The Virtual SAN Assessment is a free 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 – The 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 – The 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, and 200 GB disk space and introduces a low of overhead while collecting data.
The assessment delivers the most complete and detailed package of information on all aspects of Virtual SAN, ranging from environmental infrastructure analysis to financial information of overall storage CAPEX savings. All of the gathered performance and sizing information is sent to the Virtual SAN Assessment Portal.
It is extremely important to highlight that the tool does not collect or stores content any customer sensitive data anywhere or is it sent to the portal at any time. The gathered results can also be exported into spreadsheets that can be utilized for further local analysis.
For details on the security aspects and privacy features of the Virtual SAN Assessment Tool, please refer to the VMware Infrastructure Planner Security White Paper.
Assessments Performed: Environment and Storage CAPEX Savings
The Virtual SAN Assessment performs two types of assessments that are accessible from the portal to provide a wholesome view of potential savings opportunities.
The environmental analysis is performed to identify all of the virtual machines that are suitable candidates for Virtual SAN and which architecture is the best fit (Hybrid or All-Flash). This part of the analysis should run for the recommended period of seven days in which the tool will gather vSCSI traces (I/O patterns) from running virtual machines that are hosted on existing vSphere infrastructures with traditional or legacy storage arrays (NAS/SAN). All of the running virtual machines are evaluated in order to accurately identify the sizing requirements from a workload perspective. The virtual machines metrics that are collected and presented as part of the assessment are active working sets, write buffer sizes, minimum usable capacity, peak cache sizes, and maximum usable capacity.
To determine the suitable Virtual SAN architecture (Hybrid or All-Flash) for virtual machine workloads the tool uses a set of proprietary algorithms to run several practical exercises such as cache simulation on the virtual machines workloads in order to predict read cache hit rates for workloads on Virtual SAN. In order to get a 90% hit rate for a given I/O pattern, the algorithms determine how much cache is required for the virtual machine’s workloads. By adding up the read cache sizes of all the running virtual machines, the tool can identify the cluster’s wide cache requirements and provide accurate Virtual SAN cluster design recommendations.
The Virtual SAN recommended sizing best practice for the caching tier is based on a minimum of 10% of capacity tier usable capacity. If this value is greater than the sum of all the read caches, then the tool recommends that value for the total cluster wide cache size. The tool gathers all of the values and metrics and then normalizes the data in order to provide accurate and detailed sizing recommendations.
Storage CAPEX Savings
Virtual SAN is designed to enable rapid provisioning of storage directly from vSphere Web Client with a few simple clicks, without needing LUNs or volumes. As a self-tuning system, Virtual SAN optimizes itself to deliver the right capacity, performance and availability SLAs through policy-based provisioning on each virtual machine. From within the Storage CAPEX Savings assessment section, the Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator is accessible.
Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator
The Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator allows customers to review the Virtual SAN cluster sizing recommendations gathered through the environment analysis, and the findings and recommendations are automatically imported onto the Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator. Customers can also modify the inputs automatically populated by the Virtual SAN Assessment Tool in order to make adjustments to compare to other solutions or configurations.
Assessment Sections: Sizing Input, Sizing Results, TCO Input, TCO Results
All of the automatically imported data from the Virtual SAN Assessment Tool is displayed on the Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator across four major sections. As mentioned above, the inputs can be customized on a per section basis a needed.
Sizing Input Section
Environmental requirements, ready node configuration, virtualization platform type, number of virtual machines and usable capacity required are entered in the sizing input section.
Sizing Results Section
The sizing results section provides the complete picture of the assessment’s recommendation. Every aspect of the Virtual SAN cluster design and sizing recommendation is presented in a graphical dashboard including number of hosts, number of caching devices per host, size of the cashing devices, total storage capacity in the cluster, number of persistent devices, number of max Virtual SAN component count, estimated max IOPS supported in the cluster, disk usage distribution, and server configuration of selected performance.
TCO Inputs Section
Overall TCO Period, License & Storage Solutions, OPEX Assumptions, Virtual SAN License, Current/Alternative storage solution configuration, Labor cost OPEX, VSAN Specific task savings, Power and Cooling OPEX are entered in the TCO inputs section.
TCO Results Section
Based on the TCO Inputs section OPEX assumptions, CAPEX results, configuration summary, 5- years TCO results, graphical representation, first year CAPEX metrics, and 5 year TCO metrics results are displayed.
TCO Results Graphical Representation Section
VMware Virtual SAN savings by year and TCO without Virtual SAN is displayed in a graphical representation, which can be exported directly in PowerPoint format.
There is no denying the Virtual SAN Assessment Tool and its seamless integration with the Virtual SAN TCO and Sizing Calculator deliver a one-stop shop usability and manageability solution for Virtual SAN. Just about every possible configuration option with the justifiable CAPEX and TCO are accurately presented based on actual data.
It’s time to get your Virtual SAN evaluation and assessment started and sorted out the right and accurate way. You can almost say that this bad boy is the usability and manageability silver bullet.
Ready to get started? Request a free vSAN Assessment today to see what you could save!