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We are continuing the momentum behind the industry-leading hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software, VMware vSAN, with several big announcements today. I’m excited to announce new HCI leadership with the largest hybrid cloud ecosystem, the general availability of VMware vSAN 6.7, and the introduction of vSAN ReadyCare support.

As the HCI market continues to rapidly evolve, we continue to deliver an integrated HCI stack that offers a clear path to the full software-defined data center as well as IT agility and digital foundation for the hybrid cloud.

 

Powering the Largest HCI Hybrid Cloud Ecosystem

Hyperconverged Infrastructure has become a popular alternative to traditional external storage because it helps customers modernize their infrastructure without risk and reduce TCO; however, to prepare IT for the future, HCI must evolve to provide a seamless path to the full software-defined data center (SDDC) and a natural connection to a strong public cloud ecosystem—a key element to helping organizations adopt an agile, hybrid-cloud strategy.

To achieve the hybrid cloud goal, two parts are critical: (1) a strong private cloud (on-prem) adoption and ecosystem, and (2) wide public cloud ecosystem offering HCI-as-a-service. Together, this hybrid cloud ecosystem is critical, and one that VMware is delivering on today to provide true IT agility with the largest HCI hybrid cloud ecosystem.

 

 

 HCI Leader in Private Cloud

Within the HCI market, the latest IDC Data (Q4 2017) confirms that vSAN remains the largest HCI vendor by revenue—well outpacing the nearest competitors and overall market growth with 111% year over year growth. In February 2018, VMware also debuted as a Leader in the inaugural Gartner Magic Quadrant for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure, becoming the first software-only leader in an industry that analysts and vendors all agree is increasing shifting to software and the critical role it plays in powering agile data centers built for the hybrid cloud.

VMware further solidifies its private cloud leadership with its continued investment and focus on vSAN ReadyLabs to fuel the largest ecosystem of server, component and software vendors. vSAN is now available on over 500 different ReadyNodes and from 16 different server vendors, who increasingly are delivering different hardware form factors from rugged edge systems to composable infrastructure.

 

HCI Leader in Public Cloud Providers

Most businesses are already using public cloud today, but for the majority, public cloud is yet another silo to manage. Only vSAN has generally available integrations with two of the four largest public cloud providers, Amazon and IBM. In addition, over 250 public cloud providers have chosen vSAN to power their offerings at scale—with multiple cloud providers already powering over 10 petabytes of production storage on vSAN. The closest competitor has no GA public cloud integration to date and only a handful of public cloud providers running their software stack.

The strong public cloud ecosystem is critical when thinking about a digital foundation for the future and the ability to deliver flexibility and choice to your organizations. 

 

New HCI Experience with vSAN 6.7

The latest release of vSAN 6.7 builds on VMware’s market-leading, vSphere-native storage to deliver a new HCI experience with enhanced operational efficiencies that reduces time-to-expertise and accelerates decision making. This release provides a more consistent, resilient and secure application experience. Finally, we’re excited to introduce vSAN ReadyCare to encapsulate a holistic support investment focused on people, services, and technology to deliver an enhanced support experience.

 

Intuitive Operations Experience

Administrators today face mounting infrastructure management challenges: data keeps growing and their deployments are expanding away from the data center to the edge and the public cloud. IT teams need to be lean, efficient and responsive—not an easy task with traditional systems and siloed tools.

 

 

To help alleviate the strain on IT teams, vSAN 6.7 introduces a new, intuitive management experience that includes a new user interface based on HTML5 for consistent operations across the full SDDC stack. The UI has been rebuilt from the ground up, with a clean, modern look. The user experience is similar to sleek web browsers that you use every day: clean, simple and intuitive. The UI also boasts new views that aggregate vital operations information, which has been prioritized made searchable, which greatly simplifies management of vSAN deployments. In addition, dozens of workflows have been significantly streamlined, reducing time-to-value by emphasizing the most common options, and net new workflows were added simplify common day two operations.

 

Deploy, Manage, and Scale vSAN natively with vRealize Operations

In addition to a new, modern look and feel, admins need rapid access to health and performance information for their entire environment, from edge to cloud to core. With vSAN 6.7, VMware introduces self-driving operations that extend from vRealize Operations within vCenter to vRealize Operations advanced. Customers get two ways to manage their vSAN environments with vRealize Operations – global operations overview in vCenter and advanced monitoring, troubleshooting and capacity management with VMware’s new vRealize Operations 6.7.

