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    How to Configure vSAN Step by Step 

    Сontents:

    • What exactly is a virtual SAN (vSAN)?
    • What is the difference between virtual Storage Area Network (vSAN) and Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA)?
    • How to use vSAN technology effectively?
    • vSAN configuration
    • Why utilize a virtual SAN (vSAN)?
    • Conclusion

    Virtual SAN, or vSAN, has become an essential component of most business IT systems. For enterprises that have depended extensively on SAN devices, it’s the next stage. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of virtual SANs and explain how to properly configure vSAN.

    What exactly is a virtual SAN (vSAN)?

    The virtualized counterpart of a SAN (Storage Area Network) device is vSAN. This program, which is installed directly on the hypervisor, enables users to create a virtual environment comparable to a SAN. This virtual environment may be used to store data in block mode as well as operate applications, programs, and datasets such as SAP HANA, MySQL servers, Oracle databases, and so on.

    The compatible hypervisor is determined by the vSAN software. VMware vSAN, for example, will only work on the VMware ESXi hypervisor, whereas StoneFly vSAN and StarWind vSAN are hypervisor neutral (are compatible with VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, Citrix, and StoneFly Persepolis).

    What is the difference between virtual Storage Area Network (vSAN) and Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA)?

    There are several parallels between vSAN and VSAs. And many consumers or end-users mix them up or use them interchangeably.

    The key distinction between the two is how the storage capacity pools for virtual machines (VMs) are configured. Storage resources are assigned to each virtual machine by VSAs. This is accomplished by creating dedicated logical device numbers (LUNs) or CIFS or NFS NAS volumes.

    vSAN, on the other hand, aggregates all storage resources into a single pool. This enables them to supply dedicated resources without the need for set LUNs.

    The level at which VSA and vSAN may be employed is another distinction. VSAs are primarily meant for 3 or 4-node installations, whereas vSANs are better suited to corporate data centers.

    How to use vSAN technology effectively?

    Datacenter consolidation is one of the most common applications for vSAN technology, but it’s not the only one.

    Here’s a quick rundown of vSAN use examples to demonstrate how you can make the most of the technology:

    • Virtual Development and Test Environments: vSAN enables you to scale virtual servers rather than installing dedicated servers for your departments or clients. With greater CPU, system memory, and on-demand storage capacity, vSAN is more versatile than fixed hardware. It’s ideal for development and testing settings because of this. Plus, after your company or client has finished using a deployed vSAN, you may easily repurpose it for other purposes.
    • Disaster Recovery (DR) site: vSAN is a more cost-effective option when compared to expensive Disaster Recovery sites. It’s also easier to cluster vSAN volumes than it is to cluster hardware devices. It’s also less difficult to set up vSAN outside of the office than it is to put up a second physical server for disaster recovery.
    • Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI): vSAN may also be used to replace the traditional method of deploying Virtual Desktop Infrastructures. For managed IT service providers or large enterprises that wish to provide specialized environments for workers, projects, and apps, this is an excellent use case.
    • Server virtualization: Create vSAN environments instead of dedicated servers for use cases like web hosting. Not only can vSAN replace hardware, but it can also make scaling faster, simpler, and more cost-effective when needed.

    vSAN configuration

    So, we already know what a vSAN is and how it works. It provides retention policies, which are then assigned to each virtual machine or VMdk. Make sure you have VMware vSAN compatible hardware servers and disks that require one flash and one hard drive – this is the minimum per ESXi Host.

     Before configuring vSAN, you will need to configure the vSAN VMkernel (read how to do this here). vSAN VMkernel requires all hosts to participate in vSAN. So if you missed any host, be sure to create a vSAN VMkernel to avoid configuration issues later.

     Let’s see how to set up a vSAN on a cluster. Where we already have a cluster running on a vCenter server. So, we will configure vSAN in the cluster.

    Step 1

    • Log in to vSphere Web Client.
    • Choose the cluster on which you want to configure VSAN.
    • Go to Configure Tab > Click General under vSAN.
    • Click on Configure button.

    Step 2

    • vSAN Configuration wizard will open
    • Choose the services which you want to configure with vSAN
    • Click Next

    Step 3

    • Here you will see the Network validation results which will show the vSAN VMkernel status
    • If all are configured then you can go ahead and click Next
    • If any host is missing then create the vSAN VMkernel first
    • Click Next

    Step 4

    • This is the important part of the vSAN Configuration. Here you will be selecting the disks which you want to use with vSAN.
    • Make sure you have one SSD and one HDD disk in each of the ESXi Hosts.
    • vSAN will automatically claim the disks for the vSAN Datastore. If you want to manually configure then choose the disk which you want to use as cache or capacity.
    • Make sure the disk configuration is properly configured in all the hosts.
    • Click Next. 

    Step 5

    • Review all the configurations you have done.
    • Here you will get an overview of the storage capacity of the datastore such as vSAN Datastore capacity and total cache.
    • Click Finish to start the configuration process.
    • Once you click Finish you will see multiple operations going on in the recent for vSAN Creation.

    It will take a few minutes to complete the configuration based on the environment.

    • Once it is configured you will see that vSAN is turned On.
    • You can see features and various information about the vSAN here.
    • If you want to see the vSAN Datastore then go to the datastore view.
    • You will find vSAN Datastore is created.
    • Click on the datastore to view its information.

     

    That’s it. Using this way you can easily configure the vSAN in your environment. Before configuring in production make sure you have fully filled all the requirements of the vSAN to avoid future issues. 

    Why utilize a virtual SAN (vSAN)?

    The benefits of the intelligent response “Why to use vSAN?” becomes quite evident after we grasp what vSAN is and how to utilize it efficiently.

    The following are the main three advantages that vSAN technology provides to company owners, MSPs, and big enterprises:

    1. With less equipment, you have more possibilities. Virtual SAN software takes the place of much of the hardware while offering more functionalities than dedicated storage.

    2. Lower expenses, and better scalability. Not only do vSAN volumes grow easily and at a bigger scale than hardware, but they also cost less.

    3. There’s more vSAN, and it’s easier to manage. vSAN simplifies management compared to dedicated servers, which require a comparable number of employees to maintain and operate. Management of vSAN volumes is normally done using a single, centralized interface, regardless of the number of volumes. It necessitates a smaller workforce, less training, and less time.

    Conclusion

    vSAN streamlines data management, lowers total cost of ownership, boosts return on investment, and makes use of hyper-converged integrated systems.

    For usage with hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, virtual SAN technology will be the next step and an “almost essential” SKU.

     

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