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Is VDI causing you gray hairs? Virtual SAN and Horizon can help!

Our 2,000+ Virtual SAN customers are deploying VMware hyper-converged systems for all kinds of solutions—from supporting large Oracle databases to powering remote IT rooms to simplifying test/dev environments—but one specific workloads is always among the most popular use cases for VSAN: virtual desktops (VDI).

The struggle to find both high performance and affordable IT infrastructure, especially storage, for VDI is real. A storage system may look great on paper or even in a small POC (proof-of-concept), but hit that N+1 user with a traditional storage system and the productivity of all N+1 users can come to a grinding halt. You are then faced with an expensive, second storage purchase or left to troubleshoot and revisit all your sizing and performance assumptions: task or knowledge workers, virus scan timing, desktop recompose frequency, number/type of drives, etc…

There’s an easier way! VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure, built on Virtual SAN and vSphere, uniquely addresses the storage challenges that have historically plagued the VDI world. Virtual SAN offers the simplicity, performance and cost needed for successful VDI deployments—both today and as your business scales. Take a look at the following video to learn why Virtual SAN is a great fit for Horizon customers deploying VDI.

Want more details on deploying VSAN and Horizon? Read the latest VMware Horizon and Virtual SAN all-flash reference architecture. For those attending VMworld 2015 next week, you can learn more about Horizon and the Software-Defined Data Center in “Unleashing the Power of SDDC to Accelerate Desktop Transformation” (Session ID: EUC5438).

And remember, if you are a Horizon customer, then you may have Virtual SAN already for free through your Horizon licenses. Give it a try today and save yourself from having to learn and purchase another storage solution (if you know vCenter then you know Virtual SAN)!

You can test-drive VSAN today with a free, online Hands-On Lab (no installation required). If you already have access to a virtualized server, get started by downloading a free Virtual SAN evaluation.

VMware Compatibility Guide Portal with New Ready Node Branding

new-brandOut with the old and in with the new! In the spirit of simplicity for all things hardware related to Virtual SAN, today VMware released a newly revamped hardware compatibility guide portal.

The portal introduces a new and simplified hardware searching capability that is primarily focused around Virtual SAN Ready Nodes instead of the previous approach focused on individual certified hardware components.

The new portal is designed to deliver a concise, quick, and rich user experience for customers. Now, customers that are looking to identify the latest and greatest suitable hardware options for their respective Virtual SAN use cases can do so with a minimum of six on-screen clicks.

Customers can very quickly select their Virtual SAN architecture of choice, supported release, preferred vendor, hardware generation, performance and storage capacity profile, and lastly server form factor type.


The new portal introduces a new Virtual SAN Ready Node profile branding series that replaces the previous low, medium, and high profile identification. The new profile branding series consist of five different profile across both supported Virtual SAN storage architectures hybrid and All-Flash. The image below illustrates the mapping of the new branding to the previously supported branding model of low, medium, high profiles.


The portal also provides the ability to dynamically generate PDF files that containing the configuration requirements that is inputed into the portal. This PDF can be generated to be utilized as a purchasing reference or to simply keep the record.

While the focus of the new portal points to all things Virtual SAN Ready Node, customers may still pursue building their own solutions with individual certified components.

For the most part it is strongly recommends to use certified Ready Nodes that are validated to provide predictable performance and scalability for your Virtual SAN deployment. If you would still like to build your own Virtual SAN with certified components, then click Build Your Own based on Certified Components.

The new VMware Compatibility Guide portal is the one-stop-shop location for all things related to Virtual SAN ranging from hardware, Virtual SAN Assessment ToolSizing and TCO calculator, and the new Virtual SAN Hardware Quick Reference Guide.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Apps (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

New vRealize Operations Management Pack for Virtual SAN 6.0

VSAN-VROPSNew vRealize Operations Management Pack for Storage Devices 6.0.2 released. The new version of the management pack offers full support for Virtual SAN 6.0 by introducing a new set of dashboards that provides global visibility into all aspects of Virtual SAN 6.0 from a centralized location.

The new dashboards present customers with some of the most important and relevant information about Virtual SAN 6.0 right out-of-the-box.

