VMware vSAN Review

We use it as the basis for DMZ environments, production environments, and DR sites.


Valuable Features

The most valuable features of the product are its basic functionality and that it's all so simple to implement. The performance is also another very useful feature :-)

Improvements to My Organization

We are a partner and we're using Virtual SAN for nearly more than half of our customers, VMware-based customers, and we use it as the basis for DMZ environments, production environments, and DR sites. It's getting a lot better to sell VMware solutions and to make the customer happy.

Room for Improvement

I'm part of the Beta program, so I know what's going to come up in the next version.
Room for improvement would be support for more NVMe-based devices and especially firmware combinations; that's sometimes a problem. Also, support for special SAS controllers. We have some special customer settings where we solved the customer’s special configuration nearly two years ago, and now it's no longer supported officially for the newest release. There’s room for improvement there.

Use of Solution

We have used VMware Virtual SAN since the beginning of version 5.5. It is awesome to see the evolution of the product. We implemented it at a customer site since the first version.

Stability Issues

We had some purple screens of death at the beginning, but that was only due to hardware problems. Today, it's very stable and nearly rock solid; so, very nice.

Scalability Issues

Most of our customers are using it for up to eight hosts in a cluster. Normally, we know - and our customers know - that you can easily scale up to 64 machines, but today, up to eight is absolutely enough.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is very good. I need them only two times. There was a driver firmware issue; that's all. We extracted all the log files and prepared them for support. They were able to identify the problem within about four to six hours; so, really good.

Previous Solutions

We were pretty happy with the release before, the VSA version, but it was discontinued. We have many customers who implement the VSAN ROBO solution. We are part of the roadmap discussion and we're going to know what comes up next, so we're pretty happy with the new release.

Initial Setup

Initial setup and implementation was pretty easy. It's all about the design and all about the thinking process at the beginning of a product; so implementation was pretty easy.

Other Solutions Considered

We're a VMware partner, a Nutanix partner, a SimpliVity partner and a Cisco partner. Personally, VSAN is the best solution for most customers and workloads.

Other Advice

I would like to give them a perfect rating if the VMware driver issues, especially with NVMEs, are going to be fixed. Then I would absolutely agree a perfect rating, because we've set up with customers using VSAN Hybrid. We have customers using VSAN All-Flash and it's so simple for the customer to implement, to troubleshoot... It's all about the design and thinking process at the beginning of a project. That's why we are there as a partner.

My advice is to definitely test it out; not listen to all the marketing stuff. Test it out on real-life environments, and especially test it out on newer systems. Don’t test it out on five- or six-year-old servers, because you won’t be able to get the best performance.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is a partner.
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