VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN) is the converged storage solution for VMware vSphere.
Integrated directly into the hypervisor, this is a native solution with no VM-based intermediaries for storage delivery. As a result, VSAN is fast, simple to deploy and manage, and integrates tightly with the existing VMware vSphere product suite.
As the solution is native to ESXi and runs on the hypervisor itself, its architecture is simplified and the storage-delivery mechanism is tightly integrated and uniquely suited to the needs of vSphere infrastructures. VSAN is an object-oriented storage solution, where each VM is comprised of a number of objects physically distributed across the ESXi cluster. This object-oriented nature means that access to your data happens natively, without the need for traditional intermediate storage protocols like iSCSI or Fibre Channel.
VSAN's object-oriented nature also means that your VMs exist as a series of distributed objects rather than a series of monolithic files. Whereas, with traditional storage, you have a series of files (configuration files, virtual disks, swap, snapshots, and so on), with VSAN you have a coordinated and related series of objects. These objects are a container for small configuration files (the namespace object, also called VM Home), objects for each virtual disk, objects for each snapshot, and an object for the VM swap space.
The key point when discussing VSAN's architecture, is how it integrates into the existing hypervisor infrastructure to deliver the final service of any hypervisor: production virtual machines. Behind this integration of the storage and compute virtualization layers is the notion of hyper-converged infrastructure. VSAN is one element of converged infrastructure. The goal of hyper-converged infrastructure is to abstract the traditional demarcations within the environment (compute, network, and storage) by converging all aspects of the datacenter into a software-defined model with a centralized control plane and a distributed data/IO plane.
VSAN is the storage element of the software-defined datacenter. User data (VMs) is abstracted and distributed across the compute cluster. Each VM exists as a collection of related objects, distributed optimally within the compute resources. VSAN natively integrates with vCenter and its associated management tools. As a result, VSAN brings truly native, truly integrated management of the storage system into the existing and familiar vSphere operating structure.
A major benefit to this new operating model of the storage system is its simplicity and centralized management. VSAN obviates the need for traditional monolithic storage arrays connected via traditional protocols. It also significantly improves on existing virtualization-centric distributed storage solutions, typically delivered as virtual storage appliances (VSAs). Embedding the distributed storage system into the hypervisor allows for gains in performance and management. Native management through the vCenter Server means that storage for the virtual infrastructure can now be deployed and managed by the virtualization engineer.
Chapter 1, Hardware Selection for Your VSAN Cluster, provides guidance on how to build your own VSAN cluster hardware, or how to select from a VSAN Ready Node.
Chapter 2, Initial Configuration and Validation of Your VSAN Cluster, provides the step-by-step procedure to configure your new VSAN cluster and ensure that it is working properly.
Chapter 3, Storage Policy-based Management, introduces the concept of policy-based management, outlines how and why it is useful, and shows how to implement and use storage policies.
Chapter 4, Monitoring VSAN, outlines how to monitor the VSAN cluster following deployment and into production.
Chapter 5, VSAN Maintenance Operations, describes how VSAN maintenance is performed, from cluster expansion to patching to modifying virtual machines.
Chapter 6, Ruby vSphere Console, covers the VSAN-related aspects of the powerful RVC utility that is bundled with the vCenter Server.
Chapter 7, Troubleshooting VSAN, discusses how to identify and resolve various problems that may occur in the Virtual SAN environment.
Chapter 8, Support Success, should you need to contact VMware Support to pursue issue resolution, this chapter sets you up for success by outlining the steps you should take to ensure a smooth and rapid support engagement.
Chapter 9, VSAN 6.0, covers specific changes in VSAN 6.0 and calls out procedural differences between VSAN 6.0 and VSAN 5.5.
Appendix A, Chapter-specific Expansion, highlights a number of VSAN concepts that we discussed throughout this book, which can be expanded with supplementary information to improve comprehension. This information is presented on a chapter-by-chapter basis.
Appendix B, Additional VSAN Information, highlights additional technical details about Virtual SAN and provides information about useful third-party tools.
For this book to be meaningful and useful, you should have a VMware vSphere infrastructure that you wish to enhance with Virtual SAN, or a plan to deploy Virtual SAN in your computing environment. The typical vSphere utilities, such as a web browser and Adobe Flash Player, are required. Additionally, you will need an SSH client to access ESXi hosts and/or the vCenter Server command lines.
This book is for administrators of the VMware vSphere infrastructure who want to simplify storage delivery by integrating storage into vSphere. No extensive storage background is needed as VMware Virtual SAN integrates into the existing vSphere solutions, with which you are already familiar.
In this book, you will find several headings that appear frequently (Getting ready, How to do it, How it works, There's more, and See also).
To give clear instructions on how to complete a recipe, we use these sections as follows:
This section tells you what to expect in the recipe, and describes how to set up any software or any preliminary settings required for the recipe.
This section usually consists of a detailed explanation of what happened in the previous section.
This section consists of additional information about the recipe in order to make the reader more knowledgeable about the recipe.
In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.
Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "This will usually begin with
naa., but depending on your storage controller type, it could also begin with
A block of code is set as follows:
[default] exten => s,1,Dial(Zap/1|30) exten => s,2,Voicemail(u100) exten => s,102,Voicemail(b100) exten => i,1,Voicemail(s0)
Any command-line input or output is written as follows:
# esxcli storage core claiming reclaim --device naa.6000c29580eef5fec51c984a7a662bbc
New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: "Examine the registered storage providers. There should be a group for vsanDatastore."
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