  • Global View
    Get global visibility across Virtual SAN clusters for monitoring and proactive alerts/notifications on an ongoing basis. Proactively monitor multiple Virtual SAN clusters using exploratory out of the box and customizable dashboards for deriving Virtual SAN Cluster Insights, Device Insights, Entity usage, Heat Maps etc. Simplify end to end troubleshooting by leveraging Virtual SAN topology and relationship between VM, Host, Datastore, Disk group, Host Bus Adapter etc. Get device/hardware specific reports, alerts using S.M.A.R.T.S.
  • Health Monitoring and Availability
    Proactively monitor and assess device connectivity issues and failures such as APD (All Path Down), PDL (Physical Device Loss), network congestion, SSD Life (based on S.M.A.R.T.S) and disk failures. Get proactively notified on failures, performance and compliance issues on an ongoing basis, review symptoms and recommendations for a remediation strategyUse exploratory dashboards and heat maps.
  • Performance
    Monitor aggregate performance (throughput in MB/s) and latencies at a disk group and disk level for SSDs and HDDs. Assess how Virtual SAN is keeping up with specific workload by continuously monitoring metrics like SSD Read Cache hit ratio and SSD eviction rateMonitor CPU, memory and network congestion metrics.
  • Capacity
    Monitor disk usage (available and used capacity) on disks across all hosts in a cluster.
    Perform capacity planning based on “what if scenarios” and plan for future hardware purchase based on historic demand and stress trends of Virtual SAN workloads.

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Virtual SAN going offshore

Over the last couple of months I have been talking to many Virtual SAN customers. After having spoken to so many customers and having heard many special use cases and configurations I’m not easily impressed. I must say that half way during the conversation with Steffan Hafnor Røstvig from TeleComputing I was seriously impressed. Before we get to that lets first look at the background of Steffan Hafnor Røstvig and TeleComputing.

TeleComputing is one of the oldest service providers in Norway. They started out as an ASP with a lot of Citrix expertise. In the last years they’ve evolved more to being a service provider rather than an application provider. Telecomputing’s customer base consists of more than 800 companies and in excess of 80,000 IT users. Customers are typically between 200-2000 employees, so significant companies. In the Stavanger region a significant portion of the customer base is in the oil business or delivering services to the Oil business. Besides managed services, TeleComputing also has their own datacenter they manage and host services in for customers.

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Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

openstack-sds-sessionIt’s time expand and showcase the strength of software-defined storage at the upcoming OpenStack Summit. Take a look at the abstract of the session I’m scheduled to participate as a speaker and lets’ get that bad boy vote in and into the schedule.

Getting the Bang for your Buck with Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

OpenStack has become the standard infrastructure consumption layer for a variety of applications. These applications have different storage requirements and being able to provide a storage solution that matches these requirements is critical to ensure the adoption of OpenStack as the cloud platform of choice across a wide array of applications.

It is also important that enterprises that have made significant investments in storage gear are able to leverage those investments for their OpenStack deployments, while still having the choice of integrating newer storage technologies such as hyper-converged storage as they progress forward in their OpenStack journey.

This session will highlight how software-defined storage can enable enterprises to leverage their existing storage investments in building their OpenStack clouds and allow them to add newer technologies such as Virtual SAN as they go forward. The session will include

  • How to use policy driven storage to mix and match traditional SAN and newer hyper-converged storage for providing storage with different SLAs
  • Simplifying management and operation of a storage solution for OpenStack instances and volumes
  • Demo of a vSphere based software defined storage solution providing multi tier storage (SAN, Virtual SAN, NFS, etc) for OpenStack workloads.

Take a minute and please vote.

VOTE! for session here: Getting the Bang for your buck with Software-Defined Storage in OpenStack

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Apps (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

New VMware Virtual SAN Assessment Tool

vsan-assessment0logo2The VMware Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is now generally available!!!!

The Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is a usability and manageability tool that is available to the public free of charge. VMware is providing access to this solution using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model that is accessible for any new or existing customers interested in Virtual SAN. The tool is designed to provide customers a simple one-stop shop solution for all things related to the assessments of Virtual SAN.

The Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is based on two components, and together they provide data collection and presentation in the form metrics visualization.

  • Virtual SAN Assessment Tool Portal – is a public web application that receives the I/O traces from customers infrastructures and presents the detailed results. It also provides the ability to export the results onto different document types excel, powerpoint, etc.
  • Virtual SAN Assessment Tool Collector – is a virtual appliance (OVF file) deployed in customer environment that collects data and sends it to the portal. The appliance is configured with 4 vCPUs / 8 gb ram / 200 gb disk space, and it introduces a low of overhead while collecting data.


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Are You a Storage Expert? Prove It. Enter the Virtual SAN Challenge!

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Think you know all there is about hyperconverged storage? Put your knowledge to the test and visit the Virtual SAN Challenge for a chance to win a GoPro Hero4 video cam!

