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Whenever disruptive technology meets well-established paradigms, it takes time for everyone to “get the memo”.  Many enterprises are simply conservative and don’t like change, while others believe that adopting “1.0” version is asking for trouble. (Hard to argue with that last one!)  Very rarely do you come across a product that is both mature and innovative at the same time and VMware vSAN, in my opinion, is a part of the exclusive list.

Earlier this week, CRN named vSAN 6.6 a winner in the 2017 Product of the Year Awards in the Software-Defined Storage category, Technology subcategory. Recent market studies from IDC and 451 Research show how critical the core HCI software is to the fast-growing HCI market, and that VMware vSAN is leading the market (Read more in this blog). Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are still people out there who wonder if VMware vSAN is ready to handle their tier-1 workloads: the business-critical applications upon which the organization (and the IT staff’s continued employment) depends on.  For those die-hards, let’s look at the facts:

Majority of customers trust vSAN to run their Business-Critical Applications: At the time of writing this blog, vSAN has over 10,000 customers, and in a recent survey, over 60% of respondents told us that they are using vSAN to support business critical applications including Oracle, SQL, Exchange, and SAP.  VMware has helped make those deployments easy by developing reference architectures for all those apps.  There’s no better assurance of safety than knowing that others have taken the plunge successfully.

Rate of Innovation: Next let’s look at software development. The vSAN team has released seven major versions in the last three years; the product is now at version 6.6.1, not 1.0.  Each of those seven releases, and countless patches in between, further enhanced the solutions reliability and added support for a wide range of enterprise-class features that make Hyper-converged (HCI) solutions powered by vSAN as an ideal platform for critical workloads.

  • Space efficiency features like; Inline de-duplication, compression and erasure coding. Testing results show up to 50% greater performance for all-flash systems using the data services compared to vSAN 6.5
  • Ability to Secure Data with the industry’s first native, software-defined HCI security with data-at-rest encryption
  • Site Protection for 50% Less than Traditional Solutions with Enhanced Stretched Clusters (Learn more about sizing and capacity considerations in this blog)
  • Up to 2.5x greater performance with Intel Xeon Scalable processors, Intel Optane SSDs and VMware vSAN 6.6 compared to previous server architectures and vSAN editions.

Certified Solutions with vSAN ReadyLabs: This team within VMware works with all our OEM partners to ensure that server platforms and their components are fully tested and certified for our customers.  We now have 15 server OEM partners with server platforms that are certified to run vSAN so you get vendor choice, and assurance that things will work right when you power up.  And if you want to make it even simpler, we’ve partnered with Dell EMC to deliver the complete VxRail HCI appliance – just plug it in and you’re practically up and running. (Learn more about vSAN ReadyNodes)

Automated Health Checks with Cloud Analytics: Furthermore, vSAN 6.6 introduced Cloud Analytics.  This service performs health checks on your vSAN installation, and proactively notifies you of potential problems and provides suggestions on how to proceed.  The cloud-based architecture can be updated in real-time as new recommendations are created and passed to the customer immediately without requiring customer intervention or vSAN updates.

Hyper-converged infrastructure is a game changer in the data center, but it does require significant advancements in technology.  Trying to balance hardware flexibility with simplicity of deployment is always a challenge.  VMware built its reputation on reliability, and enterprise customers trust VMware vSAN with their most critical asset – data. vSAN supports business critical applications for thousands of organizations, with more coming on-line every day.

CenturyLink: “We can deliver over 6M IOPS with our all-flash clusters and streamline consistent performance levels. That leads to fewer support calls and happier customers. Data is always available, and we don’t need to raise our prices to offset large capital expenditures.” – Jeremyah Corner, Director of Software Development, Centurylink Cloud

ACI Specialty Benefits:  “With vSAN, we are using all-flash configurations to get a 35% boost in performance while actually reducing costs,” says Fay. “We tried another hyper-converged solution, but preferred vSAN because of its cost-effective scalability and native integration with vSphere.”, Ryan Fay, Global CIO, ACI Specialty Benefits

Union Hospital:  “We actually had clinics calling us up to say how much faster the apps were running once they were in a pure vSAN environment. It seems like the more things we migrate to vSAN, the more people are begging to be on it.” – Chad Elliott, Network Systems Consultant, Union Hospital

Fulton County Schools“What used to take our users 30 to 45 minutes to accomplish in the old environment, now takes less than 5 minutes. That frees up valuable time for our teachers that they can use to help students.”, Kenny Wilder, Director of Network Infrastructure, Fulton County Schools

Baystate Health:  “Based on the requirements of up-time, integration of all the different siloes and essentially the seamlessness of the architecture, VMware is, as far as we’re concerned, the proper choice – pretty much the most solid approach to hyperconvergence.” Mike Feld Interim CTO, Baystate Health

As you can see above, vSAN is a big hit with our customers, and we’re going to continue to make the investments necessary make it the highest quality HCI option on the market. Lee Caswell, VP of Products, Storage and Availability Business Unit at VMware, predicts big changes to Servers and Storage in 2018. Is your I.T. ready for the change?