vSAN is VMware’s enterprise-class storage virtualization solution. In other words, it is a virtual storage solution. If you’re familiar with server virtualization, this concept of virtual storage is easy to understand.
So, let’s start with a quick introduction to virtualization. Virtualization in simple terms refers to the process of creating software copies of a server/computer’s physical resources. Physical resources here refers to memory, CPU, storage and networking.
Now that you have an understanding of server virtualization. You can understand storage virtualization as a process of replacing the physical components of a typical storage with a distributed software based storage system.
VMware’s official definition is;
vSAN is enterprise-class, storage virtualization software that, when combined with vSphere, allows you to manage compute and storage with a single platform. With vSAN, you can reduce the cost and complexity of traditional storage and take the easiest path to future ready hyperconverged infrastructure and hybrid cloud. Evolve to an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution with vSAN to improve business agility, all while speeding operations and lowering costs.
One of the main benefits for me of using vSAN over a traditional storage array is the fact that it provides a greater redundancy than your traditional storage. In essence, vSAN gets rid of the dreadful SPOF which beseeches every design. SPOF stands for Single Point of Failure. Eliminating single points of failures is a key design requirement because a single point of failure in an infrastructure could render the entire platform unavailable. I’ve experienced this and its painful 🙁