Slick HCI trick: VMware smooths off vSAN's rough edges
Wants to hang on to sales dominance
Alongside its update of vSphere, VMware has smoothed off a few of the rough edges from its HCI heavy, vSAN.
vSAN already dominates the HCI software market, but the firm is looking to its own users for growth. Yanbing Li, SVP and general manager of VMware's Storage and Availability Business Unit, said millions of vSphere users don't yet have vSAN.
We are told vSAN's 6.7 software release offers:
- better integrated operations with HTML 5 interface and more health check dashboards,
- extended reach to support Big Data and NoSQL apps, and Windows Server Failover Cluster,
- better support experience with vSAN ReadyCare,
- health services updates,
- telemetry-based ML analytics, and
- 2x increase support staff in 2017.
The Stretch cluster area has been enhanced and vSAN is looking to support next-gen shared nothing clusters. Encryption has been officially certified.
There was no mention of baking backup into vSAN in this release.
Li said the extended workload reach included a long list of next-gen apps: Datastax, Hadoop, Kubernetes, and Cassandra, plus MongoDB, Splunk and SQL Server. Other supported apps on a VMware slide included ones from Pivotal Cloud Foundry, InterSystems Cache, Oracle and SAP.
She told us that support improvements meant vSAN customers would get proactive trouble-shooting, faster problem detection and a better support experience. There are 50 new health checks. Such checks, which look across multiple sites, pick up things like hardware-compatibility list (HCL) issues – SCSI controllers not being VMware-certified for example – and look at vSAN cluster performance.
A Support Insight capability involves vSAN installations sending telemetry data to VMware's analytics cloud where machine learning techniques are used to analyse it.
Li said vSAN was available as software-only, in engineered systems from Dell EMC (VxRail, VxRack), in the Amazon AWS and IBM clouds, and is deployed in 250 other public clouds – Rackspace for example.
What about supporting the Google Cloud Platform? Li's answer was cryptic: "We are looking to extend our cloud ecosystem."
vSAN sales growth
The VMware storage exec told The Reg that the vSAN revenue run rate was $600m. Two years ago it was $100m and one year ago $300m.
We were told VMware had 10,000 vSAN customers at August last year, with a 100 new customers coming on board each week.
VMware has not made the number of vSAN nodes public and Li wouldn't reveal the number.
Overall V6.7 vSAN should offer a more streamlined user experience and, the exec suggested, a lower TCO. HCI has "a long trajectory of growth ahead of it, and continued high growth," she added. ®