We’re kicking off the Challenge today and are offering you three chances to win:

Quiz 1: July 21 – Aug 03

Quiz 2: Aug 04 – Aug 16

Quiz 3: Aug 17 – Aug 28

Ready to get started? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Visit our study page and improve your chances to ace the test on your first go. You only have one chance to ace each quiz so be sure to study up!
  • If you get stuck, don’t panic – we’ll provide you with helpful hints along the way.
  • No time? No problem. Each quiz is only 6 questions, so you can take it on your coffee break!

Now that you’re armed with everything you need to prove your storage mastery, click here to join the Virtual SAN Challenge – your GoPro Hero4 could be just a few clicks away!

We’ll announce winners across our social channels at the end of each challenge, so be sure to follow @VMwareVSAN on Twitter or ‘like’ us on Facebook to see if you’ve won. Good luck!

For more information about Virtual SAN, visit vmware.com/products/virtual-san, and keep an eye on the blog for upcoming tips and best practices for using Virtual SAN.

Virtual Blocks Blog Recap: Top Posts from June


Every month, we compile a list of the top Virtual Blocks posts from the previous month for you to enjoy.

Here are the top Virtual Blocks posts from June:

Helping IT Professionals Make Informed Choices Around Storage
The Virtual Blocks blog brings you up to speed on some recent discussion on how VMware Virtual SAN stacks up in some head-to-head performance tests.

Oracle on Virtual SAN 6
Chuck Hollis talks about Oracle RAC and its ability to scale linearly as more instances were added.

10 Things You Need to Know About VSAN
VMware Virtual SAN fundamentally changes the way vSphere admins do storage. While there are several items of great material, this blog post covers the bare essentials for busy IT professionals.

The Collapse of Storage
The storage industry is undergoing rapid structural change that has not been seen in decades. Going forward, everything we’ve come to know about storage will be changing. Chuck Hollis takes a closer look at what this means.

VSAN in 3 Minutes YouTube Series
Sometimes, there is never enough time in the day to sit and learn something new. To make things easier, we’ve started a new video series, “VSAN in 3 Minutes”. Quick, bite-sized and digestible videos to get you going in the right direction.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual Blocks blog, or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtualsan.

Share Your Virtual SAN Story and Win a Pass to VMworld!

Radically simple storage.

Elastic scalability.

High performance.

Budget-friendly scaling.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 5.58.52 PM

You’ve heard what VSAN has to offer. Now, we want to hear what you have done with VSAN!

Businesses and organizations like Indonesian CloudOregon State University – School of BusinessPeter Cremer and several others use VSAN for a variety of use cases and applications. Here’s your chance to tell us your story – what have you accomplished with VSAN, and how has it changed your approach to storage?

Every valid submission will be entered into a random drawing for a pass to VMworld 2015 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California! [The fine print: 10 passes will be awarded, does not include travel, hotel and additional expenses. You must be a valid customer of VMware Virtual SAN to be eligible.]

Winners will be announced August 15th, so submit your story today!

Fill out the form here.

For the latest updates, be sure to subscribe to the Virtual Blocks blog, or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san/.

Virtual Blocks Blog Recap: Top Posts from May


Every month, we compile a list of the top vSphere Storage posts from the previous month for you to enjoy.

Here are the top Virtual Blocks posts from May:

The Future Of Hyperconverged Is Already Here

Chuck Hollis recently sat down with Gabriel Long to talk about a VSAN cluster that was built that utilizes Diablo’s Memory Channel Storage technology flash storage. Chuck and Gabe talk about this hyperconverged environment and more.

Virtual SAN Health Check Plug-in Now Available

Now generally available is the VMware Virtual SAN Health Check Plug-in. Created to address one of the paint points many storage solutions suffer from, Rafi Kabesa details helpful features of the plug-in, as well as the checks it implements.

20+ Common VSAN Questions

What makes VSAN so fast? How does VSAN protect my data? Chuck Hollis discusses a list of interesting questions the Virtual SAN team encounters most often, along with answers for each question. You don’t want to miss this one.

Virtual Volumes: VM-centricity And Why Its Important

With VM-centricity, Virtual Volumes eliminates a costly tradeoff that our customers have faced with traditional storage for years. Juan Novella discusses the concept and importance of VM-centricity.

VAAI Licensing Now Aligned with Virtual Volumes (VVol)

We believe the right way to manage storage is through VM-centric, policy-based management. When it comes to environments with traditional SAN and NAS storage, Virtual Volumes is the way to go. One necessary feature to enable a successful Virtual Volumes implementation is vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). Mauricio Barra talks about this and more in his blog.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual Blocks blog, or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtualsan.