Over the past few months, I have interacted with many of you—current and potential vSAN users—at various conferences and events, and one common theme is becoming clear: vSAN has moved into the mainstream. Customer questions shifted from basic technology topics to how vSAN can accelerate business, not just IT objectives.

As a mainstream option, you need to know more than just the technical and product details. At times, part of your job is to convince your management team that a newer approach to IT is needed. We hear CIOs and CTOs asking their teams to not just evolve into a modern infrastructure, but to do so in a way that helps them reduce risks, lower costs, and enable future technologies and cloud strategies.

As a wider set of companies start researching how vSAN can help, we want you to understand the unique value vSAN offers and see how those capabilities can help both your business and IT objectives. In this article, I focus on how vSAN helps address the first of those CIO requests: Modernizing IT while minimizing change and risk.


Evolutionary, Not Revolutionary

The value of vSAN starts with its fundamental architecture, which is an evolutionary, not revolutionary, approach to IT. In other words, vSAN extends what you are already doing today with vSphere and industry-standard x86 servers; it does not require a forklift upgrade that introduces new hardware platforms or different software solutions. With vSAN, you have the ability to modernize your infrastructure while minimizing change and risk thanks to three unique benefits:

Leverage Proven, World-Class Ecosystem

Anytime you change your IT infrastructure, the impact of those changes on other parts of the data center can sometimes be overlooked. Will you be able to use your preferred server hardware? Will you get the same level of support and integration from your backup vendor?

vSAN, an extension of vSphere, supports your current choice of data center solutions, from hardware to software. vSAN offers 5x more hardware options than any other HCI solution, so you can continue using your preferred vendor without risking introducing a new hardware platform, a new support process, or new procurement approvals. In addition, all of the ecosystem software solutions you are using with vSphere—such as data protection, file services and more—work seamlessly with vSAN.

Native VMware Integration

As key datacenter operations converge together, the architecture underlying that convergence is critical. Integration is key to ensure that core server virtualization features, like vMotion and DRS in vSphere environments, continue to work and do not impact or limit the storage performance. In addition, the right HCI architecture allows you to easily evolve from your current vSphere environment to HCI.

For the 500,000+ vSphere customers, vSAN offers the least disruptive path to HCI given its vSphere-embedded architecture that natively integrates with vSphere features. Built by VMware, vSAN also works with the breath of VMware solutions that include NSX, Horizon and vRealize. And most importantly, the familiar vCenter too becomes your management tool for compute, storage and networking.

Optimize Existing Infrastructure

Existing storage infrastructure investments—especially those made within the past year or two—can provide another barrier to HCI adoption and a risky migration requirement. Many customers want to make a change, but they must continue using existing infrastructure to maximize the ROI from those investments.

VMware has a long history with traditional storage vendors through technologies and programs like VMFS, VAAI, VASA, and of course Virtual Volumes (vVols). Thanks to those rich integration points with traditional storage, we are uniquely positioned to protect current storage infrastructure investments. vSAN offers the only HCI solution built on storage policy-based management that extends per-VM policies and automated provisioning to both HCI and modern SAN and NAS storage systems (through vVols). Traditional storage can co-exist on the same vSphere cluster as vSAN, enabling simple migration paths, tiering choices and investment protection.


Beyond Evolving without Risk

As vSAN continues to grow with mainstream customers, we hope to hear more stories about how customers are accelerating their data center modernization without risk thanks to vSAN.

Ready to evolve your IT infrastructure now with vSAN, then read more on How to Get Started with HCI.