What’s new in Virtual SAN (VSAN) 6.1

Virtual SAN 6.1 was announced today at VMworld US. Starting with VSAN 6.1 the product cycle is decoupled from the vSphere release cycle. This means, as with VSAN 6.1, a new VSAN version was released independently of a major vSphere release. I’m really excited about this release because there are a lot of new and cool features included.
So what’s new with VSAN 6.1:

  • Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster
  • Virtual SAN for Remote Office and Branch Office (ROBO)
  • VSAN Replication with 5min RPO
  • Support for SMP-Fault Tolerance
  • Support for Cluster Technologies (Oracle RAC, Microsoft Failover Clustering)
  • Under the hood
    • Health Check plug-in now part of vCenter
    • Health Check support for Stretched Cluster
    • Health Check proactive tests
    • Disk group bulk claiming
    • Virtual SAN On-Disk format upgrade now available in the UI
    • New RVC commands
  • vRealize Operations Management Pack for Virtual SAN
  • Support for new Flash hardware devices (ULLtraDIMM, NVMe)
  • VSAN Ready Node new branding and profile driven Models
  • New licensing

Stretched Cluster

Starting with VSAN 6.1 you can now stretch your VSAN Cluster (Datastore) across 2 sites with a witness at a 3rd site.
Stretched cluster is based on Fault Domains which where introduced in VSAN 6.0. Because there are only 3 FDs (Site A, Site B and Witness site) the maximum failure to tolerate (FTT) is 1. The witness VM can run either at a 3rd site or in vCloud Air. For more information watch out for Cormac Hogans blog (www.cormachogan.com) I assume there will be a lot of information about stretched cluster soon!
Between data sites: <= 5ms RTT, Bandwidth 10/20/40GBit, L2 with Multicast
Between Witness VM: <= 100ms RTT, Bandwidth 100Mbit or higher, L3 no Multicast

Virtual SAN for Remote Office and Branch Office (ROBO)

Virtual SAN for ROBO is based on Stretched Cluster and it’s now possible to create a 2 node VSAN cluster with a witness VM running in your primary datacenter.
Between the 2 Nodes: <= 5ms RTT, Bandwidth mininmum 1Gbit, L2 with Multicast
Between Witness VM: <= 500ms RTT, Bandwidth 100Mbit or higher, L3 no Multicast

VSAN Replication with 5min RPO

When using vSphere Replication with VSAN datastore you will now have the option to select a RPO of 5min instead of the default 15min. This can only be done withVMs residing on a VSAN 6.x datastore. VMs residing on normal datastores will not have these option available.

Support for SMP-Fault Tolerance

SMP-Fault Tolerance is now fully supported with VSAN (VSAN Stretched Cluster excluded).

Support for Cluster Technologies

Oracle RAC on VSAN was already supported with VSAN 6.0 (http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2121181). Starting with VSAN 6.1 Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering (Exchange Data Availability Groups (DAG) and SQL AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AAG) Cluster both with file share witness) is supported on VSAN. Using FCI (Failover Cluster Instances) for both is still not supported because it uses shared disks.

Support for new Flash hardware devices (ULLtraDIMM, NVMe)

With VSAN 6.1 new Flash hardware devices are supported.
ULLtraDIMM – ULLtraDIMM SSDs connect flash storage to the memory channel via DIMM slots (Diablo technologies), achieving very low (<5us) write latency. Ultra DIMM provides even greater density and performance – for example, it allows for a 12-TB All Flash Virtual SAN host in a thin blade form factor, as well as 3x improvement in latency compared to external arrays.
NVMe – Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) is a new communications interface developed especially for SSDs allowing for greater parallelism to be utilized by both hardware and software and as a result various performance improvements. Leveraging NVMe in a Virtual SAN all flash deployment resulted in 3.2M IOPS measured on a 32-node cluster – ~100K IOPS/Host.

New licensing

In VSAN 6.0 there was a Virtual SAN license based on CPU or VM (Virtual SAN for Desktops) and an add-on license for All-Flash. In VSAN 6.1 there are now 3 license options available.

Virtual SAN StandardVirtual SAN AdvancedVirtual SAN for ROBO
Licensedper CPU
per CCU (Desktop)
per CPU
per CCU (Desktop)
per VM
25 VM pack
one per site
Storage Policy Management
Read/Write SSD Caching
Distribured RAID
Virtual Distributed Switch Support
VSAN Snapshots and Clones
Rack Awareness
vRealize Operations Management Pack
New in 6.1

New in 6.1

New in 6.1
VSAN Replication (5 minute RPO)
New in 6.1

New in 6.1

New in 6.1
2 Node VSAN ROBO deployment
New in 6.1
Stretched Cluster
New in 6.1
All Flash
New in 6.1

Virtual SAN Standard and Advanced is licenses per CPU or per CCU, ROBO licensing is per VM in a 25 VM pack and is limited like the ROBO bundles to 1 pack per remote site.
Virtual SAN Advanced will be also included in VMware Horizon Advanced and Enterprise.

1 Response

  1. Kendrick says:

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