VMware Virtual SAN: File Services with NexentaConnect

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


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.