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How Your Business Can Make the Most of Virtual SAN

Hyper-converged solutions can help you to work more productively and minimize your expenses. Read this article to find out how you can benefit from virtual SAN!

If you virtualize your storage, you’ll be able to manage all your resources through the same platform. It would be rational to pool various resources via hyperconverged infrastructure and manage them centrally. In this article, we’ll tell you how your company can benefit from hyperconverged solutions and compare the three most popular vSAN products. Plus, you’ll find out which three steps you might want to take to optimize your virtual SAN storage management capabilities.

The Advantages That HyperConverged Solutions Can Bring to Businesses

Hyperconverged solutions incorporate server, storage, and network virtualization into one package. Here are the main competitive edges of this approach:

  • Reduced expenses
  • Ease of use – in provisioning and managing all resources
  • Excellent performance with the aid of flash storage

Virtual SAN comes in handy for various use cases — for instance, business-critical apps, VDI, DR, and Test/Dev.

Companies might need to create a virtual SAN to reach one of the three objectives:

  • Increase capacity
  • Boost performance
  • Cut down costs

To make the most of vSAN, companies should run business-critical applications and access them from their desktops or with the help of their clients. It’s not enough to secure the highest possible speed of work and the highest quality of the feed represented by IOPs and bandwidths. It would be wise to use Virtual SAN to test and create reference architectures. Plus, this solution is indispensable for running business-critical apps and databases (it might be, for instance, Oracle 12c or Microsoft SQL Server databases).

What Exactly Businesses Can Do to Optimize Virtual SAN Storage Management Capabilities

To optimize their virtual SANs, companies might want to follow these three recommendations.

Optimize Tiering for Hybrid Storage Environments

To set up a hybrid environment, a data center would typically deploy conventional hard-disk storage drives with flash storage. If a company relies on vSAN, its IT department should be able to optimize data storage in various tiers of that environment. That should allow them to achieve the following goals:

  • Enhance performance
  • Accelerate rebuilds
  • Provide fault isolation

Before the vSAN deployment, administrators need to double-check its data footprint reduction settings, paying special attention to deduplication and compression.

The vSAN software is famous for its user-friendly interfaces. To find the best way of optimizing the settings, your admins can resort to health displays.

Use a Stretched Cluster to Reach Various Locations

To work with remote locations, the operators of data centers can leverage vSAN stretched clusters. With low-latency networks, such a cluster can cover a range of around 100 km (62 mi).

If needed, admins can carry out metro clustering — that is, deliver resources to another data center.

Stretched clusters enable organizations to reach two important objectives:

  • Protect against a website failure
  • Minimize the expenses related to conventional metro clustering

Generally, data centers regard stretched clusters as vital elements of their data security strategies. To maximize their protection levels, operators combine this capability with the following features:

  • Point-in-time copy
  • Snapshot
  • Backup
  • Replication

When setting up your stretched clusters, it would be wise to opt for the following parameters: round-trip latency of a maximum of 5 msec and network bandwidth of at least 10 GB/sec.

Introduce Policies to Proactively Rebalance Storage

Businesses should define policies for proactive automatical vSAN cluster rebalancing. That should enable them to cut down expenses related to storage management as well as accelerate workflows.

Ideally, companies should rebalance their clusters each time they add more storage capacity and computing resources.

Proactive rebalancing means that admins should choose between command-line instruments or the vSAN interface to analyze activity and assess the state of the cluster. Instruments within the vSAN software allow you to find answers to the following questions:

  • Is disk space balanced across hosts?
  • Can a host failure affect your vSAN capacity or cache?

As soon as a storage device exceeds 80% of its capacity, vSAN should reactively initiate automated rebalancing. If you would like to start rebalancing at, let’s say, 75% or any other level, you can fine-tune your policy settings.

Which vSAN Solution to Choose?

In this table, we’ll try to compare the three most popular vSAN solutions so that you can make an informed choice.

 Microsoft S2DVMware vSANStarWind vSAN
PricingYou have to buy a license per each core. The solution is available only with a Windows Server Datacenter license.You need to purchase a license for each CPU and socket. The initial price is rather high.You buy a license for each node. You can benefit from a cheap ROBO licensing plan. The price might vary depending on the number of locations where you install vSAN.
PerformanceThis product was initially designed for the disk. Its raw performance reaches 60%.This is an HDD-oriented product. It delivers 15% of raw performance.This one was tailor-made for fast SSD- and NVMe-driven environments. Its raw performance can be as high as 90%.
FeaturesFrom the onset, you get access to all the intended features.To unlock advanced features, you should purchase next-tier licenses.You can use all the features from the get-go.
SupportTo get access to support services, you need to sign the Enterprise agreement. The support will be delivered per case.The support is delivered per case. You should sign the Enterprise agreement. Plus, you can ask for a consultation on public forums.All customers can enjoy the services of 24/7/365 rapidly responsive support. For instant response and infrastructure “babysitting”, you might want to purchase ProActive Premium Support.
ManagementTo manage the product, you need to hire skilled and experienced professionals.Only a highly-qualified team can handle this product. You’ll need to buy the management tool separately.Your existing virtualization admins can easily manage the product, using the built-in StarWind Management Console.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this text came in handy, and now you better understand how to make the most of your virtual SAN. This technology should enable you to boost performance, increase capacity, and reduce costs. From all the solutions that are available on the market, you might prefer StarWind.

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