the legacy vsphere client to place the hosts into maintenance mode. Which is easily resolved by using the web client for maintenance.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability exceeds what we're currently on from a standard SAN platform.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability is much greater than the current SAN that we're on because we're technically locked in to a certain number of discs and a certain number of performance and so the scalability is drastically improved. We currently have a four node cluster and we're going to be just incrementally moving off of our legacy SAN.
UPDATE: We expanded our cluster to five vsan nodes however we are now in process of retrofitting four legacy hosts for a total of nine vsan nodes.
How are customer service and technical support?
Technical support was very responsive, the technical support staff was. Specifically patching hosts, we inadvertently caused VSANdata evacuations during the middle of the day. Whereas, if you were to do a maintenance mode with non-evacuation, that wouldn't happen but they were able to get to the root cause and provide us an answer on why that happened.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We made the jump to VSAN primarily due to cost renewals going up year over year on traditional platforms. The software and hardware costs that we see now is just linear, we know what it's going to be.
We actually have been with VMware for quite a while so we made the choice to use VSAN because of that partnership that we have had over the years. We're fully focused in VMware and we love the product. That's why we chose VSAN.
How was the initial setup?
I wasn't familiar at all with VSAN at the time, so there was a little learning curve there but outside of that it would be comparable to setting up a legacy SAN environment.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We actually, just by incrementally increasing the cost of our servers, plus the licensing, we were able to linearly scale our environment as opposed to doing forklift upgrades.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated other all-flash arrays and hyper converged infrastructure.
What other advice do I have?
Everybody wants to say 10 and I would say it's going to be a 10. I love VSAN and I would say it's probably an 8 and there's room for improvement. It's constantly being worked on and I think it's going to be the storage platform going forward.
Colleagues looking into VSAN, I would recommend looking into the VSAN Ready Nodes, they're pre-configured and you can customize your build to whatever you want really, without having to build your own necessarily.
We aren't currently using the Ready Nodes, but I could see where a Ready Node would be beneficial for deployment. The time to deploy would be improved using a Ready Node.
Peer reviews and peer contents are amazing things to be doing. That's part of the reason why we come here. We want to maintain our relevance, industry wide, and so we always constantly bounce ideas off of other peers in the industry.