Last week, VMware released vSphere 5.5 Update 1. You can find the release notes here, and the links to the download are here. Why is this such a milestone? It finally marks the release of VMware’s long-awaited entry into the world of software-defined storage, the VSAN (Virtual Storage Area Network). But before we move on to that, what else is contained in Update 1?
Well, apart from the gamut of bug fixes, including:
- SSO issues during upgrade from 5.1
- Missing data in the performance chart display in the vSphere Clients
- Java JRE update to 1.7.0_45
The vCloud Hybrid Services (vCHS) client plugin is now available in the Web client. This is another realization of VMware’s statement that new functionality will only be added to the Web client and a reminder that the C++ client is soon to depart this mortal coil. Finally, you can now install vCenter Server on Windows 2012 without any errors.
However, as already alluded to, the big shout in this update is the addition of VSAN into general support from this release.
As stated in previous posts, VSAN is VMware’s most open beta to date. However, VMware has been very reticent on releasing prices, leading many observers to comment that it will be expensive.
The question is, how expensive? Currently the following has been information has been “released.”
VSAN licensing is available in both user and processor options:
- A single processor for server-based virtualization costs $2,495
- $50 per user for VDI/DaaS environments.
This is cheaper than I had expected—it is actually quite aggressive.
I have done some ballpark figures for a three-node Dell solution based on a PE R420. Please bear in mind that these are list costs from the Dell site, and do not contain any discounts.
- Fully spec’d machine costs just shy of $17K list:
- 2 x E2420 Proc
- 12 x 16GB
- 2 x 400GB SSD
- 6 x1.2TB SAS
- ESXi Enterprise Plus 2 x procs at just shy of $10K
- 2 licenses for VSAN at just shy of $5K.
This means a list cost of $33K per node, so just short of 100K for a fully configured three-node VSAN environment, the entry level.
Now let’s do the same with a traditional SAN as the storage layer.
- Fully spec’d machine costs, just shy of $8K list:
- 2 x E2420 Proc
- 12 x 16GB
- 2 x 146GB SAS
- ESXi Enterprise Plus 2 x procs, just shy of $10K.
Here, a server costs $18K per node, or $54K for a three-node cluster. However, we now need to add a SAN capable of providing a minimum of 12TB useable space:
- Powervault MD3220i fully spec’d, just north of $46K:
- 4G cache controller
- 2 x 400GB NL SAS
- 18 x 1.2TB SAS
- 4 x 400GB SSD
- 1 x PowerConnect 6248.
Over all, this has the same list price as a VSAN, but let us look at this in perspective. With the VSAN, we have scale-out ability; the next node will cost $33, but you expand your VSAN as well. If you need to expand your SAN capacity, you are looking at another $46K + $18K and the additional issues with having to now support two discrete storage devices.
Do I think that VMware has a product to worry the incumbent storage providers? Yes, most certainly. You only have to read the competitive marketing collateral to know that the vendors are taking the product seriously.
You have a completely converged infrastructure with VSAN, and a single throat to choke from an operations perspective, and sometime that is worth a lot more.