VMware® announces new VSAN software and other enhancements at VMworld® 2015

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VMware just released new Virtual SAN® (VSAN) 6.1 software, a new VMware Photon® Platform®, and other enhancements to their software solutions at VMworld 2015.

VMware VSAN 6.1 enhancements

Now in its third release, VMware VSAN is also part of VMware’s EVO SDDC (formerly EVO RACK) offering. The new functionality for VSAN 6.1 includes:

  • New active-active stretch clustering: VSAN allows the ability to create a stretched cluster between two geographically separate sites, synchronously replicating data between the two sites,which are deployed as active-active.
  • New asynchronous replication services: VSAN features enhanced VMware vSphere Replication with a five minute Recovery Point Objective (RPO) (improved from 15 minutes RPO earlier)
  • New VSAN Health Check plugin: VSAN provides an integrated health check plugin for VMware vSphere Web Client to help monitor storage operations and troubleshoot problems.
  • New VSAN management pack for VMware vRealize™Operations: VSAN now integrates with vRealize Operations to provide better manageability and visibility into VSAN storage clusters, including storage capacity planning, performance monitoring and advanced analytics and modeling.
  • New hardware support: VSAN now supports NVMe and UltraDIMM™ technologies.
  • New minimum node count: VSAN now offers the ability to support two node clusters targeted for remote office/branch office (ROBO) environments. Customers can now deploy a large number of 2 node VSAN clusters that are centrally managed from a central data center through an individual vCenter Server instance.

VMware Photon Platform

The Photon Platform is a new VMware virtualization offering that supports native container clusters and consists of the Photon Controller and Photon Machine. Photon Platform can manage clusters that span 100s if not 1000s of servers. It is used to deploy container frameworks for native container apps. Photon is based on VMware virtualization functionality but does not support standard VMware’s advanced functionality.

VMware other enhancements

There were a number of other enhancements announceded at VMworld 2015, including:

  • VMware vSphere API for IO (VAIO) filtering: this provides a hook into vSphere data services to intercept and interact with a VM’s IO stream. Using this new API, 3rd party software vendors can offer VM data encryption, host level caching, replication, and other VM IO enhancements.
  • VMware NSX 6.2: the new SDN software together with SRM 6.1 provides cross vCenter vMotion over VXLAN, supports Open vSwitch Database (OVSDB) and extends NSX micro segmentation to physical servers. Moreover, NSX 6.2 adds a new Traceflow tool that can be used to diagnose networking problems by providing detail tracing of packets through the NSX network and a new centralized CLI (command line interface) allowing admins to gather diagnostic information from distributed NSX network components at one location.
  • VMware vRealize™ Operations™ 6.1 and vRealize Log Insight™ 3: the new operations software offers intelligent workload placement services with proactive re-balancing. The enhanced logging software increases performance to handle up to 15K messages per second while offering better fault tolerance and other enhancements to make using it even more easier and productive.
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack 2: based on OpenStack’s Kilo release, the new functionality supports seamless upgrades, load balancing as a service, OpenStack Ceilometer (measurement & utilization monitoring solution) and Heat application stack orchestration and AutoScaling services.


VSAN and VAIO enhancements continue VMware’s march to enhance VM date services available from software defined and more traditional, storage solutions. Previous enhancements included all-flash VSAN clusters and vStorage API for data protection (VADP) and the new functionality just takes all this to the next level.

Perhaps more interesting is the Photon Platform. Photon goes after a VMware underserved market segment, beyond the 64-node cluster, enterprise ease of use, vSphere solution that is VMware’s current sweet spot.

There were other VMware enhancements, specifically vCloud Air services and a fuller description of EVO SDDC (formerly EVO RACK) that were not discussed above.  But these seem to just solidify VMware’s lead in software-defined datacenters and in hybrid/public clouds services.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in August of 2015.  If you would like to receive this information via email please consider signing up for our free monthly newsletter (see subscription request, above right) and we will send our current issue along with download instructions for this and other reports. Dispatches are posted to our website at least a quarter or more after they are sent to our subscribers. Also we have recently updated (May 2019) our SAN Storage Buying Guide so if you are interested in purchasing block or primary storage, please checkout our Buying Guide available for sale on our website. ]  

Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community.

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