What Is The Biggest Difference Between vSAN And VxRail?

One of the most popular comparisons on IT Central Station is VMware vSAN vs Dell EMC VxRail.

People like you are trying to decide which one is best for their company. Can you help them out?

What is the biggest difference between vSAN And VxRail? Which of these two solutions would you recommend to a colleague evaluating hyper-converged solutions and why?

Thanks for helping your peers make the best decision!

1616 Answers

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Top 5LeaderboardReal User

If you want to have an an optimized and integrated software environment with integrated VSAN-in-Kernel into an appliance, a streamlined deployment experience, and single-vendor support go with VxRail because Dell EMC and VMware jointly developed the VxRail system powered by VMware vSAN software-defined storage. VxRail Manager is the sole and primary source for VxRail lifecycle management, cluster compatibility, software updates, and version control. VxRail Manager further reduces operational complexity and provides software upgrade automation. Hence, VxRail is simplest and easiest path to ready HCI and Hybrid Cloud.

VSAN is hardware agnostic but should need to have hardware/component level VSAN certifications. vSAN is enterprise-class, storage virtualization software that, when combined with vSphere, allows you to manage compute and storage with a single platform. With vSAN, you can reduce the cost and complexity of traditional storage and have Software Defined Storage at place but without an integration with some appliance and always need to have VSA at place to bridge the communication between/among VMs and IO.


Sufyan Ali Khan

New Horizon


author avatar
Top 5Real User

VxRail is a solution that includes vSAN between their components... So VxRail is like a bundle with hardware and software components to deploy hyper-converged solution in very short time without pain.... vSAN is only a software solution that could be deploy in any hardware with enough processing and storage power... thath can be integrated with other components manually or semi automated way... VxRail includes other great components like RecoveryPoint for VM, an excellent DR/BCP solution... If you want an integrated HCI easy to deploy, manage and maintain... VxRail is the best solution

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Top 5LeaderboardReseller

The hardware hosting the solution. Vxrail is an engineered appliance from Dell to host vSAN.

In addition vSAN can be installed on any hardware that meets its requirements 

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Real User

very helpful post

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Real User

Quite simply, VxRail is a vSAN appliance. It's a Dell based server node fully integrated with a pre-loaded VMware vSphere and vSAN software stack. Since it's integrated, the hardware is optimized to take full advantage of all the features and functions associated with vSAN.This is the best choice for someone who is interested in deploying hyper-converged infrastructure but doesn't currently have one in place. The VxRail nodes can be simply slid into the racks, connected and zoned.

vSAN, on the other hand, is purely a software solution. It's best for a data center that's already using VMware and would like to introduce storage management elements into their infrastructure. The benefit of this approach is that the configuration is customizable and feature elements can be added as needed.

author avatar
Top 20Real User

In case of Dell EMC nodes, the only difference is setting up vSAN by yourself or pay someone else to set it up for you. In VxRail, you get licenses which are OEM locked that means you can not use those licenses on any other hardware. In VMware vSAN ready nodes, you can pick the hardware of your choice (from VMware HCL) and start building your vSAN cluster and all of the servers from different vendors work in the same cluster. In VxRail, you pay for the solution plus vSphere licenses based on your requirement. In VMware vSAN ready nodes, you pay for all the licenses separate from the hardware cost like, vCenter Server, vSphere, vSAN. for remote sites or very small setups you can use ROBO licenses in VMware vSAN ready nodes where this multi vendor thing can be very useful. From my experience, if the customer has 2-3 years old hardware, most of the times the hardware is good to be converted to an VMware vSAN ready node by making few or no changes.

author avatar

VxRail is a Turnkey solution from Dell EMC that uses VMware vSAN as the underlying storage technology
The main differences are:

vSAN can Run on any ReadyNode and can differ in the vendor, while VxRail only uses Dell Servers (PowerEdge) I do know that there other products that use CISCO (VxBlock, VXFLEX)

vSAN Requires a vSAN Licence and is renewed yearly (Or whatever your VMware Agreement is) VxRail vSAN Licences are Perpertual.

Patching and install on VxRail are simple and Dell EMC Check the updates before its generally available so the quality control is good. This is good as a bad/incompatible firmware can really cause issues with vSAN , all patching and firmware will need to be vetted and installed by yourself.

