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As we enter 2016, I am very proud of the leadership position VMware has established in software that powers Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI).  I’m also very excited to continue that momentum with today’s launch of VMware Virtual SAN 6.2.  Virtual SAN is the software-defined storage component in our Hyper-Converged Software (VMware HCS) stack—a single software stack for HCI that includes vSphere, vCenter Server and Virtual SAN.

VMware HCS powers the industry’s largest ecosystem of HCI solutions (learn more here).  These HCI solutions span engineered appliances for customers wanting a turnkey solution, to the broadest choice of pre-certified hardware platforms through the Virtual SAN Ready Node program for customers wanting to build on the server infrastructure and experience they already have, without worrying about hardware lock-in.

Our Virtual SAN journey has been truly incredible, delivering four feature-packed software releases over the course of just two years. Now with over 3,000 customers, VMware HCS has become the clear industry leader (see more here). We intend to keep the momentum going with the 4th generation of Virtual SAN—Virtual SAN 6.2—which continues to build on the principal benefits of the product from a simplicity, performance, cost-efficiency and scale standpoint. Let me dive into each of these in more detail:

Cost-Efficient Performance: Cost is one of the key reasons customers choose a hyper-converged approach to the datacenter. With Virtual SAN 6.2, we have focused on reducing the cost of all-flash configurations, enabling you to deploy a high performance all-flash architecture without worrying about the usual expenses associated with a flash-only solution. Virtual SAN 6.2 introduces enterprise space-efficiency features like deduplication, compression and erasure coding (learn more about these features here). Together, these capabilities enable up to 10x increase in useable capacity for all-flash configurations and dramatically improve the economics of all-flash, delivering all-flash storage for as low as $1 per usable GB.

Cost-Efficiency

This makes a Virtual SAN All-Flash HCI solution almost 50% less expensive than competing HCI hybrid appliances, providing you a higher-performance all-flash solution at half the price of a lower performing hybrid appliance. This is like getting a Tesla car at half the price of a Prius. I was blown away when I first saw these data points and am excited about the value proposition we are bringing to you. In addition, when compared to leading all-flash storage arrays, a Virtual SAN All-Flash solution is approximately 60% more affordable. Gone are the days of performance versus cost tradeoffs—switch to a software-defined architecture and industry-standard hardware to lower your costs and accelerate your applications today!

Unmatched Simplicity: Being the only hyper-converged software that is fully integrated in the hypervisor, Virtual SAN offers unmatched simplicity. This release extends its simplicity by delivering a simpler way to purchase, deploy, consume and manage HCI. We have expanded the Virtual SAN Ready Node program, enabling VMware partners to deliver pre-certified hardware with pre-installed software and bundled licenses to simplify deployment. We will soon announce a game-changing turnkey solution from the close collaboration of VMware and EMC,  based on VMware Hyper-Converged Software, to provide a very simple consumption model for HCI (learn more here).

At the same time, we’re continuing to deliver product features to simplify your day-to-day life. Remember that with Virtual SAN, you can move beyond the siloed approach of the past and instead leverage a single point of management for compute, storage and networking. Virtual SAN 6.2 introduces seamlessly integrated performance and capacity monitoring capabilities enabling you to get complete visibility into your VMware infrastructure stack from a single vCenter interface. Additionally, the new Quality of Service (QoS) feature provides visibility into the IOPS consumed per VM, ensuring that your critical applications get the SLAs they need without being impacted by noisy neighbor issues.

Ready for Any App, Any Scale: Virtual SAN, capable of scaling to 64 hosts, 8PBs of raw capacity, and achieving over 6M IOPS, has been deployed for a variety of enterprise workloads from business-critical applications, like Oracle and SAP, to virtual desktops (VDI) to ROBO IT (here’s what our customers have to say).

And looking to the future, we’re taking Virtual SAN in a technology direction that goes beyond the traditional vSphere use cases. With Virtual SAN for VMware Photon, we are investigating how to deliver all the power and capabilities of the VMware hyper-converged platform to not just traditional enterprise applications, but also to next-gen and cloud-native applications. Virtual SAN for Photon is being designed to tightly integrate with cluster managers such as Mesos, Kubernetes, Swarm etc., and be managed entirely via REST APIs to enable a DevOps focus, giving both IT admins and Developers access to storage provisioning.

Now do you see why I believe VMware Hyper-Converged Software, with this new release of Virtual SAN, is a game-changer? I am proud that our engineering team has kept the innovation engine revving and delivered rapid product maturity and differentiated capabilities to our customers.  We are committed to continually delivering and evolving the best software-defined HCI platform in the industry—providing you a game-changing solution for simplicity, performance and cost-efficiency in the datacenter of today and tomorrow!