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VMware' s VSAN to support flashDIMMs and NVMe

Adding stretch clusters and faster replication to VSAN

VMware's VSAN is going to support faster flash hardware and is getting replication, stretch cluster and Oracle RAC support.

VSAN (Virtual SAN) is VMware's implementation of creating a SAN from combining the direct-attached storage on servers running its ESXi hypervisor. VSAN is used in its EVO: RAIL hyper-converged infrastructure appliance reference architecture, for systems that compete with HCIAS from Nutanix, Simplivity, Maxta and others.

More information has come our way about the next version of VSAN, 6.1, which we first heard about in a VMworld San Francisco session – STO85877 – titled What's New in Virtual SAN 6.1?.

Accrding to the document we have seen, VSAN 6.1 is the third VSAN generation and is designed to "provide enterprise-class storage for all virtualised workloads, including Tier-1 production, mission-critical applications and high-availability demanding use cases".

It will support SanDisk's ULLtraDIMMs – flash mounted in DIMM sockets to get NAND as close to the CPU as possible, so speeding virtual machines' execution. These are curently used in some Huawei, Lenovo and SuperMicro servers.

VSAN will also support NVMe, the standard PCIe driver, thus enabling it to use PCIe flash cards using NVMe, again speeding VMs.

There are four availability enhancements:

  • Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster between two geographically separate sites, synchronously replicating data between them
  • Virtual SAN Replication – up to 5 minutes RPO – better than the 15 minutes RPO in previous versions
  • Support for SMP-FT – vSphere's fault tolerance features
  • Support for Microsoft MSCS and Oracle RAC

VMware is also enhancing the Virtual SAN Management Pack for vRealize Operations.

What's not included here is deduplication which is supported by Nutanix, SimpliVity, Breqwatr and others. ®

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