Product Announcements

VMware Virtual SAN with Cisco UCS Reference Architecture

co-author Bhumik Patel,  VMware Partner Architect 

VMware Virtual SAN LogoAs customers look to implement Virtual SAN in their environments, it is critical that the underlying platform has the matching attributes of rapid provisioning, unified management, linear scalability and operational simplicity to be able to fully leverage the capabilities of a scale-out, hypervisor-converged Virtual SAN solution. With Cisco UCS as a platform for Virtual SAN, customers can obtain these attributes through Virtual SAN and UCS working together to contribute the following capabilities in a complementary manner.

  • Rapid Provisioning: Virtual SAN nodes can be rapidly provisioned on Cisco UCS by leveraging the service profile construct within UCS that decouples all the attributes of a physical server into a template. These templates can be applied to bring new servers online during initial provisioning or to extend your existing Virtual SAN cluster.
  • Unified management: UCS C240-M3 is a rack mount server that is the baseline for a number of Virtual SAN Ready Nodes. UCS Manager provides centralized and policy driven management of rack mount servers similar to blade management within the UCS domain. In addition, C240-M3 are directly connected to the Fabric Interconnects without the need for an intermediate Nexus 2232 fabric extenders which was previously the case.
  • Linear Scalability: Virtual SAN scales-out linearly from 3 nodes up to 32 nodes in a cluster. The rapid provisioning capabilities of the UCS platform enabled by UCS service profiles makes the process of scaling out Virtual SAN clusters through node addition seamless.

To demonstrate these synergistic capabilities, VMware has partnered with the Cisco Server Access and Virtualization Technology Group to produce a joint Reference Architecture document detailing VMware Virtual SAN on Cisco Unified Computing System C-Series rack servers.  Details covered in the paper include the following:

  • Virtual SAN on Cisco UCS Architecture
  • VMware Virtual SAN Availability and Manageability
  • Configuring Virtual SAN on the Cisco UCS 240 M3
  • Benchmarking VMware Virtual SAN on Cisco UCS

Results from our benchmark testing includes the following. We conducted two types of IO benchmark tests on a 4-node and 8-node Virtual SAN cluster to provide guidance on IOPS capacity as shown by graphs below:


4k-70R30WBenchmarking was performed on Virtual SAN 5.5 with the following UCS configuration. Default Virtual SAN storage policies were used.UCS-VSAN Arch

In addition to scalability and management benefits, performing ongoing operations with ease and achieving highest levels of availability is equally critical. In the white paper, we perform failure simulations of different components such as HDD, SSD, network and host failures and showcase the resiliency of a Virtual SAN on Cisco UCS environment.

For details on Virtual SAN on the Cisco UCS C-series configuration and testing results, download the VMware Virtual SAN with Cisco UCS Reference Architecture today.


About co-author Bhumik Patel:

Bhumik Patel is a Partner Architect in VMware’s Technical Alliances team focusing on driving joint solutions with strategic partners. Bhumik has over 10 years of experience designing and implementing virtualization solutions for customers globally as a solutions architect and driving integrated solutions with key partners. Bhumik has presented at many leading industry conferences and partner events. Bhumik holds a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Computer Science. Follow @bhumikp