Organizations can leverage these vRealize capabilities within vCenter without purchasing a separate vRealize Operations license, but can expand the insights and actions as well as expedite time-to-value with vRealize Operations’ advanced capabilities.

 

 

Customers gain a single pane of glass to monitor and control their HCI environment through vRealize Operations insights directly within vCenter, providing overview of vSAN and vSphere environments as well as surfacing up critical alerts and operations insights.

 

 

Customers can then expand the insights and actions as well as expedite time to value of vRealize Operations advanced capabilities through HCI with Operations Management with centralized visibility of vSAN across multiple vCenters, full capacity views including time remaining and deduplication, prioritized alerts, and prescriptive full stack vSAN troubleshooting.

 

Consistent Applications Experience

Today’s digital businesses depend on predictable, available and secure applications—from cloud native applications and to traditional mission-critical applications. Whether during upgrades or while recovering from a hardware failure, organizations expect applications to not just be always-on but to deliver consistent performance.

vSAN 6.7 introduces a number of new capabilities to ensure predictable application performance and availability. vSAN introduces intelligent self-healing capabilities that minimize the impact of resynchronization (resync) operations on applications by dynamically adapting bandwidth to minimize application I/O latency. vSAN also reduces time resources are taken offline during common day two operations, such as entering a host into maintenance mode.

This release also supports an even wider set of use cases and applications to drive even greater data center consolidation and support for modern, cloud native applications. For customers that meet additional requirements, vSAN 6.7 can deliver optimized policies for cloud native applications, like NoSQL and Hadoop, to support improved storage efficiency and resiliency. Please contact your VMware representative for more details on this feature.

Customers will also be able to manage more BCA workloads thanks to new iSCSI support for Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC), helping organizations reduce data center complexity and move towards a unified SDDC experience.

Finally, vSAN Encryption is further strengthened. We’re excited to announce another industry first. vSAN encryption is now the first software-based HCI encryption solution that is FIPS 140-2 validated, passing stringent requirements for data security.

 

Introducing vSAN ReadyCare for an Enhanced Support Experience

Organizations rely on vendor support more than ever to maintain data center performance through advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. With the launch of vSAN 6.7, VMware is introducing vSAN ReadyCare to describe the focused investments and innovations being made into vSAN support. Similar to vSAN ReadyLabs that focuses on certifications and new technologies, vSAN ReadyCare represents the combined investments the vSAN team is making in people, services and technology to provide a superior vSAN support experience.

On the people and services side, VMware more than doubled the number of support staff dedicated to vSAN over the past year and has rolled out a host of new services, including remote services to provide simple, efficient support in getting started when needed.

And on the technology front, vSAN has invested significantly in delivering new capabilities that can identify potential issues and recommend solutions before a support request is required. vSAN 6.7 introduces over a dozen new health checks, raising the total to over fifty. vSAN also enhances the predictive modelling and other advanced analytical tools to identify common issues across thousands of vSAN deployments. Utilizing this information, VMware can push proactive alerts to customers.

 

 

Finally, vSAN Support Insight offers a powerful framework to deliver a better reactive support experience and enable more and more proactive services. In the event of a support call, vSAN support already has detailed, real-time information on a given environment (if enabled by the customer through the VMware Customer Experience Improvement Program). With that, VMware can rapidly understand a customer’s environment, perform root cause analysis to identify the cause of the problem, and deliver proactive support based on trends and analytics.

 

Digital Foundation for the Hybrid Cloud

vSAN continues to lead the HCI software market in adoption due in part to the breadth of its ecosystem, which helps customers become more agile and realize their vision of a true hybrid cloud architecture. By ensuring the HCI stack can run in any environment, from edge to core to public cloud, customers build a digital foundation that future proofs their software investments. vSAN 6.7 delivers a new HCI experience with intuitive operations, consistent application performance and enhanced ReadyCare support.

If you want to learn more, take a deep dive into the capabilities of vSAN 6.7 with the Technical What’s New post.

Want to take vSAN for a test drive? Try a Hands-on Lab