VMware Cloud Provider

VMware vSAN 8 for Cloud Service Providers

With the conclusion of the successful VMware Explore U.S. conference, we are excited about the upcoming release of vSAN 8 for Cloud Service Providers, which is going to be revolutionary for our partners and customers. This major release delivers an all new, next generation hyperconverged storage architecture that promises to deliver outstanding performance and efficiency enhancements to meet continuing and future requirements of customer workloads. VMware Cloud Providers can take advantage of these key enhancements in vSAN 8 to reach new levels of performance, scalability, resilience, and simplicity using the next generation high-performance storage devices, and deliver an infrastructure roadmap for customers that is future-ready and is compatible with your existing services and capabilities built on vSphere today.

What’s new in vSAN 8

As mentioned in the keynote at VMware Explore, the newest release of vSAN includes an all-new storage architecture, the Express Storage Architecture (vSAN ESA). This optional storage architecture compliments the existing vSAN original storage architecture (vSAN OSA) and will help Cloud Providers take advantage of ongoing and future optimizations for high-performance, NVME-based TLC flash devices. vSAN 8 will give Cloud Providers the freedom of choice to decide between the two architectures to best deliver services for their customers.

vSAN 8 ESA architecture diagram
vSAN 8 ESA architecture

Here’s an overview of some of the vSAN ESA highlights:

  • vSAN 8 introduces a new file system, called the vSAN log-structured file system (vSAN LFS). This brand new file system introduces structural changes including a new write-optimized log-structured object manager, and a new object format.
vSAN log-structured file system (vSAN LFS)
vSAN log-structured file system (vSAN LFS)

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: The design of the new file system will help vSAN achieve near device-level performance and store data and metadata in an extremely fast and efficient way. This improves the ROI of hardware investments purchased by a Cloud Provider and ensures optimal utilization of the storage hardware used by vSphere for workloads.

  • Improved performance is implemented in the new vSAN LFS through optimizing data handling across the infrastructure stack. For example, the Express Storage Architecture implements powerful data compression and encryption to minimize process amplification, while checksums are used to help minimize duplication efforts for operations. These enhancements, along with other patented designs, ensures that vSAN LFS greatly optimizes I/O.
vSAN 8 LFS performance
vSAN 8 LFS performance

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: Leveraging the capabilities of the storage stack optimally is important to safeguard tenant performance. Cloud providers can rest assured that their SLAs will be met for data performance and access, without impacting other tenants that may also be using resources on the same clusters.

  • Supreme resource and storage efficiency is achieved in the new vSAN ESA through adaptive RAID-5 erasure code policy rules, which checks for the host count in the cluster and will select the appropriate RAID-5 data placement. vSAN ESA will also be able to detect if the number of hosts has changed and will revise the RAID-5 policy rule accordingly, which will use less capacity for storing data while improving data resilience and management. Finally, improved CPU-efficient compression and encryption is now available and can be set at a per-VM level, rather than at a cluster level, to optimize CPU cycles and reduce performance impacts on VMs.
vSAN 8 resource and storage efficiency improvements

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: Data storage efficiency improves the ROI of investments in infrastructure storage devices, and Cloud Providers will be able to take advantage of the intelligent storage and data efficiency capabilities of vSAN ESA to help reduce the amount of risk associated with data placement, while meeting data performance and resilience needs.

  • vSAN ESA introduces the storage pool construct to better organize and manage storage devices across the storage infrastructure environment Traditional disk groups, discrete caching, and capacity tiers are evolved under this new construct to improve the serviceability of the storage and data availability management.

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: Being able to more easily manage storage infrastructure across the site will help Cloud Providers be more efficient in managing large sites, and will help to reduce management and service support costs over time.

  • High-performance native snapshots are coming with vSAN ESA, with new intelligence and capabilities that will increase the number of snapshots taken, while reducing the impact on a VM’s performance. The new snapshot capability will be integrated with vSphere 8 and 3rd party VADP backup solutions.

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: With lower snapshot impacts on performance and snapshot consolidation times reduced, Cloud Providers and their tenants should see improved infrastructure performance and reduced impacts for ongoing operations, meaning workloads will run more smoothly 24x7x365.


Of course, vSAN OSA is not being abandoned for the new vSAN ESA, and it will see additional improvements of its own:

  • vSAN 8 OSA will improve the maximum capacity on devices in the cache/buffer tier by nearly 3x, meaning large workloads can run at higher performing rates for longer periods of time as a result of this enhancement.

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: Cloud Providers can take advantage of higher density, high performance devices to deliver improved levels of performance consistency to their tenant workloads. Improved proactive notifications for storage health awareness are offered in vSAN 8, alerting Cloud Providers of potential hardware or software compatibility issues and support gaps.

  • Improved proactive notifications for storage health awareness are offered in vSAN 8, alerting Cloud Providers of potential hardware or software compatibility issues and support gaps.
vSAN 8 proactive notifications
vSAN 8 proactive notifications

Why this is important for Cloud Providers: Cloud Providers will have more visibility to hardware and software compatibility issues to ensure that storage infrastructure is maintained properly and up to date, even if they are not enrolled in the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP).

Additional Resources

With the wealth of new features coming to vSAN 8, Cloud Service Providers can watch the replay of the vmLIVE enablement session to learn more about the upcoming release. Additionally, read more about the vSAN 8 announcement on our blog website, listen into our vSAN 8 podcast, visit our vSAN home page, and get further information about the features coming to vSAN 8 at VMware Cloud Platform Tech Zone.

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