Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. at Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and VMware partner that has tried the beta version of VSAN, said he likes how well VSAN addresses customer needs.
"I like the way VSAN extends virtualization capabilities to clients with new storage options," Norbie said. "I like the architecture and how it defaults to using storage-based policies. It gets us past the brute force needed in the past to set up storage."
VSAN has the potential to be highly disruptive to traditional storage vendors, Norbie said.
"But it's hard to predict," he said. "Customer buying decisions are often based on politics, or on the customer's current installed base. And different vendors have different strengths."
VSAN is also easy to deploy, which is great for the channel, Norbie said.
"The channel is moving beyond the need for installing single technologies," he said. "It's focused on solutions, on flexibility and scalability. VSAN unlocks our ability to do that instead of having to go out and work with old architectures."
VMware's Farronato said a key point around VSAN is its simplicity when used with vSphere.
"There's no specialized expertise required," he said. "Everything is managed through vSphere through a single pane of glass. Anyone who can turn on vSphere DRS [Distributed Resource Scheduler] can turn on VSAN."
Furthermore, Farronato said. VSAN leverages storage-based policy management.
"As you provision storage capacity, you can do virtual machine provisioning just by setting the policies," he said. "You can establish separate policies and service levels for each virtual machine. And you can auto-provision storage and server resources and adjust them automatically."
VSAN in the beta version scales to eight nodes in a clustered environment, but when released it is expected to scale to 16 nodes, Farronato said. Performance, according to VMware's internal benchmarking tests, is up to 900,000 aggregate IOPS per VSAN cluster. VSAN also matches the performance of all-flash storage arrays when used in virtual desktop infrastructure environments, he said.
Farronato said there could be some overlap between VSAN and the functions of some of VMware's storage partners, but that customers would be free to choose the technology that best suits them.
"It's not the first case we introduced technology that overlaps with what our partners offer," he said. "We approach the market with a partner ecosystem, and let partners offer whatever technology they prefer."
NEXT: VSAN Different From EMC's ViPR Software-defined Storage Tech