VMware Expands Software-Defined Storage With New VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)

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VMware on Monday kicked off its part in the annual VMworld conference with the unveiling of a new software-defined storage solution that ties to the company's VMware vSphere private cloud and virtualization platform.

The new VMware Virtual SAN, or VSAN, helps advance the storage leg of VMware's plan to develop a software-defined data center platform, which will allow customers to build their own Google-like infrastructures, said Alberto Farronato, director of storage product marketing at VMware.

VMware on Monday also expanded on its software-defined data center strategy at the VMworld conference, held this week in San Francisco.


[Related: Software-Defined Storage: Separating The Reality From The Hype]

"But we don't want customers to build their infrastructures from scratch," Farronato said. "So we're focused on the software-defined data center. We're extending compute virtualization to other parts of the infrastructure for a much more automated approach to management."

VMware's laying out of its software-defined storage strategy is timely, said Jamie Shepard, regional vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and partner to both VMware and storage vendor EMC, which is a majority owner of VMware.

"It's good news, especially now that EMC is becoming more involved with VMware," Shepard said.

While VMware is looking for ways to extract and pool storage resources in such a way that it could appear that it is lessening the value of the storage technology of other vendors including EMC, that is not the case, Shepard said.

"VMware's partnerships with companies like Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Hitachi are strong," he said. "VMware is not trying to create products that compete with the storage industry. It's creating a new category of storage."

Software-defined storage, like software-defined data centers, has three key requirements, Farronato said, including the ability to abstract resources, pool those abstracted resources, and automatically provision resources from those pools.

However, of all the parts of the software-defined data center, the hardest to implement is storage.

For instance, Farronato said, storage in virtualized environments has to work with both new cloud applications, which scale out much more than traditional applications. Furthermore, he said, different applications leverage server-based flash storage in different ways. Storage in virtualized environments also needs to work with object storage storage BLOBs (binary large objects) and virtual storage arrays, he said.

NEXT: Introducing VMware Virtual SAN (VSAN)

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