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.