VMware vSAN Review

Ease of use is unparalleled - very easy to set up and very easy to administer

What is our primary use case?

Today, we use it for general compute and VDI. We have not put our VDI into production yet, but on the general compute side, it works great. The performance has been exemplary.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are ease of deployment and ease of management. If you compare it to other software-defined storage products, it's much easier. It's a checkbox. It's lot easier to manage.

What needs improvement?

The Snapshots feature looks pretty cool, so that will be nice to have. External storage would be a good thing to have in the next release, something other than iSCZI, something a little more, not HA, a little more production-oriented, than iSCZI.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far we haven't had any issues at all. It has worked very well.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We're not that large at Boys Town. We probably only have 500 VMs. Realistically we have about 50 VSXi hosts. So for us, it's great because we can just buy servers and expand any cluster we need. We split clusters based on other needs, like licensing or something else. It's not like we get to 64 nodes. So we don't have any issues with scalability. It works great for us.

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

We were having some problems with another software-defined storage vendor so we switched to vSAN. We had problems with the previous vendor's support. While I have never talked to VMware vSAN support, I've talked to GSS, but I've never had issues with GSS, other than their not calling you back right away.

For me, the most important criteria when selecting a vendor are

  • ease of use
  • single pane of glass - that is huge for me
  • enterprise class, obviously
  • availability.

How was the initial setup?

We've had no issues with the product. We put it in in two days. The initial deployment was straightforward, easy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

On our shortlist were Dell EMC Vx Rack FLEX, VxRail, and we looked at Nutanix a little bit. We chose vSAN because we had done PoCs in the past and, comparing it to every other software-defined storage product out there, its ease of use is unparalleled. It's very easy to set up and very easy to administer, comparatively.

What other advice do I have?

I would ask a colleague who is looking at this type of solution, "Do you need storage for VMs?" Hands-down, if you need storage for VMs, vSAN is your option. If you need a SAN for some other reason, other than storage for VMs, then go for it. But if you're running VMware VMs, buy vSAN.

I like vSAN because they release features incrementally, every year, and you don't have to upgrade your hardware to get those features. If you bought a traditional SAN, you would have to upgrade your hardware constantly, every three years: You would get it, and it is how it is for three years. But on vSAN, you upgrade when you have to, when your hardware gets old or when you need more capacity. It's great, you get new features constantly.

I would rate vSAN at eight out of ten. It could get to a ten, once we have more time running it.

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

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