VMware Cloud Director

VMware vSAN HCI Mesh is Now Cloud Director-Ready

Updated February 2023

Introduced with VMware vSAN 7 Update 1, HCI Mesh is a new feature of vSAN that allows disaggregation of compute and storage resources. HCI Mesh connects individual vSAN clusters and enables utilization of stranded (unused) capacity across clusters. With this cross-cluster architecture for datastore sharing, one or more vSAN datastores can be remotely mounted to other vSAN clusters within vCenter.

VMware vSAN HCI Mesh

In addition, with vSAN 7 Update 2, this feature was further enhanced to allow for a non-vSAN cluster to participate in a vSAN HCI Mesh. This provides more flexibility for our cloud services providers who want to utilize a vSAN cluster to serve storage to compute-only clusters in their cloud offerings.

Increase Storage Utilization and Optimize Costs

Using HCI Mesh, remote vSAN datastores can act as local datastores when applications demand more storage capacity. Cloud services providers are able to achieve much higher resource utilization and cost optimization with the ability to pool storage resources from their distributed datacenters and allocate them where needed. By leveraging added flexibility and scalability, cloud services providers can now avoid installing more local capacity and utilize unused storage across multiple clusters.

With the emergence of a compute-only cluster, cloud services providers can create one vSAN cluster and make its storage available to other client clusters. The non-vSAN clusters will act as clients that remotely access storage from a vSAN cluster thereby enabling complete compute and storage disaggregation. The client cluster does not need to be comprised of vSAN certified hosts, does not require a vSAN license, and is not subject to vSAN scaling, which brings significant cost savings. Further, compute-only cluster nodes can be upgraded independently, without additional data movements, from the vSAN cluster it takes storage from. Utilizing storage across clusters can also enable vSAN-based storage tiers for partners to offer to their customers. Highest performance vSAN cluster storage can be presented as a Gold tier storage policy and older vSAN cluster storage can be presented as a Silver tier storage policy.

VMware Cloud Director now supports HCI Mesh

Since VMware Cloud Director converts physical resource such as network, storage and compute within a data center into elastic Provider Virtual Data Centers (pVDC), cloud services providers can assign or share resources from a pVDC to one-to-many Organization VDCs (org VDC) for customers. In order for cloud services providers to offer cloud resource services optimally, the storage, compute, and network resources should be utilized to their maximum extent.
VMware vSAN HCI Mesh creates a network of multiple vSAN datastores, and helps optimize usage of underutilized storages spread across multiple clusters by creating storage connections between clusters. For example, a VMware Cloud Director deployment may have some of the VDC compute resources underutilized because of lack of corresponding storage availability. To overcome storage scarcity and make use of the stranded compute resources, a cloud services provider can use vSAN HCI Mesh to deliver underutilized vSAN datastores from other clusters to this compute cluster. Storage policies tagged with these remote data stores can be consumed by VMware Cloud Director’s VDCs in order to offer more robust storage/compute services.  VMware Cloud Director supports remote datastore storage policies attached to a Provider VDC and Org VDC with underutilized resources. Workloads can be successfully provisioned based on those storage policies and utilize the available storage resources provided by vSAN HCI Mesh.

Get started with HCI Mesh

In order to use all the latest features of HCI Mesh, VMware recommends using vSAN 7 Update 2 or higher. Cloud services providers must also have vSAN Enterprise enabled and licensed for local and remote clusters. Please refer to the vSAN FAQ and release notes for additional considerations for HCI Mesh.

For more information, check out the following resources:

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