VMware vSphere, vSAN and VCF enhancements

In VCF, VMware, vSAN, vSphere by AdministratorLeave a Comment

VMware® announced updates to VMware vSphere®, vSAN™ and VMware Cloud Foundation™(VCF) this month prior to VMworld® [2020, the Eds.].

VMware vSphere changes

With the latest update vSphere now supports Tanzu Kubernetes (k8s) Grid services. You may recall that Tanzu originally came out only for VCF but now all you need is vSphere to support Tanzu. This opens up k8s clusters and containerized applications to VMware’s largest customer base

VMware touts vSphere with Tanzu as the fastest way (~1hr) to get started with k8s clusters and containerized workloads. VMware recommends vSphere with Tanzu for any environment up to 25 k8s clusters whereas VCF with Tanzu provides full stack automation for larger environments which allows customers to scale up from there.

In the VCF environment, Tanzu uses NSX-T virtual networking, NSX-T virtual load balancing and vSAN or external storage (see more news on this below). But in vSphere with Tanzu solution, one uses the vSphere Distributed Switch, plug in your own industry standard virtual load balancing and vSAN or external storage. In addition to Tanzu, vSphere has been enhanced to support:
Monster VMs – now customers can create VMs with up to 24TB of VMEM and 768 vCPUs to support even the most memory hungry/compute demanding apps.
Larger cluster sizes – vSphere clusters can now contain up to 96 nodes.

VMware vSAN changes

There are many changes in vSAN:
vSAN Data Persistence platform for VCF with Tanzu – this offers an easy and TCO-optimized way to provide data persistence for k8s container applications and makes use of 4 technology partners, 3 for object storage, Cloudian, Dell Technologies and MinIO and 1 for database storage, DataStax (NoSQL, Cassandra). With the Data Persistence platform, vCenter admins can deploy and configure these software defined storage systems across vSphere clusters and assign developer access in namespaces; application developers can use k8s APIs to access and scale the storage.
HCI Mesh™ – VMware’s first step toward compute and storage disaggregation supports a new multi-cluster capability for vSAN storage where VMs in one cluster can access vSAN storage in another, adjacent cluster. This enables storage dense vSAN clusters to provide storage services to compute intense vSAN clusters.
vSAN capacity optimizations – this adds more useable capacity to existing storage clusters. vSAN improved their software to unlock up to 18% of the total cluster capacity for the same physical storage.
vSAN shared witness for ROBO deployments – this provides a single shared witness for use across up to sixty-four two-node deployments. Customers can greatly reduce resources required for witness VMs to simplify management.
vSAN Enterprise ready file services – this adds SMB file with Active Directory to NFS . Integration and Kerberos support. With both NFS and SMB services, vSAN now offers a full file system stack for VMs and containers.
Life Cycle Management (vLCM) enhancements – this enables simpler system updates for VSAN, NSX-T and ESX hardware by managing the update process. vLCM can update Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo ThinkAgile VX series hardware.

VMware Cloud Foundation changes

We already mentioned the vSAN Data Persistence Platform, available on VCF (or can be deployed on vSphere with vSAN and NSX-T) with Tanzu, but in addition to that, there were a few other enhancements to VCF:
VCF remote cluster support – this allows VCF full stack management and automation for remote clusters. There are some minimum requirements for bandwidth and latency for remote clusters, but with those satisfied, customers can have full VCF support for remote clusters.
vVols support for VCF storage – this allows any vVols 2.0 supporting storage system, using FC, iSCSI or NFS to be used for VCF application storage. vVols enables tighter integration and automation for third party storage systems, along with vSAN to provide additional storage options for VCF customers.


VMware’s addition of Tanzu to vSphere opens up a significantly larger customer base to the easy use of k8s clusters and containerized applications. With vSAN’s Data Persistence platform, VCF with Tanzu enables simplified and efficient deployment and scaling of object/database storage that containerized applications depend on for persistence needs. Hereafter, customers can easily scale their containerized applications to PB or larger storage environments as needed.

Applications are getting larger. There are many bare-metal applications that consume more memory and compute power than ever before. VMware is taking the necessary steps to ensure that these applications can also run as VMs.

With vVols in VCF, all the major storage vendors out are cheering. Now they can provide primary storage services to the biggest VMware customers.

[This storage announcement dispatch was originally sent out to our newsletter subscribers in September of 2020.  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. ]  

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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