VMware vSphere 7 – Improvements and Architecture Wrap-up

Finally, five years after the release of vSphere 6 in 2015, the time has come for the next level of the first class enterprise hypervisor ESXi and it’s management environment VCenter Server. After several announcements, the new version 7.0 GA was released, public downloadable, at beginning of April 2020. Meanwhile there was a lot of time to stage the first upgrades and evaluate the new features. Read on and check out my insights…

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VMWare vSAN Series – Key Features

In reference to my prior article vSAN – High Available Solution this article will give a glimpse overview of what is possibe with vSAN.

My favorite features:

Easy to install and manage. this kernel based solution requires that you have a vSphere environment already in place. Or you go the greenfield approach.

Scaleability – assign/remove single disks to/from diskgroups – go up to 64 hosts / cluster.

SPBM (Storage Policy Based Management) in place has a rich set of options assigneable to indiviual sets of VMs. Defines a redundancy with up to n+3. Furthermore, on top of it a strechted cluster is possible. A configurable IOPs limit keeps away the noisy neighbor.

In addition, Performance – literally – allflash comes with the smallest license. 

Compression/Deduplication/Encryption is sometimes required and can be activated on vSAN datastore layer.

NVME – the super fast PCIe based technology is supported. Therefore simply use this kind of SSD for Read/Write caching. 

Moreover, utilize x86 standard any vendor server hardware, no complex SAN is required for high availability. Compute, Storage and even Network … all in the box. 

Small=Big – start with an allflash two node direct design. No expensive 10Gbit+ switches have to be attached.

Certainly, integrates in Multicloud and Automation – AWS features the vSphere stack.

In conclusion, this architecture is the answer to various kinds of requirements like availability, performance, manageability, security, recoverability, compliance. However well it depends.

I appreciate your top feature in the comments!

Next:

Subsequently, I will write about the “long walk” again. Attendance Mammutmarsch  Berlin – 25.05.2019, 24h – 100km, confirmed.

After one pass and one fail (Mammutmarsch/Megamarsch Munich) the sails have been  set for another exhausting “why in the hell do I do it again” event xD.

I Wish you all the best!

VMWare vSAN Series – an overview of a hyper-converged – high available solution

Hello everybody,

got a new topic for you called VMWare vSAN which stands for virtual storage area network. This article will be an introduction in order to get a picture of the matter.

In the next part of this series I plan to write about all the features that come with it. Afterwards the architecture powered by an real life example will be explained. In the end I plan to really dive deep. A best practice series will follow which summarizes my experience and hopefully helps some desperate souls.

A different approach:

So to start, in the old days SAN was a very complex architecture which consists of storage arrays, network switches, fiber channel fabrics, (a redundant array of SAN switches) storage controllers, disk shelves and a lot of cabling. These silos had their own complex management and you needed a bunch of experts to implement the custom solution. In the end all that you got was some (high available) mass storage which you could access via different protocols like CIFS, NFS, iSCSI  and FC over the Ethernet or Fibrechannel over a dedicated storage network. Mostly no quality of service and very expensive. Furthermore it was the era of spinning disks which were power consuming, high latency and error-prone.

Besides the “old” dedicated storage approach another solution was invented. Nowadays you get not only storage but the whole stack. Computing, network and storage – on just a set of conventional servers with local (flash) disks. All components are abstracted and managed by a software. The term – software defined data center or in our case – software defined storage – emerged. This package offers a new idea of an economical, scale-able, low latency, high performance, compact, easy to administrate, maintainable, secure, feature heavy and future-proof solution.

This solution is called hyper-converged infrastructure and familiar software/hardware vendors, which I got a boundary-point with, are: DELL/VMWare, Nutanix and Simplivity.

As mentioned above I will start with the features of vSAN 6.6 in the next blog article so stay tuned.

Best wishes

Nicolas Frey