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What’s new in Virtual SAN 6.5

I know that there will be a lot of information coming your way from various sources on this exact topic. Obviously, I would urge you to check out the latest and greatest documentation from our technical marketing guys for deeper detail and “how-to” guides. However, I did want to provide a brief overview of what new VSAN features are available in vSphere 6.5. Note that we also refer to this version of VSAN as 6.5.

1. Licensing Changes

The first thing that I wanted to highlight are some significant changes to the way VSAN is licensed. Licensing has been relaxed so that you can now deploy an All-Flash VSAN cluster with the VSAN standard license. Note however that you will not have the data services such as deduplication and compression available on this standard license. You will still need the higher license edition to use these data services.

2. iSCSI Support

VSAN 6.5 now has new functionality to create iSCSI targets and LUNs on a VSAN cluster, and present these LUNs outside of VSAN for other use cases. This could be a useful feature if you have excessive capacity on your VSAN cluster and wish to have it consumed outside of the cluster. Be aware that there are a number of limits and supportability considerations with regards to how you can utilize this new feature. For example, you will not be able to present these iSCSI LUNs to ESXi hosts. I strongly urge you to refer to the official documentation, and check out what you can, and more importantly, what you cannot do with these iSCSI LUNs before putting them into production.

3. Direct Connect and separate witness traffic on 2-node deployments

This is a very interesting improvement for those of you interested in deploying 2-node VSAN in either a remote office/branch office (ROBO) type scenario, or indeed for an small-midsize business (SMB) use case. VMware now supports having the 2 data nodes in this deployment connected via direct connect network cables, removing the need for a physical switch between the data nodes. Included with this enhancement is a mechanism for decoupling the VSAN witness traffic from the data traffic. This means that the VSAN data traffic can be left on the direct connect network, and witness traffic can be sent via another VMkernel interface to the witness node/appliance. Again, there is a lot of how-to documentation and deeper detail on how to deploy this new configuration coming from our technical marketing team. But this should make it a lot less expensive to deploy a 2-node VSAN configuration.

4. 512e Device Support

This is something that a number of customers have been asking for. While there is still no support for the 4K native devices, support for these 512e (emulation) devices will allow VSAN to use much larger capacity devices going forward.

5. PowerCLI cmdlets for VSAN

Something else that a lot of customers have been asking for is PowerCLI cmdlets to allow scripting/automation of various VSAN tasks. Well, with the new version of PowerCLI that is coming soon, you will notice a bunch of new PowerCLI cmdlets available for VSAN which will allow you to do just that. My understanding is that these cmdlets will also be backward compatible with previous versions of VSAN too.

Some nice new features I’m sure you will agree.

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