VMware® Virtual SAN™ is hypervisor-converged storage software that abstracts and pools server-side flash and disk to create a highly performant and resilient persistent storage tier at the hypervisor layer. Virtual SAN is a key building block of software-defined storage and a category leader.

Hypervisor-converged storage

Virtual SAN is embedded into the vSphere kernel. This unique property enables seamless integration with vSphere for best performance. This tight integration is a distinctive differentiator because it is uniquely positioned in the stack to understand the VMs and applications running above vSphere and the underlying storage infrastructure capabilities. It is Virtual SAN’s unique positioning in the stack that allows it to optimize the I/O data path to deliver better performance than a virtual appliance or external device.

VM-centric policy-based management and automation

Storage requirements are tied to individual virtual machines or virtual disks in the form of policy statements. Virtual SAN provisions storage resources based on those policies governed by SLAs.

Using Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM), server administrators are able to create storage policies based on each application or VM's performance, availability and capacity needs. Those policies are then matched by Virtual SAN to underlying storage resources to deliver automation to storage resource provisioning and management. Virtual SAN automatically rebuilds and rebalances your storage to align with the designated QoS policy assigned to each virtual machine in the cluster.

Server-side Read/write caching

Virtual SAN minimizes storage latency by accelerating read/write disk I/O traffic by leveraging enterprise-grade server side SSD flash. Virtual SAN dramatically improves the performance of virtual machines by leveraging the flash as both a write buffer and a read cache. The read cache keeps a list of commonly accessed disk blocks to reduce I/O read latency in the event of a cache hit. The write buffer is non-volatile and reduces latency for write operations by acknowledging writes significantly faster than writing to disk.

Built-in Failure Tolerance

Virtual SAN leverages distributed RAID and cache mirroring to ensure that data is never lost in case of disk, host or network failures. Virtual SAN's SPBM feature lets administrators maximize resiliency by defining availability on a per-virtual machine basis: When setting the storage policy for each virtual machine, administrators can specify how many host, network or disk failures it can tolerate in a Virtual SAN cluster.

Single pane of glass management with vSphere

Virtual SAN is managed from the vSphere Web Client for single pane of glass management with vSphere. No need for training on specialized storage interfaces, or the operational overhead of switching and manipulating several devices for simple storage tasks. Provisioning storage for a virtual machine is now as easy as two-clicks.

Granular non-disruptive scale-up and scale-out

Capacity of the Virtual SAN datastore can be easily and non-disruptively grown by adding disks to an existing host (scale-up) or by adding a new host to the cluster (scale-out). Performance can be boosted at the same time, by adding more flash drives (including PCIe cards) to new or existing hosts on the fly, and accelerate IO performance without interrupting service. Virtual SAN allows you to scale granularly, and avoid over-provisioning and over-paying for future capacity and performance needs.

Hardware Independent

Virtual SAN is a hardware agnostic solution that can be deployed on hardware of all major server vendors. This gives you the flexibility to run heterogeneous hardware with different configurations, operating systems, and magnetic disks.

Interoperability with VMware Stack

Virtual SAN offers high availability as well as scale-out storage functionality, and it is fully integrated with core vSphere features such as High Availability, DRS and vMotion.

Virtual SAN also leverages vSphere Snapshots, vSphere Data Protection, and Replication for data protection, backup, rapid cloning and data transfer across clusters or sites.

Virtual SAN also interoperates with VMware Site Recovery Manager to enable additional automated orchestration for DR purposes, and with vCloud Automation Center to allow increased intelligent and simple resource management. In addition, Virtual SAN interoperates with VMware View to provide simple and fast storage for virtual desktop environments.