VMware has just annouced the general availability of the latest version of vSAN which is the backbone of their native Hyper Converged Infrastructure offering with vSphere. vSAN has had a number of significant upgrades since its very first launch back in 2014 as version 5.5 (with vSphere 5.5) and each upgrade has added some very cool, innovative features to the solution which has driven the customer adoption of vSAN significantly. The latest version vSAN 6.6 is no different and by far it appears to be have the highest number of new features announced during an upgrade release.
Given below is a simple list of some of the key features of vSAN 6.6 which is the 6th generation of the products
Additional native security features
- HW independent data at rest encryption (Software Defined Encryption)
- Software Defined AES 256 encryption
- Supported on all flash and hybrid
- Data written already encrypted
- KMS works with 3rd party KMS systems
- Built-in compliance with dual factor authentication (RSA secure ID and Smart-card authentication)
Stretched clusters with local failure protection
With vSAN 6.6, if a site fails, surviving site will have local host and disk group protection still (not the case with the previous versions)
- RAID 1 over RAID 1/5/6 is supported on All Flash vSAN only.
- RAID 1 over RAID 1 is supported on Hybrid vSAN only
Proactive cloud analytics
This sounds like its kind of similar to Nimble’s cloud analytics platform which is popular with customers. With proactive cloud analytics, it uses data collected from VSAN support data globally to provide analytics through the vSAN health UI, along with some performance optimization advice for resolving performance issues.
Intelligent & Simpler operations
Simpler setup and post set up operations are achieved through a number of new features and capabilities. Some of the key features include,
- Automated setup with 1 click installer & lifecycle management
- Automated configuration & compliance checks for vSAN cluster (this was somewhat already available through vSAN health UI). Additions include,
- Networking & cluster configurations assistance
- New health checks for encryption, networking, iSCSI, re-sync operations
- Automated controller firmware & driver upgrades
- This automates the download and install of VMware supported drivers for various hard drives and RAID controllers (for the entire cluster) which is significantly important.
- I think this is pretty key as the number of vSAN performance issues due to firmware mismatch (especially on Dell server HW) has been an issue for a while now.
- Proactive data evacuation from failing drives
- Rapid recovery with smart, efficient rebuild
- Expanded Automation through vSAN SDK and PowerCLI
vSAN 6.6 now includes a highly available control plane which means the resilient management is now possible independent of vCenter.
Other key features
- Increased performance
- Optimized for latest flash technologies involving 1.6TB flash (Intel Optane drives anyone??)
- Optimize performance with actionable insights
- 30% faster sequential write performance
- Optimized checksum and dedupe for flash
- Certified file service and data protection (through 3rd party partners)
- Native vRealize Operations integrations
- Simple networking with Unicast
- Real time support notification and recommendations
- Simple vCenter install and upgrade
- Support for Photon 1.1
- Expanded caching tier choices
There you go. Another key set of features added to vSAN with the 6.6 upgrade which is great to see. If you are a VMware vSphere customer who’s looking at a storage refresh for your vSphere cluster or a new vSphere / Photon / VIC requirement, it would be silly not to look in to vSAN as opposed to looking at legacy hardware SAN technologies from a legacy vendor (unless you have non VMware requirements in the data center).
If you have any questions or thoughts, please feel free to comment / reach out
Additional details of whats new with VMware vSAN 6.6 is avaiable at https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2017/04/11/whats-new-vmware-vsan-6-6/