VMware vSAN Review
You can populate an empty HDD slot on the host with a disk and the tool adds the additional storage.


What is most valuable?

The most valuable vSAN features are:

  • Ability to scale easy: Adding additional storage is so easy. You just populate an empty HDD slot on the host with a disk and vSAN will automatically add the additional storage to the storage pool. No specialized skills are required.
  • Performance and cost/storage efficiency: With vSAN, you get SSD-like performance with a mix of spinning and solid-state disks at a fraction of the cost. We use a ratio of 30/70 SSDs to spinning disks, respectively, for a high-performance SAN that is within our budget.
  • Resilience: We tried to break our vSAN PoC instance to test its robustness. We pulled out hard drives while they were being written to and we unplugged server nodes, and we never lost a VM.
  • Ease of use: We set up vSAN with a few mouse clicks in vCenter. We couldn’t believe how simple it was to setup and configure.

How has it helped my organization?

We are able to deploy vSAN clusters to remote locations very easily at a fraction of the cost. This saves us time and money. We don’t have to worry about stability issues.

What needs improvement?

Support for iSCSI access would be great, but this may be supported in the latest versions of vSAN.

We have a few physical servers in our environment and it would be great, if these servers could also access the storage in vSAN. With vSAN iSCSI support, we would be able to connect our physical servers to vSAN as well.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using this solution for two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, vSAN is very resilient, self-adapting, and self-healing. In the two years that I’ve worked with vSAN, I haven’t experienced any vSAN stability issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There haven't been any issues with scalability. Adding additional storage was as simple as inserting a hard drive into a hard drive bay or adding an additional server node to the data center cluster. That was all we had to do, and vSAN auto-configured everything.

How is customer service and technical support?

We had a VMware vSAN engineer present to set up our very first vSAN cluster. There was nothing to it, but it was great to have an expert on-site for questions and to provide us with training. Other than that, we have never had to log a support request with VMware for vSAN.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We didn’t use a virtual SAN solution previously. We just used traditional, and very expensive, SAN storage arrays. We moved to vSAN because our budget wasn’t getting any bigger, but our storage requirements were increasing.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. It literally took a few mouse clicks to setup vSAN.

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

You get better value for your money with a vSAN solution than with a traditional SAN with lower TCO.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked briefly at alternatives, but nothing stood out like vSAN. Nutanix was another solution, but surprisingly, it would have costed us more.

What other advice do I have?

Get a vSAN specialist to come out and spec your vSAN cluster according to your requirements. Have him configure it and test that it is performing properly.

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

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