With more than 30,000 customers and over 80% of the Global 2000, vSAN continues to innovate. We’re excited to announce vSAN 7 Update 3, which delivers flexible, resilient, and future-ready infrastructure. vSAN provides a common operating model for edge, cloud, or core data center operations. We have enhanced the platform’s durability, simplified operations, and visibility, and extended developer-ready infrastructure.
Increased Resilience for Edge Deployments and Witness Host Appliance
vSAN stretched clusters are a powerful topology that provides full resilience to an environment even if a geographical site becomes unavailable for some reason. vSAN 7 Update 3 improves the availability of data if one of the data sites becomes unavailable, followed by a planned, or unplanned availability of the witness host appliance. This helps improve data availability by allowing for all site-level protect VMs and data to remain available when one data site and the witness host appliance are both offline. This capability mimics similar behavior found in storage array-based synchronous replication configurations. Not only is it applicable to stretched clusters, but this new logic will work with vSAN 2-node clusters as well.
Many customers have found a vSAN 2-node topology to be extraordinarily effective for remote and edge use cases. 2-node topologies are highly effective at providing resilience in the event of a single host failure, but with vSAN 7 Update 3, we’ve enhanced this capability to include secondary levels of resilience. Much like vSAN stretched clusters, 2-node topologies can now offer a secondary level of resilience when they have 3 or more disk groups in a host. This means that a topology could handle an entire host failure, a subsequent failure of a witness, and failure of a disk group on the remaining host, yet still provide full data availability.
Support of Key Persistence Through a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on Host
vSAN offers encryption services to help ensure the integrity of the data stored in an environment. For vSAN data-at-rest encryption, key management can occur using the vSphere Native Key Provider (NKP) or an external KMS. vSAN 7 Update 3 introduces full support of using Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) on the hosts within a vSAN cluster to persist the distributed keys should there be an issue with communication to the key provider. The use of TPMs is fully supported using the vSphere NKP, or an external KMS, and is one of the best ways to build a robust, method of key distribution and storage of the keys.
VM I/O Trip Analyzer Integrated into vCenter Server
Understanding potential performance bottlenecks in a distributed storage system like vSAN can be challenging. vSAN 7 Update 3 introduces the VM I/O trip analyzer to help administrators to identify the primary points of contention more easily. With the ability to visually illustrate parts of the data path directly in the vCenter Server UI, the administrator will be presented with a simplified view indicated the likely cause. Not only will it have a visual data path, but it will measure the variability (standard deviation) of the delay time (latency) of the system, which can help administrators not only answer the questions of performance but of performance consistency. This complements the existing vSAN performance service views, and IO Insight’s ability to granularly track IO profiles for specific virtual machines.
Skyline Health Check Correlation for vSAN
The Skyline health checks for a vSAN cluster is an impressive list of detailed health checks to catch the most common issues such as misconfigurations and failures. New to vSAN 7 Update 3 is the ability to understand the relationship of one health check to another for fast and effective troubleshooting. Understanding relationships of multiple triggered health checks will allow one to address the root cause more quickly, which may correct most or all of the triggered alerts. The functionality is available via API as well, so it can be used in solutions such as vRealize Operations.
Network Monitoring Enhancements
vSAN 7 Update 3 introduces several new metrics and health checks to provide better visibility into the switch fabric that connects the vSAN hosts and ensures higher levels of consistency across a cluster. Duplicate IP detection is now a part of the health checks, as well as LACP synchronization issues that can occur with these LAG configurations.
Intelligent Cluster Aware Shutdown and Startup Workflows
There may occasionally be the need to perform a full shutdown of a vSAN cluster. vSAN 7 Update 3 introduces new intelligence to ensure the graceful shutdown of a vSAN cluster so that the data and the control/management plane are halted in the desired state. Guided workflows with pre-check validations will help with both power-down and power-up scenarios for consistent and predictable results. The simplified shutdown and startup procedure aligns with many of the other recent efforts to ensure the operational simplicity of a vSAN environment.
Extending vLCM to Support Additional vSAN Workflows
The vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM) has introduced all-new levels of lifecycle management of hosts that participate in vSphere and vSAN clusters. vSAN 7 U3 introduces support for vSAN topologies that use dedicated witness host appliances. Both stretched clusters, as well as 2-node environments that use their dedicated witness host appliance, will now be managed and updated by vLCM. In addition, vLCM can now perform HCL validation of NVMe storage devices.
Deliver Developer-Ready Infrastructure
VMware continues to enhance vSphere and vSAN’s ability to accommodate the needs of developers and administrators with new features found in vSAN 7 Update 3. An infrastructure that accommodates the needs of developers and administrators is key to delivering services quickly and efficiently. Let’s take a look at the improvements we are introducing that relate to environments running cloud-native applications.
Support of vSAN stretched Clusters for Kubernetes Clusters
A developer-ready infrastructure must meet the many different requirements of an organization and the developers who build and manage applications. Site-level availability is often one of those requirements. vSAN 7 Update 3 introduces enhancements to the platform that help accommodate when site-level resilience is needed. The use of stretched clusters can be ideal for environments using persistent volumes consumed by vanilla Kubernetes. All of the same resilience capabilities found in vSAN stretched clusters for traditional workloads will be available when using upstream vanilla Kubernetes, including secondary levels of resilience and site-affinity.
Stretched Cluster support for Persistent Volume placement in the open-source vSphere CSI driver is specifically supported from the vSAN storage layer. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid or vSphere with Tanzu currently have no Stretched Cluster support due to known Kubernetes limitations
New Certified Cloud Native Solutions and Improved Updating
With the latest version of vSAN also comes new certified versions of persistent service operators from our Partners. Our Partners, the Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will be making their announcement around their offerings, but one of the more intriguing aspects of these announcements is that beginning in vSAN 7 Update 3, the ability for these operators to be updated will occur without the need to upgrade any versions of vSphere, vSAN or the vCenter Server. The decoupling of the persistent service lifecycle management means easier updates for customers using persistent services.
File and Block-Based Persistent Volumes in vSphere with Tanzu
With this latest edition, the use of file-based read-write-many volumes is now supported in vSphere with Tanzu in addition to the block-based read-write-once volumes supported in previous editions. The provides all-new levels of flexibility and efficiency for microservices to simply mount and access the same persistent volume as other pods in the cluster. RWM volumes can be easily exposed to Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) guest clusters using vSAN file services.
The latest versions of vSAN include several enhancements that further improve efficiency, resilience, performance, and capability. VMware encourages organizations to run the latest version of vSphere and vSAN to take advantage of these benefits. Stay tuned for what’s new with SRM, vVols, and Core Storage.