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After VMware made the official announcement of VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) the public beta release and the plans for the product general availability there has been a great deal of interest from customers and a magnitude of questions regarding the similarities between the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) and Virtual SAN (VSAN).

Because of all the interest and questions I wanted to quickly provide some information about the fundamental differences between the two solutions. Now, while the solutions maybe similar in concept, they are very different in many, many other ways and in fact, VSA doesn’t even belong in the same sentence with VSAN. VSA is a solution with a set of specifically defined use cases that can and should still be used where it fits depending on the requirements. VSAN is an advanced storage solution that can be used for some of the same use cases as VSA, but VSAN provides a greater level of flexibility, scalability, performance, and ease of management. Below you’ll find a brief comparison between the two solutions and some of the fundamental different  between them:

Attributes

vSphere Storage Appliance

VMware Virtual SAN

Description Low cost, simple shared storage for small deployments Scale-out distributed storage designed for virtualized/cloud environments
Form factor Virtual Appliance Built-in vSphere kernel
Ideal Targets
•Small SMB
•ROBO deployments
•Enterprise
•Commercial
Scalability
•2 to 3 vSphere servers
•Does not scale beyond 3 hosts

 

•Minimum 3 hosts deployments
•Scale out to vSphere cluster size
Performance No SSD (low performance) SSD caching (high performance)
Functionality
•Simple install & configure
•Scales up to ~16TB usable storage
•vCenter-integrated management
•SSD caching and intelligent data placement
•Rapid storage provisioning
•Scale-out for large deployments
•Granular scaling
•Storage policy based management

I hope this quick comparison is useful and is helpful for comparing the two solutions. More to come on this topic.

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