Products Hyperconverged Infrastructure Software-Defined Storage vSAN

Cisco UCS S-Series Storage Servers for vSAN – 120 TB per node

One more feather in the cap of vSAN ReadyNode configuration. We now have certified Cisco UCS S3260 Storage Server (storage dense configuration) for vSAN. You can now achieve up to 120TB of storage per node with this ReadyNode. You can see the vSAN VCG listing here (96TB per node) and here (120 TB per node).                                                                       


Why do we care about storage dense configuration?

Enterprises are running a wide variety of use cases for businesses of all types and sizes. The most common use cases include “Business Critical Applications”, “Databases (SQL/Oracle)”, “End User Computing (VDI)”, “Disaster Recovery (DR/DA)”, “Management Clusters”, and “Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO)”.

We have many vSAN ReadyNodes (Hybrid and All-Flash) certified based on rack and blade servers across different OEM partners running these workloads and use cases.

These above use cases typically do not require a lot of storage capacity, unlike new generation workloads. So what are those new generation workloads? I would put next generation applications use cases such as Big Data (Apache Hadoop), Log Aggregation (Splunk, Yarn etc…), Cloud Native Applications (PCF) in this category. They consume a lot of storage than mainstream enterprise use cases.

Today, this new generation workloads average storage capacity is around 60 – 70 TB of RAW storage per vSAN node (2x – 3x more capacity than common use cases) and they continue to grow towards more storage requirement. The current generation of certified vSAN ReadyNode (primarily on rack servers) is not meant for such large capacity or storage dense requirement.

To address the need, we now have certified Cisco UCS S-Series Storage Servers configuration for vSAN. Each node in vSAN configuration now has 96 TB of RAW storage capacity for each vSAN node. It not only enables running these new generation use cases today but potentially provides additional capacity (20% – 30%) for future growth for these workloads.


      Next Generation Application Workload

How do the Cisco S-Series compare to the C-series ReadyNode like C240?

First of all, they are not meant for “apples to apples” comparison and have their own use cases to address. The short answer C-Series can solve the purpose of large capacity. But you will require more C-Series servers to achieve this storage dense configuration. If you look at Cisco C-Series server models, you will see that C240 M4 with SFF (Small Form Factor) can have up to 38.4 TB per node which is less than half of what S3260 provides (listed in vSAN ReadyNode). You can see the C-Series models maximum internal storage capacity here. You will require 3 no. of C240 nodes to get similar storage density. Additionally, S3260 has more drive slots than C-Series servers like C240.So for such storage dense workload, S3260 is definitely a better choice.

Value Proposition of Cisco UCS powered by vSAN


This is also exciting news for a large set of existing Cisco & VMware customers that can now look at deploying vSAN as their HCI solution and leverage the following joint value proposition:

  • Rapid Provisioning: vSAN nodes can be rapidly provisioned on Cisco UCS by leveraging the service profile construct within UCS that decouples all the attributes of a physical server into a template. These templates can be applied to bring new servers online during initial provisioning or to extend your existing vSAN cluster.
  • Unified Management: UCS Manager provides centralized and policy-driven management of blades & rackmount servers. And with vCenter managing vSAN clusters, integrated management of the HCI stack
  • Linear Scalability: vSAN scales out linearly from 3 nodes up to 64 nodes in a cluster (2 nodes for ROBO). The rapid provisioning capabilities of the UCS platform enabled by UCS service profiles makes the process of scaling out vSAN clusters through node addition seamless.
  • Enable Use Cases for the Modern Data Center:  VDI, Business Critical Apps, Databases, Web Applications


Storage dense workloads such as Hadoop, Pivotal, Splunk etc… are becoming popular in the enterprise. The Cisco UCS S-Series Storage Servers provide up to 600TB of raw storage capacity (see S-Series product spec for more details) and are certified as vSAN ReadyNodes for up to 100TB per server node and are a good fit for running these workloads on vSAN. As we continue the journey to enable more storage dense configuration, we will enable new generation storage servers to address more capacity need.

vSAN hardware enablement is across the board and covers all the use cases running in enterprises. As organisations require to run next generation applications for their businesses, we work closely with our partners embracing these new generation application requiring next generation hardware platform.

For any questions on vSAN hardware, please reach out to vSAN Hardware PM

To learn more about vSAN, visit VMware vSAN

To know more about it, visit Cisco UCS S-Series Storage Servers.


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