Using VSAN in production?

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Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby zoltank » Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:34 pm

This isn't a B&R question per se, but I've found the members here to be well versed in real world usage of VMware.

We're looking at a refresh of our virtual environment late this year or early next, and I'm taking the opportunity to reexamine our architecture. Currently we have a 9TB SAN with dual everything connecting to three hosts with a total of 55 VMs. However, even with this I don't like that the SAN is single point of failure, especially since we've had a dual controller reset on the SAN before (absolutely not fun). However, I understand a physical SAN, I understand its limitations, and it's a proven technology.

VSAN makes a lot of sense to me on the theoretical level, and I can see it being the future of virtualized storage. However, it's only been a year since VMware released their VSAN product.

So, is VMware VSAN ready for a production environment with business critical VMs on it?
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby Vitaliy S. » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:44 pm

I believe VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 looks like a good offer from VMware.

As to the previous version of vSan you can review (if you haven't seen them yet) a couple of comments over these links:
http://www.virtualizationteam.com/stora ... y-yet.html
http://www.reddit.com/r/vmware/comments ... nightmare/
http://technodrone.blogspot.com/2014/03 ... truth.html
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:20 am

And as additional note, since you are evaluating a "Server SAN" solution, remember there are also other technologies available, like Nutanix or HP StoreVirtual VSA (that is also supported with our storage snapshots integration by the way).
All of them have good feedback from user and proven usability, and we have integration and best practices papers with all of them, when not having dedicated software integration.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby zoltank » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:37 pm

I'm really only looking at VMware VSAN since eliminating a vendor in our virtual environment is a benefit to us; one fewer neck to choke.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby emachabert » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:51 pm

Beware of vendor lock-in :-)
By the way looks like a good technical option.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:03 pm

:)
Whenever you pick a vendor, there it comes a vendor lock-in (even with Veeam). The problem is not vendor lock-in, but if you pick up a vendor that after the sell cycle is going to choke you, that one is a bad lock-in.

I was comparing other Server SAN solutions in technical terms, not for reducing the number of suppliers. If so, you should also consider EVO:RAIL, they all come with a one single point of contact for all the components.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby zoltank » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:40 pm

I'm also evaluating EVO:RAIL, though I'm more wary of purchasing a hardware solution from a software vendor. I'm pretty comfortable with a Dell server on the VMware HCL list. With our SAN we've ended up in the annoying situation of having VMware saying talk to IBM (our SAN vendor), and having IBM saying talk to VMware.

Sorry, when I said "I'm really only looking at VMware VSAN since eliminating a vendor in our virtual environment is a benefit to us; one fewer neck to choke.", what I meant wasn't that we're only looking at VSAN to eliminate a vendor, what I meant was we're only looking at VMware's implementation of VSAN in order not to add an additional vendor.

We're at VSAN, first and foremost, because in theory it should be more reliable than a hardware SAN, and we love reliable.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:32 pm

Got your point.
Well, it's reliable as any scale-out storage can be, because it doesn't have a single point of failure. But this is on paper, you're better to test it out in your environment if possible; not saying it's not good, but specs on the paper are one thing, in real life usually things change and the details are important.
Just one note for EVO:RAIL. VMware is not selling it, they just give licenses to OEM to build and sell their own appliances, so you will end up having an HP, Dell, EMC, and others solutions. But one requirement of EVO:RAIL is that the hardware vendor has to guarantee a single point of contact for support (sounds like I'm promoting it by now... sorry, just trying to give correct informations).

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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby zoltank » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:12 pm

I just learned that about EVO:RAIL this morning, which has really reduced its appeal to me.

Unfortunately, I can't really effectively test it out. We're looking at a complete refresh of our VMware environment (standing up a completely separate and new environment and then moving out VMs over to it), so we need to decide beforehand if we'll be packing our hosts with storage or purchasing a SAN.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby tsightler » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:38 pm

zoltank wrote:I just learned that about EVO:RAIL this morning, which has really reduced its appeal to me.


I'm curious as to why this reduced it's appeal. Earlier you mentioned that you were wary about buying hardware from a software vendor, so I would have thought this would make it better. Instead of buying your own hardware and software separately, and then mashing it all together and having them point at each other when something doesn't work, you can buy a certified combination of hardware/software and have a single point of support. This would seem to be the best possible option. Of course, I'm not sure about the entire EVO:RAIL concept as I think it removes some flexibility going forward although perhaps I just like building things myself to much and thus this commoditization is killing me. But I am curious of your thoughts around this point.

Thanks for the great conversation!
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby emachabert » Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:26 pm 1 person likes this post

It is still the same mess, software/hardware tennis match :-), but this time you just count the points. I can't wait to manage a performance issue on EVO:Rack :) :D
Let's learn about this new technology, soon designs will be sharper and limits will be well known.

I'm thinking like Tom, I like building things I know will run smoothly at light speed :-)
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Regarding new features of Vsphere, VVols are a biggest point to me because it definitively change the way we've been managing VM storage for the last 10years. I see many benefits on that point.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby zoltank » Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:25 pm 1 person likes this post

tsightler wrote:I'm curious as to why this reduced it's appeal. Earlier you mentioned that you were wary about buying hardware from a software vendor, so I would have thought this would make it better. Instead of buying your own hardware and software separately, and then mashing it all together and having them point at each other when something doesn't work, you can buy a certified combination of hardware/software and have a single point of support. This would seem to be the best possible option. Of course, I'm not sure about the entire EVO:RAIL concept as I think it removes some flexibility going forward although perhaps I just like building things myself to much and thus this commoditization is killing me. But I am curious of your thoughts around this point.


If I go with EVO:RAIL I'm paying a premium and giving up my ability to customize my host/storage specifically to my needs and price point. I'd be willing to do that if it meant the same vendor supported both the hardware and software, but that's clearly not the case. I'm essentially just buying a pre-configured server which still has me going to the hardware vendor for support and possibly locks me in to waiting on the hardware vendor to certify/release vSphere versions for their specific EVO:RAIL. It seems like I'd be able to have the same level of support by just making sure all the hardware in the server I buy is on the HCL.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby emachabert » Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:49 am

Yep, a VCE like offer, but at server scale.
I think it will be good for smb, branch office etc. I played with those servers at VMworld last year, in less than 20min you have 4 esx, 1 vcenter and 1 logInsight up and running. You enter the technical information in the wizaard and then it builds everything automatically.
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby umenz » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:04 pm

back to the initilal question.

I think Server Hardware with NVMe Cache is faster than "entry" SANs in the same pricing league.
Why not use vSAN in Production. Any catastophal experences ?
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Re: Using VSAN in production?

Veeam Logoby dellock6 » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:17 pm

I'd say that after the first release and its problems (as any other v1 product) VSAN has proved itself to be a really stable solution. I don't see limits as of today not to use it in production.

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