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Put another pizza in the oven, these kids are hungry

Youth sports are all about kids having fun. They play, they sweat, and hopefully have a great time. And boy do they build up an appetite.

Choosing the right refreshments during halftime, or the right restaurant after the game can be difficult. Are a couple large pizzas going to be sufficient, would a pizza buffet be in order?

pizzathumbsChoosing a team's celebratory dinner is not unlike properly sizing a VDI solution. The exercise of sizing VDI for "up to X number of users" can be difficult. User count expectations can also be skewed when the workload is different than expected. Mileage may vary.

VMware Virtual SAN really shines at meeting performance needs while being cost effective and easily scalable through additional node or drive additions. If more storage is needed, add additional drives, or additional nodes contributing storage. If only compute is needed, simply add hosts that do not contribute storage. Very easy to scale.
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Encrypting VSAN VMs with HyTrust

encryptFor more than a few IT shops, data-at-rest encryption is mandatory for many of their workloads.  It's one of those things that just isn't up for discussion.

While VSAN currently supports hardware encryption that's largely transparent to VSAN (or anything else that uses an internal storage device), many customers have expressed a desire for a more fully-featured solution that encrypts at a VM level, has sophisticated key management and policies, and can protect a VM wherever it happens to go.

To meet that need for sophisticated functionality, we've been partnering with HyTrust for a while.  The product strikes me as a unique combination of simplicity and power -- just like VSAN.

Cormac Hogan just posted a nice walk-through showing just how easy it is to set it up.  A while back, Rawlinson Rivera also did a nice write-up.

Bottom line: if you're looking at software-defined encryption to go with your software-defined data center, you should take a moment to understand what HyTrust can offer.


Virtual Volumes Overview Video

Interested in learning about Virtual Volumes in 3 minutes? Check out this new Virtual Volumes overview video:

For more Virtual Volumes videos, visit the YouTube Storage channel!

VSAN and The Joys Of Head-to-Head Performance Testing

ramsEveryone who works with storage technology eventually gets around to wishing for the same thing: wouldn't it be GREAT if we could round up ALL the similar products, and put them through their paces?

Reality intrudes, however.  Getting a bunch of storage vendors to loan you their expensive arrays -- all at the same time -- is almost impossible, unless you've got a very big transaction to leverage.

Finding the time and the space to do the testing is another issue as well -- it's rare that someone with the right skills has the luxury to spend several weeks doing array testing.

However, things worked out well for Jay Scheponik of JKS Consulting, Inc. (jayscheponik@gmail.com).  He was contracted to do just that -- put up a raft of comparable storage solutions, and see how they performed head-to-head.

Not only was he able to evaluate the usual external array suspects, but he also was able to test newer hyperconverged products, like VSAN.

Needless to say, we were very interested in his findings.  I was lucky enough to get Jay on the phone to ask a few questions. Continue reading

Dell FX2 Posts Great VSAN Numbers

DellFX2The great part of the VMware hyperconverged model is that it's software-centric, which means customers get the benefit of great hardware partners who are always upping their game.

Today's interesting VSAN performance results come from Dell.  Recently, they engaged with Principled Technologies to benchmark a Dell FX2 stuffed with SanDisk flash against a similar HP server using an external storage array.

It wasn't even close, folks.

The Dell FX2 powered by VSAN ran DVD Store over 3 times faster, used far less power, and took only a small fraction of the rack space.

Let's step behind the scenes, if you're interested? Continue reading

Get Help With VSAN Sizing!

sizingSizing a new cluster can be a challenging exercise, especially if you don't know your workloads well.

While we've always had decent rule-of-thumb estimators, there's nothing as good as collecting real data and using the results to size your configuration.

Our own Simon Todd (aka Mr. VSAN) shares some background on the new VIP (virtualization infrastructure planning) tool, which also includes capacity and performance sizing for VSAN, now in beta.

We're looking for customers and partners to give it a go: download the collector, gather data to the SaaS analyzer, and review the results.  Our goal is to make infrastructure sizing as easy (and as accurate!) as it can be.

Let us know what you think!

Ten Things You Need To Know About VSAN

VSAN_EssentialsHere’s the headline: VMware’s Virtual SAN fundamentally changes the way vSphere administrators do storage.  It's a new world.

While there’s a ton of good material out there, we thought we’d boil things down to the bare essentials for all you busy IT professionals.

Here’s what you need to know: Continue reading

Oracle On Virtual SAN 6

support_statementWhen VMware introduced VSAN 6, we were pretty clear: it’s a great fit for most anything that runs in a virtual machine, including critical databases.

Whereas much of our previously published performance testing focused on a large number of VMs pounding the storage subsystem (as that’s the norm for how most people use clusters), databases usually have a different performance profile: typically you have a small number of larger VMs that are doing all the heavy lifting.

wicked_fast2Not long ago, one of our engineer teams completed a performance profile using both Oracle 11g and Oracle RAC 11 against a modest, 4-node all-flash VSAN cluster.  All-flash makes great sense when you want predictably fast performance, regardless of the IO profile.

TL; DR — wicked fast and predictable performance, Oracle RAC scaled linearly as more instances were added, and all of the tested Oracle RAC availability features worked exactly as expected.

Note: if you’re planning to use Oracle RAC with VSAN 6, there’s a KB you’ll need to read about configuring VSAN for multi-writer .

And a big thanks to our friends at Intel for all the help with providing an environment for these tests! Continue reading

Helping IT Professionals Make Informed Choices Around Storage

Recently, on the Virtual Blocks blog, we’ve discussed how VMware Virtual SAN stacks up in some head-to-head performance tests. The results, intriguing as they were, caught the eye of some and generated some great conversation.

Let’s bring you up to speed:

  • Chuck Hollis then followed up these initial impressions with a second blog post, “VSAN vs Nutanix Head-to-Head Performance Testing -- Part 2,” where transparency became key to backing data findings. With the VMware Virtual SAN competitor’s refusal to allow any side-by-side comparison of their product for publication. That reaction increased interest around the Virtual SAN-only data results.
  • In Part 3 of the blog series, Hollis explored the comparisons as to how VMware Virtual SAN stacked up against the competition in terms of relative cost and performance. This piece demonstrated that VSAN accomplishes more with less money.

The results from this performance testing got the IT community talking.

For example, CRN, broke down Hollis’ comparison in “6 More Reasons Why VMware Thinks Its Hyper-Converged Tech Beats Nutanix.The Register, too, published their own side-by-side comparisons of the data findings in, “A testing time for storage – it's VMware from Nutanix, by a nose.“

"When software is decoupled from hardware, customers win," said Hollis.

We encourage all customers to make informed choices around storage.

Want to give your two cents? Sound off in the comments!

VSAN vs Nutanix Head-to-Head Performance Testing -- Part 3

GP of the SeaOur journey continues!

Previously, I detailed how we were curious as to how two identically configured clusters -- one vSphere/VSAN and one vSphere/Nutanix -- might stack up in terms of relative cost and performance.  The comparisons were eye-opening, especially for those of us who have spent time studying storage performance.

We hit a snag along the way, as Nutanix recently changed their EULA to expressly prohibit any form of publishing performance results without prior written permission.  We applied for permission to publish, and they declined.

However, we still have useful data to share! Continue reading