What is VMware Virtual SAN?  All you need to know

What is VMware Virtual SAN? All you need to know

One of the crucial factors you need to consider when running virtual machines is having a scalable storage infrastructure. Virtual machines (VMs) require storage that is highly available, reliable, and can easily scale as demand increases. As organizations embrace virtualization, the number of virtual machines and their storage requirements can grow rapidly.

If the storage infrastructure is not scalable, it can become a limiting factor for the performance and availability of virtual machines. With VMware vSAN, storage resources can be easily added or removed, and the storage pool can be automatically rebalanced to optimize performance and capacity.

What is VMware vSAN? What are you doing?

Users can create a highly available and scalable storage infrastructure for their virtualized environment with VMware vSAN, which is a software-defined storage solution. VMware vSAN integrates with VMware vSphere and uses the local storage resources of the Elastic Sky X (ESXi) integrated hosts in your vSphere cluster to create a distributed storage system.

One of the leading virtualization platforms, VMware vSphere, provides a complete set of tools and services to create and manage virtualized environments. With vSAN, the storage capacity of multiple ESXi hosts is aggregated into a single storage pool that vCenter Server can easily manage. With features such as data deduplication and compression, erasure coding, and automatic rebalancing, vSAN enables users to achieve high performance, capacity efficiency, and reliability.

The main goal of vSAN is to simplify storage provisioning and machine management in virtualized environments. By using the local storage resources of your ESXi hosts, vSAN eliminates the need for dedicated storage hardware, reducing costs and simplifying deployment. It also provides a highly available and resilient storage infrastructure that can tolerate faults and ensure that your virtual machines remain available at all times.

VMware vSAN benefits for your business


vSAN provides a highly scalable storage infrastructure that can be easily scaled up or down as your business needs change. Ultimately, this makes it easier to manage storage resources and eliminates the need for dedicated storage hardware.


VMware vSAN is designed to ensure high availability and resiliency for virtualized workloads. It provides advanced data protection features such as redundant array of independent disks (RAID) and encryption of erasure. It can also automatically repair faulty components to ensure data availability. This minimizes the chances of failure and downtime.

reduced costs

Since vSAN takes advantage of the local storage resources of ESXi hosts, it eliminates the need for dedicated storage hardware. This reduces costs and simplifies implementation. It also provides efficient data compression and deduplication, which can help reduce storage costs.

simplified management

vSAN fully integrates with VMware vSphere, enabling centralized management of virtual machines and storage resources. Ultimately, this makes administration much simpler and improves efficiency while ensuring advanced automation capabilities through vSphere Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

Better support for modern apps

Modern applications require access to scalable storage to handle the dynamic workloads users throw at them. vSAN provides better support for modern applications such as containerized workloads and big data analytics. With vSAN, businesses can easily deploy and manage modern applications in virtualized environments.

How to install and configure VMware vSAN

These are the typical steps you will need to implement when installing and configuring VMware vSAN:

Step 1: Determine hardware and software requirements

You must ensure that your hardware and software meet the minimum requirements for vSAN. This includes supported hardware such as solid-state drives (SSDs) or modern Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) drives, and supported versions of vSphere and vCenter Server.

Step 2: Configuring the vSAN network

The vSAN network configuration allows proper communication between the ESXi hosts in the cluster. You can configure the network using dedicated physical network adapters or virtual network adapters.

Step 3: vSAN Licensing

VMware vSAN can be licensed with three options: per CPU, per concurrent user in packages of 10 or 100 licenses for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), or per virtual machine (VM).

Step 4: Cluster creation

After the network and hardware configurations are complete, you can create a vSAN cluster. This involves adding the ESXi hosts to the cluster and configuring the vSAN storage.

Step 5: Configuring vSAN Storage

This step involves configuring vSAN storage policies, which define how virtual machines are stored and replicated in the cluster. Settings include settings for data protection, performance, and capacity.

Step 6: Performance optimization

You might want to optimize vSAN performance by configuring settings such as cache tiering and RAID level selection. This can help improve performance and ensure data availability.

Step 7: Monitoring and Management

Finally, you can use the vCenter Server console or other management tools to manage and monitor storage resources and vSAN cluster health, and perform routine maintenance tasks.

VMware vSAN

Tips to get the most out of VMware vSAN

Here are some of the proven strategies you can use to get the most out of your VMware vSAN:

Right-size your vSAN cluster. This is essential for optimal performance and capacity. Use state-of-the-art hardware. vSAN can take advantage of the latest storage technologies such as flash-based SSDs and NVMe drives to deliver high-performance, low-latency storage. Use vSAN storage policies. Using vSAN storage policies ensures that virtual machines are stored efficiently and with the right levels of protection and performance. Enable deduplication and compression. Enabling data compression and deduplication can help reduce storage costs and improve performance by reducing the amount of data that must be stored. Optimize cache tiering. You can optimize cache tiering by ensuring that you have sufficient cache capacity and by configuring cache reservation settings appropriately.

Common issues with VMware vSAN and troubleshooting strategies

Disk group degradation

vSAN uses disk groups to provide redundancy and ensure data availability. If a disk group becomes degraded, it can result in a loss of redundancy and affect data availability. You can fix this by replacing the failed disks and making sure there are enough disks in the pool. You should also check for hardware or network issues affecting the disk group.

slow performance

Slow vSAN performance can impact application performance and user experience. Some of the common reasons for slow performance include network latency, insufficient hardware resources, and misconfigured storage policies. You can troubleshoot slow performance by reviewing vSAN performance metrics, optimizing the cache level, and ensuring that hardware resources are sufficient, depending on the workload.

Network connectivity issues

For optimal performance, vSAN requires a stable and reliable network connection between hosts in the cluster. Any connectivity issue can lead to unavailability of data and degraded performance. You can troubleshoot network connectivity by checking network settings, reviewing logs, and making sure that firewalls and other security measures are not interfering with network traffic.

Disk capacity issues

Running out of disk space can result in unavailability of data and a drop in performance. To troubleshoot disk capacity, review storage policies and reclaim space. You can also identify any oversized or unnecessary virtual machines and add more disk capacity to the cluster.

Cluster health issues

Cluster health issues can also lead to issues with data availability and degraded performance. To troubleshoot cluster health, review vSAN health and performance metrics, verify host health and configuration, and ensure that all software components are up to date and compatible.

Getting started with VMware vSAN: What you need to know

Before you get started with VMware vSAN, you need a cluster of at least three hosts running one of the latest versions of VMware and a minimum of one flash device and one capacity device per host. vSAN is licensed separately from the VMware vSphere hypervisor and can be deployed in a variety of ways, including as an all-flash or hybrid solution and as a two-tier architecture or stretched cluster for disaster recovery.

It should also be noted that storage policies determine how data is stored and replicated across hosts. vSan provides tools to monitor and manage your storage environment, including the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere Client. Understanding these key concepts is essential to achieving efficient, scalable, and reliable storage for your virtualized environment with vSAN.

final thoughts

VMware vSAN is a powerful and flexible software-defined storage solution that can help you build a highly scalable, resilient, and cost-effective storage infrastructure for your virtualized environments. With vSAN, your business can easily manage storage resources, simplify deployment, and ensure high availability and performance for your virtual machines.

By following the steps in this article and implementing best practices for using vSAN, you can optimize your virtualization infrastructure, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Overall, vSAN is a valuable tool for any organization looking to maximize the benefits of virtualization technology.

The most helpful humans at hostingĀ® at Liquid Web will be happy to help if you have any questions. Please contact us today.

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