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VMware Virtual SAN: File Services with NexentaConnect

Nextenta+VSAN

NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN is a software-defined storage solution designed specifically to deliver file service on top of Virtual SAN. This solution complements Virtual SAN by delivering a software-based NAS capabilities that add enterprise-class Windows and UNIX-based file services without the need for any additional hardware purchase to augment the virtual machine storage provided by VMware Virtual SAN.

NexentaConnect is designed to deliver high-performance NFS and SMB file services to the full datacenter by leveraging Virtual SAN features and capabilities. The management and configuration of the solution adopts Virtual SAN simplified management approach delivering an agile and efficient operational model. The solution delivers NFSv3, NFSv4, and SMB 2.1 file shares services for hybrid networks, as well as its set of capabilities relate to performance, availability, and storage services such as:

  • Localized server-side read cache
  • Compression and de- duplication

NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN maintains data integrity under high workload, network/disk/host recovery and brings various recovery functions, such as snapshot and remote file replication designed specifically for this solution. All configured and managed through the vCenter console and the vSphere Web Client.

Key integrations into the VMware Virtual SAN environment:
  • Easily install and provisions file services (NFSv3, NFSv4, SMB) on Virtual SAN within minutes.
  • Complete management through the vSphere Web Client interface.
  • Runs seamlessly on Virtual SAN and is compatible with VMware HA and DRS
  • Security and Domain integration, AD with AAA and Kerberos support
  • Leverage Virtual SAN’s data protection, performance, and availability

NexentaConnect complements Virtual SAN deployment by utilizing local Virtual SAN storage capacity in servers to deliver high-performance NFS and SMB file services to the full datacenter. NexentaConnect orchestrates the deployment and configuration of enterprise-class file services on Virtual SAN in a short period.

The NexentaConnect solution is comprised of the following components:

NexentaConnect vSphere Web Client Plugin – Provides management integration with to the vSphere Web Client and vSphere Client.
NexentaConnect Manager – is a virtual appliance that provides centralized services such as schedule events, monitoring, licensing, database services and orchestration of all the configuration and management functions for the solution.
NexentaConnect Filers – deployed on-demand when the first folder is created.

  • One Filer per Virtual SAN cluster
  • Separate file system (pool of 2TB VMDKs) per every VM Storage Policy
  • Note: 2TB is to fulfill Virtual SAN 5.5 supportability
  • Default 128K block size
  • Elastic – scales on-demand as Virtual SAN scales
  • Thin provisioned or reserved space options offered

NexentaConnect leverages proprietary data services and technologies such as compression to reduce the data on top of Virtual SAN to deliver:

  • LZ4 compression algorithm (lossless, LZ77 family)
  • Real-time and extremely light on CPU
  • Over 500 MB/s on compression (Per core)
  • Over 1.5 GB/s on decompression (Per core)
  • Suppresses some internal headers and zero padding (aka zero-block deduplication)
  • De-duplication is planned for v.2.0, currently available in tech-preview
The NexentaConnect Manager virtual appliances characteristics:
Ubuntu Linux (64 Bit) based appliance
  •  Single vCPU
  •  3 GB of RAM
  •  Single 20 GB Disk
  •  1 Network Adapter

Nexenta IO Engine – are virtual appliances that are deployed as filer on Virtual SAN datastore purpose-built and optimized to run on VMware ESXi hypervisor. The Nexenta IO Engines filers can scalable Up to 30 VMDKs per virtual appliances. Each drive supporting up to 2 Terabytes per VMDK serving virtually unlimited file shares virtual infrastructure

Nexenta IO Engine virtual appliance characteristics:
  • Ubuntu Linux (64 Bit) based appliance
  • 4 vCPU
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Minimum of 2 Virtual Disks (scalable up to 30)
  • Virtual Disk capacity up to 2 TB per disk
  • 2 Network Adapters
NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN Requirements:
  • VMware vSphere 5.5 or later
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.5 U1 or later (Windows and Linux)
  • ESXi 5.5 U1 or later
  • VMware vSphere Cluster with Virtual SAN enabled
  • VMware vSphere Web Client
  • VMware HA (optional)
  • Directory Services (optional)
  • Microsoft Windows Active Directory 2008 R2 or later
  • VMware vCenter Server 5.5 U1 or later
  • Network Services
  • DNS
  • DHCP

NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN extends Virtual SAN use-cases for scale out datastores and enables administrators to build full-featured hyper-converged pods capable of supporting mixed virtual machines workloads and high performance shared
storage services. 
Primary uses cases, among others, are virtual desktops, pre-production, test and development environments.

Virtual Desktops: Providing a hypervisor-converged solution to include the desktops, as well as user persona data.
Remote and Branch Office (ROBO): Addresses the need for scale-out NAS functionality 
Lab & Development: Avoids acquisition of expensive storage, lowers time to provision.
Disaster Recovery Target for files: Lower-cost DR solution, enabled through a built-in 
snapshot and remote replication capabilities of NexentaConnect.

Overall, the NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN solution should be considered when looking to deliver file services for virtualized infrastructures on top of VMware Virtual SAN. NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN is not a VMware developed or owned solution for more information about NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN visit their product page.

NexentaConnect for Virtual SAN

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

This entry was posted in 3 Virtual SAN on by .
Rawlinson Rivera

About Rawlinson Rivera

Rawlinson is a Principal Architect working in the Office of CTO for the Storage and Availability Business Unit at VMware. Focus on defining and communicating VMware’s product vision and strategy, and an active advisor for VMware's product roadmap and portfolio. Responsibilities revolved around connecting VMware's R&D organizations with customers and partners in the field. He specializes in enterprise architectures (private and public clouds), Hyper-converged Infrastructures, business continuity / disaster recovery technologies and solutions including Virtual SAN, vSphere Virtual Volumes, as well as other storage technologies and solutions for OpenStack and Cloud-Native Applications. Rawlinson is a VMware Certified Design Experts (VCDX#86) and main author of the blog punchingclouds.com.

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