VSAN 6.2 Part 1 – Deduplication and Compression

Now that VSAN 6.2 is officially launched, it is time to start discussing some of the new features that we have introduced into our latest version of Virtual SAN. Possibly one of the most eagerly anticipated feature is the introduction of deduplication and compression, two space efficiency techniques that will reduce the overall storage consumption of the applications running in virtual machines on Virtual SAN. Of course, this also lowers the economics of running an all-flash VSAN, and opens up all-flash VSAN to multiple use cases. Continue reading

An overview of the new Virtual SAN 6.2 features

vsan_stretch_graphic_v02_300dpi_01_square140If you were wondering why my blogging has dropped off in recent months, wonder no more. I’ve been fully immersed in the next release of VSAN. Today VMware has just announced the launch of VSAN 6.2, the next version of VMware’s Virtual SAN product. It is almost 2.5 years since we launched the VSAN beta at VMworld 2013, and almost 2 years to the day since we officially GA’ed our first release of VSAN way back in March 2014. A lot has happened since then, with 3 distinct releases in that 2 year period (6.0, 6.1 and now 6.2). For me the product has matured significantly in that 2 year period, with 3,000 customers and lots of added features. VSAN 6.2 is the most significant release we have had since the initial launch.

The following is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the new VSAN 6.2 features, but these are the major features, along with a few other features that I feel might be of interest to readers. In my opinion, we now have a feature complete product, and a world-class hyper-converged solution for any application. Read on to learn about the new features that we have added to this latest and greatest version of Virtual SAN.

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Upcoming speaker session at the Singapore VMUG Usercon

singaporeI’m delighted to say that I have been invited to present at the next Singapore VMUG Usercon, which will take place in the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016. I will be using the opportunity to present on Virtual SAN (VSAN) and will be sharing lots of news and information about the upcoming features that we have planned.

It would seem that I am one of the first speakers of the day, so I will have a lot of free time later in the morning and in the afternoon if anyone would like to talk about VMware, VSAN, Virtual Volumes, vSphere Core Storage or anything storage related during the rest of the Usercon.

This will be my first trip back to Singapore in 22 years. I spent a number of months there back in 1994, and I’m curious to see if much has changed. The one thing I do remember are the fabulous hawker markets and food stalls. I’m really looking forward to that.

I’d like to thank the folks at VMUG for making this possible. And I hope to see many of you there. Click here for the Singapore VMUG Usercon registration.

VMUG

VSAN Stretched Cluster – some possible warnings

vsan_stretch_graphic_v02_300dpi_01_square140We are hearing about a number of VSAN stretched cluster implementations going on at the moment, which is great news. I just set up such a configuration once again in my lab as we look at some various scenarios for the next release of VSAN. Now, for anyone looking at implementing VSAN stretched cluster, there is the VSAN 6.1 stretched cluster guide which should be your first port of call. However I noticed that once VSAN stretched cluster is implemented, you get a few warnings that you typically wouldn’t see in standard VSAN deployments. That is what I want to call out here.

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Where are they now? Recent changes in the storage space

watnThe storage space has been a very exciting space over recent years. There have been so many new start-ups and new innovations, that it becomes difficult to keep track sometimes. More recently, there has been a lot of news around mergers, acquisitions and IPOs in the storage industry. It got me thinking about a lot of the changes we have seen over the past 3-4 years in the storage market. Just for my own interest, I went back over many of my blogs, and the various conversations I had with people at various VMworld events and VMUG meetings, and tried to see where a lot of these companies/products are now, and what they are currently doing. Now, I am not going to mention every single vendor here. I’m simply trying to highlight the ones that were acquired or merged or indeed IPO’ed (and in some cases are no longer with us) during this period.

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Snapshot Consolidation changes in vSphere 6.0

This is something I only learnt about very recently, and something I was unaware of. It seems that we have made a major improvement to the way we do snapshot consolidation in vSphere 6.0. Many of you will be aware of the fact that when they VM is very busy, snapshot consolidation may need to go through multiple iterations before we can successfully complete the consolidation/roll-up operation. In fact, there are situations where the snapshot consolidation operation could even fail if there is too much I/O.

What we did previously is used a helper snapshot, and redirected all the new I/Os to this helper snapshot while we consolidated the original chain. Once the original chain is consolidated, we then did a calculation to see how long it would take to consolidate the helper snapshot. It could be that this helper snapshot has grown considerably during the consolidate operation. If the time to consolidate the helper is within a certain time-frame (12 seconds), we stunned the VM and consolidated the helper snapshot into the base disk. If it was outside the acceptable time-frame, then we repeated the process (new helper snapshot while we consolidated original helper snapshot) until the helper could be committed to the base disk within the acceptable time-frame.

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VSAN.ClomMaxComponentSizeGB explained

In the VSAN Troubleshooting Reference Manual, the following description of VSAN.ClomMaxComponentSizeGB is provided:

By default VSAN.ClomMaxComponentSizeGB is set to 255GB. When Virtual SAN stores virtual machine objects, it creates components whose default size does not exceed 255 GB. If you use physical disks that are smaller than 255GB, then you might see errors similar to the following when you try to deploy a virtual machine:

There is no more space for virtual disk XX. You might be able to continue this session by freeing disk space on the relevant volume and clicking retry.

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