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VMware Virtual SAN Now Available

By John Gilmartin, vice president and general manager, SDDC Suite Business Unit, VMware

Today marks a major milestone for VMware with the general availability of VMware Virtual SAN, a new, radically simple storage solution optimized for virtual environments. With VMware Virtual SAN, VMware delivers its first Software-Defined Storage product.

Setting the stage for today’s general availability was a March 6th VMware Virtual SAN online event  (replay available here). We demonstrated the product, shared the experiences of select beta customers, and highlighted performance and scalability details that show Virtual SAN scales up to 32 nodes in a cluster allowing for linear scalability of performance to 2 million IOPS on read-only workloads (1) and 640,000 IOPS on mixed workloads (2).

Pricing and Packaging

During and after the online event, we received a number of questions about pricing and packaging for VMware Virtual SAN. Without further ado, here are the details:

Virtual SAN 5.5 - Pricing & Packaging

Staying true to the value proposition of simplicity, we chose a per socket basis pricing model with no limits on scalability, performance or capacity that make forecasting and budgeting significantly easier without impacting hardware components selection and node configurations.

All editions feature the complete set of Virtual SAN capabilities – data persistency, read/write caching, storage policy based management, etc. – and include the vSphere Distributed Switch. This means that customers can take advantage of simplified network management of vSphere Distributed Switch for their Virtual SAN storage regardless of the underlying vSphere edition they use. Data services such as snapshots, clones, linked-clones and replication are available directly through vSphere, and are already available with every vSphere edition (Essentials Plus and above).

For customers seeking to complete their storage solution with backup and recovery capabilities, we are offering Virtual SAN with Data Protection. A promotional bundle available for a limited time, it brings together Virtual SAN with vSphere Data Protection Advanced, VMware’s simple, efficient, and robust backup product for vSphere environments.

Virtual SAN - Launch Promotions

Helping to Reduce Total Cost of Ownership

VMware Virtual SAN brings a new, more efficient operational model to storage – how it’s built, delivered and managed.  With VMware Virtual SAN, customers have a radically simple storage system that delivers high performance and help to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).

From a Capital Expenditures (capex) savings stand point, Virtual SAN makes a big dent in hardware cost by taking advantage of server side storage economics. But it doesn’t end there. Thanks to its unique architecture embedded in the vSphere kernel, Virtual SAN delivers high performance with minimal CPU consumption (less than 10 percent) resulting in customers requiring less hardware to achieve high consolidation ratios. Several beta customers pointed out their ability to linearly scale performance and capacity in small increments by adding new hosts to their clusters enabled a more efficient consumption model without requiring a large upfront investment. It also allows them to more closely align revenue to cost.

It is not just about capex savings. Key to the success of Virtual SAN in beta is its ease of use from installation to on-going administration to tuning to integration with vSphere and other VMware products.

Why Virtual San?


The main driver for those operational savings is the extreme automation delivered through the solution’s storage policy-based management capabilities. The software shifts the management model for storage from the device to the application by taking a VM-centric policy driven approach to storage management that delivers service levels to individual VMs without the need of LUNs or Volumes. With Virtual SAN, complex operational processes such as set up, configuration, service level provisioning and change management happen in a fraction of the time and without the need of specialized skillset. In fact, because of Virtual SAN’s seamless integration with vSphere management workflows and consoles (i.e. vSphere Web Client), anyone who knows how to administer vSphere can also administer Virtual SAN. A third-party analyst firm estimates that customers can achieve 5x reduction in the operational cost of storage. The combination of capex and operating expenditure savings can result in an overall TCO reduction of up to 50 percent for customers.

Virtual SAN Reduces CAPEX & OPEX for better TCO


Beyond cost savings, Virtual SAN offers customers flexibility. If a customer is seeking to optimize their storage system for performance, they can tailor their hardware configuration to achieve a lower cost per IOPS. For customers that want to optimize for capacity, they can configure their systems to achieve a lower cost per GB. Of course, customers can configure a balanced system that delivers cost-effective performance and capacity.

Flexibly Configure for Performance and Capacity


At the Starting Gate

After a six-month public beta program, we’re excited about letting our customers do more than kick the tires on Virtual SAN. We look forward to receiving your feedback on Virtual SAN over the coming weeks and months. Let us know how you are using Virtual SAN.

To learn more about today’s GA, read the press release. If you didn’t test drive Virtual SAN in the public beta program, check it out on VMware Hands-on Labs Online.

(1)   2 million IOPS on read-only workloads achieved on 32 node VMware Virtual SAN cluster, based on IOmeter benchmark, February 2014

(2)   640,000 IOPS on mixed workloads (Mixed = 70 percent/30 percent Read/Write, 4K 80 percent random) on 32 node VMware Virtual SAN cluster, based on IOmeter benchmark, February 2014


VMware to Acquire Virsto Software

by John Gilmartin
Vice President,
Storage & Availability

Today, VMware announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Virsto Software (read VMware press release, read Virsto blog post), a Sunnyvale, California-based company whose software optimizes storage for virtual environments.  I look forward to welcoming the very talented Virsto team to VMware as soon as we close the transaction, which we expect will occur later this quarter.

Our customers have told us that managing performance and data services for virtual machines can be challenging, especially in I/O-intensive environments like virtual desktops. Virsto has developed a VM-centric storage management model that accelerates I/O performance for any block-based storage system while providing efficient data services like VM snapshots and clones. These technologies have helped Virsto customers significantly improve the performance and utilization of their storage systems. For a more eloquent explanation of what the Virsto team has accomplished, please read the blog Cormac Hogan posted back in August: http://cormachogan.com/2012/08/22/virsto-software-for-vsphere-overview/

We have two plans for the Virsto product.  First, we’ll continue to offer Virsto’s standalone virtual appliance to help accelerate storage performance and improve efficiency in VMware vSphere environments. This means we’ll continue to support existing Virsto customers while also introducing Virsto’s capabilities to new users. Second, we’re planning to integrate Virsto’s architecture and data management services into future VMware products.  Stay tuned for more specifics on this.

The acquisition of Virsto is just the latest example of VMware’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions to some of the toughest problems in IT. We believe that by extending the benefits of virtualization to every domain of the datacenter – compute, network, storage – we can help our customers achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and agility.

As the datacenter undergoes a fundamental transformation, new opportunities and innovation are emerging across every technology category. Defining a new approach to storage will be a foundational element of the software-defined datacenter, and VMware is excited to help drive this transformation in partnership with our storage ecosystem. I look forward to sharing more developments