The text file can be stored on a flash drive. For a photo archive, the cloud is better suited. But the business owner, who constantly passes a large amount of data, needs to rent a server. In those days, when a computer occupied an entire floor, there was a separate cabinet where data was stored, and a separate cabinet where operations were performed.
Technologies changed, but the principle remained the same: servers – separately, data storage system – separately. However, storage is quite expensive and limited in scale. That is why another, convergent or hyper-converged model or Virtual SAN, has recently become popular.
Below is a description of what it is and what features it has. Let’s dive in!
Table of contents:
- How does a vSAN work?
- What are the main advantages of Virtual SAN?
- What can be stored with vSAN?
- Main vSAN features
How does a vSAN work?
Convergent means universal, unified. A single mechanism is always easier to manage. What is the point? There are servers on which special software is installed, and it itself combines them with hard drives into a single system.
Classic storage systems consist of modules: a controller module, a module with disks, and so on. All this must be able to properly connect, operate, and expand, if necessary. And here we get rid of all the modules, and we have the same components on physically identical servers. This is vSAN, that is, Virtual SAN, a virtual storage system. In fact, this is a single server that simultaneously stores and processes data. Accordingly, a separate storage system is no longer required.
In other words, VSAN aggregates unused storage space into a single virtualized device that can be controlled via software. VSAN can be installed on each virtual machine or included in the storage vendor’s firmware. It reduces the requirement for specialized storage hardware in the enterprise’s IT infrastructure once established.
The VSAN software component offers a shared storage pool to which virtual machines have on-demand access. To handle storage, for example, you may install a storage-only server across numerous nodes in a cluster. This cluster can then share its storage with
computer-only nodes across the network.
What are the main advantages of Virtual SAN?
- vSAN doesn’t have a single point of failure. You can take any physical server at any time, break it, and the system will continue to work as if nothing had happened.
- The failure of 30% of the servers will not lead to the failure of the entire system as a whole. In the worst case, a reboot will occur, as if you unplugged it from the outlet and turned it on again.
- You can safely turn off servers, change failed ones, and the system will work without significant losses.
- vSAN “smears data” – the tool duplicates it on several physical servers. Each recorded megabyte turns into two, and copies are posted to different servers.
- vSAN has a high level of automation, there is a self-healing function: this is when the system repairs itself.
- If a problem appears, vSAN writes a message to the administrator that it needs to be checked, what to update, and what to fix.
What can be stored with vSAN?
Anything. vSAN makes it easier to manage any data. It’s like a truck. It has an engine, a body, and something lies in the body. The engine is vSAN, the body is some kind of virtual machine, and the body is data. If a consumer runs a business or works as a sales manager, documentation, reports, materials of conferences, and negotiations are uploaded to vSAN. But it can also be photos, music, or videos.
Organizations can use vSAN for a variety of use cases, including mixed workloads, cluster management, remote office deployments, and disaster recovery.
Main vSAN features
- Storage Policy-Based Management (SPBM). SPBM is a storage automation function in vSAN. This enables administrators to establish storage profiles that give fine-grained control over virtual machine storage services. Administrators, for example, can define storage criteria such as availability and performance and assign them to virtual machines. These specifications govern how virtual computers are stored.
- Stretched clusters. Stretched clusters are used to expand a vSAN cluster from one to two locations to offer high availability and load balancing.
- Software-defined encryption for data-at-rest. Usually, vSAN has a kernel-based encryption engine that encrypts all datastore objects. Because vSAN encryption is hardware agnostic, it may be used with any hardware, including HDD and SSD.
- Shared storage support. vSAN unites pools and other associated storage devices into a single storage pool shared by all hosts in a vSAN cluster. So, if a host fails, vSAN may use DRS to transfer virtual machines to other servers in the cluster.
- Health service checks. Administrators may monitor the health of a vSAN cluster via health service checks. This feature allows you to check the condition of various cluster components and solve issues like network settings and device compatibility.
- Performance service checks. vSAN features statistical charts for monitoring performance indicators like latency and throughput. This functionality allows you to monitor a vSAN cluster’s host, disk, virtual machine, and performance.
The tasks of storing and accessing data are a pain point for any information system. Even a well-designed data storage system during operation reveals problems associated with a decrease in performance. This is where virtual SAN comes to the rescue.
Alexia is the author at Research Snipers covering all technology news including Google, Apple, Android, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung News, and More.