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VMworld 2012: Introducing the New VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1 for SMBs

By Julia Lee, product marketing manager, Infrastructure Products, VMware

Exciting times here at VMworld 2012 as we finally, can talk publicly about some of the product developments we have been working on in this past year.  With today’s announcement of VMware vSphere® 5.1 solutions to help small and midsize businesses (SMBs), we unveiled VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) 5.1.

For those of you not familiar with VMware vSphere Storage Appliance, it enables you to transform the local storage within your servers into a shared storage resource that runs your virtualized applications. VSA allows you to achieve business continuity and eliminates any single point of failure within your IT environment. Let’s dive into some of the new features behind today’s announcement:

  • Deployment on existing ESXi environments
    If you have a virtualized environment already, you can still install VSA 5.1 on up to three VMware vSphere hosts. This enhancement allows our existing customers to take advantage of shared storage and enable application availability features, such as HA and vMotion, for the first time.
  • Run vCenter within the VSA cluster
    With VSA 1.0, an instance of vCenter Server was required to run outside the VSA cluster. Now, with this enhancement, you can install a vCenter Server instance in a VM on a local datastore within one of your VSA nodes, and then migrate the vCenter Server to shared storage. This allows you to save on deploying that extra server to run vCenter Server.
  • Support for additional disk drives and increase of storage capacity online
    VSA 5.1 now allows you to add more hard disk drives, including JBOD expansion. For 3TB in a RAID 6 configuration (no hot spare), you can add up to 8 disks. For 2TB drives in a RAID 6 configuration, you can add up to 12 local disks (no hot spare) and up to 16 external disks (with hot spare). As you add more hard disk drives to your VSA cluster post-deployment, you can include the additional hard disk capacity provided by increasing your storage capacity online. Remember, VSA 5.1 supports RAID 5, 6, and 10.
  • Centralized management of multiple VSA clusters from one vCenter Server (AKA ROBO Support)
    With VSA 5.1, multiple VSA clusters can be managed by a single instance of vCenter Server residing on a different subnet. Now, every small environment can provide shared storage to enable application availability, from SMBs to enterprises with a distributed network of branch offices.

VSA 5.1 supports centralized management of multiple VSA clusters through one instance of vCenter Server, allowing ROBO environments to take advantage of shared storage.

If you’re looking to deploy in a ROBO environment, VSA 5.1 now offers three installation and upgrade methods:

  • Offline install – Configure the VSA 5.1 cluster at the main datacenter, box these servers up, and ship to the remote offices where these clusters can be added back into the main datacenter’s vCenter Server.
  • Unattended remote install – Upgrade an existing VSA 1.0 cluster at a remote office through the main datacenter. The bits can be sent over the wire, requiring no intervention at the remote office.
  • Attended remote install – Similar to the unattended remote install/upgrade process, this method uploads the OVFs from the remote office. An IT admin at the remote office plugs in a removable storage device (e.g., USB stick) which contains the OVF.

To learn more about the other new enhancements within VSA 5.1, click here.



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  1. Pingback: VMworld SMB Recap | VMware SMB Blog - VMware Blogs

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