VMware has officially shunted its VSAN virtual storage area network out the door at $2,495 per CPU.
The company has also released VMware Virtual SAN for Desktop at $50 per desktop. You can buy one without the other, if you please.
Virtzilla's Compatibility Guide also offers some insights into the cost of a server tricked out to run VSAN, as it currently names the Dell PowerEdge T620 as a compatible device.
We fooled around at Dell.com's configurator for the T620 and when we cooked up a machine that fills just one of the server's CPU sockets and used 16 1.2TB 10k hard disks, plus four 1.6TB solid state disks, the price soared from a base of just under $3,000 to $32,000. Those disks were the priciest Dell offers, but even with the cheapest available disks – 500GB 7.2k spinning rust and 175GB SSDs in the same quantities – the price came in at a tick over $23,000.
If we throw in the licence and 50 desktop licences that gets us to $25,500 for a 50 virtual desktop rig, before licences for the guest operating systems, vSphere and so on. We'd need to add RAM and those low end disks probably aren't realistic, but for $30,000 we get a decent rig that's cheaper than many mid-size arrays and of course doesn't need the usual collection of networking kit needed to stand up a dedicated SAN. But of course we have to multiply it all by three as that's the minimum number of nodes in a VSAN.
This IBM advice recommends its x3650 server as capable of delivering up to 75 virtual desktops. Its base price is comparable to the T620's and disk prices don't vary markedly, so it seems a VSAN Ready Node may not impose a price premium on would-be VSAN buyers.
We say “seem” because the Dell is the only server listed on the Compatibility Guide for now. VMware's promised news of more servers and storage devices from other partners as March unfurls. As they arrive we'll be in a better position to understand how VSAN stands up as a conventional SAN alternative, at least on price. ®