VMware vSAN HCI Mesh™ Lowers Operational Expenses by Up to 73%, Says Evaluator Group Study*

VMware is pleased to announce that, according to Evaluator Group, VMware vSAN HCI Mesh™ provides up to 73% operational savings annually over traditional external storage arrays. Evaluator Group analyzed three main points in the lifecycle of both vSAN storage-only clusters and external arrays to identify potential savings: initialization and setup, ongoing operations and recovery and availability. We can report that vSAN provided significant savings at every phase. To read the report, please visit this webpage.

What is VMware vSAN HCI Mesh?

VMware HCI Mesh allows vSAN Clusters to share storage capacity with compute clusters or non- Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) vSphere Clusters. Customers can now adopt HCI without needing to replace existing servers, scale compute and storage independently. The scale-out architecture of VMware vSAN enables powerful non-disruptive scale-up or scale-out capabilities. You can non-disruptively expand capacity and performance by adding hosts to a cluster (scale-out) or grow capacity by adding disks to a host (scale-up). As application workloads organically grow, this enables performance to be right-sized at each expansion interval. This year, VMware took HCI flexibility a step further with HCI Mesh, which brings together multiple independent clusters for a native, cross-cluster architecture that disaggregates storage and compute resources and enables efficient utilization of capacity. Simply, HCI Mesh allows one or more clusters to remotely mount datastores from other vSAN clusters within vCenter inventory. This approach maintains the essence and simplicity of HCI by not fundamentally changing the existing HCI model or requiring specialized hardware.

Evaluator Group Measures Savings for Small and Large Environments

To evaluate the savings of VMware vSAN HCI Mesh, Evaluator Group tested two different environments, the smaller one called “standard” and the larger one called “expanded.”

  • The standard environment consisted of one site with 12 hosts in 3 clusters with 600 total VMs and 150 TB of raw storage.
  • The expanded environment consisted of two sites with 64 hosts in 8 clusters, 6,400 VMs and 2 PB of raw storage. The expanded site also took advantage of VMware vRealize® Operations™, or vROps, for advanced management capabilities.

To compare, Evaluator Group set up comparable fibre channel SAN environments. The team analyzed several operational tasks in the areas listed below, estimated the annual time to perform each task. Once the hours required to set up and maintain the environment were measured, Evaluator Group then estimated the annual operational cost for VMware vSAN HCI Mesh and traditional storage to arrive at an operational savings estimate.

Initialization and Setup

Ongoing Operations

  • Storage Provisioning
  • Storage Maintenance
  • Storage Planning and Remediation
  • Availability and Recovery

End of Life Considerations

In summary, Evaluator Group found that vSAN offers significant savings for both standard and expanded environments. Here are some, but not all, of the key reasons VMware vSAN HCI Mesh reduced time to complete setup and ongoing operations:

  • Fewer storage elements (i.e. datastores) to manage with vSAN
  • Additional performance data on a per VM and VMDK reduces performance analysis time
  • All administrative tasks performed with vCenter instead of multiple tools

Next Steps

  • To see the complete report, please visit this webpage
  • To learn more about VMware vSAN HCI Mesh, read the blog
  • Take a technical deep dive at TechZone

*Fellows, Russ. Accelerating Hybrid Cloud: Comparing vSAN and Fibre Channel SAN. Evaluator Group. September 2021.