VxRail locks you into a Dell Solution. Where as with vSAN you can choose the Hardware you want.

author avatar
Real User

VxRAIL is a pre buid HCI solution, with optimised configuration ready to deploy
also Vmware software VSAN and Vcenter are bundled with better prices and other bundled software

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When someone ask biggest, smallest, etc., they need simple answer :D VxRail is easy, while vSAN is complex. VxRail is prebuilt: easy to deploy, easy to scale out, one support contact for everything. VmWare vSAN is just an Software Defined Storage. Complex to deploy, complex to scale up/ out, and need several contact support for the whole solution.

author avatar

Technically, it is hard to differentiate between two solutions.
As DellEMC is in the position of proposing two solutions at the same time, it really depends on the customer situation.
If the customer has favor on VMware and good experience of it, then VSAN would be better.
If the customer has an experience of Cisco or HP’s HCI solution, then Dell EMC will propose VxRAIL rather than VSAN.

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The biggest difference is that VxRail is a management software to control the HCI from a single pain of glass. This allows for the deployment and management of VMs and storage. VSAN is just a storage pooling software managed separately and is quite difficult if you’re not familiar with the product.

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Real User

VxRail is a pre-build solution and customizable to customer requirements. easy to manage the environment.
However, vSAN is one of the Software defined Solutions... We need to assess, design, implement & support.

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Top 5LeaderboardReal User

The biggest difference is vSAN in Kernel and VxRail is the only VMware integrated appliance to date;
If we carry out Servers for vSAN or any other underlying SDI then we must need to check VMware Compatibility with each component in terms of its readiness with vSAN as well; whereas vSAN Ready Nodes are pre-certified for that part but neither of the Servers or vSAN Ready Nodes have vSAN built right into the Kernel of ESXi; which is a greatest catch for VxRail.

I believe the IT Personnels / Teams who are interested to build vSAN Cluster into their DC or Prem they much like to have vSAN with extreme performance as well and it can not be achieved without vSAN in Kernel of ESXi. You must always need to have a VM to communicate with the Host VM for R/W IO & Data Store which is a hop delay at VM Level but in VxRail this VM is not needed.

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vSAN is "build your own house" and VxRail is "pre buildt".
The idea with VxRail is to have skilled people taking care of the standard HW integration. Other than that much the same.....

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While both run on the vSAN technology from VMware, vSAN needs to be deployed on vSAN ready nodes while VxRail is an engineered system. The choice to choose which technology depends on two major factors –
• Skillsets available internally for validating, testing and roll out.
• The time available for an organization to roll out the infrastructure.
Given the above two criteria, if an organization has lot of internal skillsets within the organization and enough time to choose the relevant hardware and test/validate each in terms of type of processor, memory, hard drives, HBA, NIC etc and have the relevant drivers and patches, then vSAN would be a more economical options. The advantages with vSAN is that you have more flexibility in choosing your brand and hardware and more economical compared to a pre-engineered system. The disadvantages are time to roll out will be more as lot of testing and validation needs to be done. Secondly, upgrade to future vSpehre versions might involve lot of complexities and time consuming forcing many customers to stick with the current version. Of course, there are exceptions to this where customers have also migrated successfully but the journey was not an easy one.

On the other hand, VxRail comes as an pre-engineered system that is plug and play. Few clicks and input of IP address gets you up and running in few minutes. Roll of the infrastructure is fast as no testing and validation from a hardware perspective is needed as it is already done by Dell EMC at the factory. Management and upgradation to new vSphere versions are very easy and not complicated. Disadvantages will be the flexibility to choose your brand or choice of hardware is very limited and would be slightly more costlier than building your own vSAN nodes.

In conclusion, if you have the budget and want less headache in management, automation and up-gradation, choose VxRail. If you have limited budget and is ready to spend long time in solving complexities - you can opt for vSAN.

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VxRail is an complett and Automatiatet Solutions and is Build on vSAN Vmware and is a part from the Solution , This Solution will build your complet VMware Infrastruktur incl. Hardware. and iDRAC. This is the Software defined Datacenter. You ned special Hardware from DellEMC

vSAN is just the Software defined Storage Solution from VMware, this can build with vSAN Ready Hardware nodes.

Find out what your peers are saying about VMware vSAN vs. VxRail and other solutions. Updated: March 2021.
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