Becoming a vSAN Specialist: Section 2 – vSAN Fundamentals

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In this section, I will go over the following objectives found within the VMware vSAN Specialist Blueprint: Section 2 – vSAN Fundamentals

Objective 2.1 – Provide a high-level description of vSAN

Introduction to vSAN

vSAN is an enterprise-class software storage solution built directly into the VMware platform. It runs on commodity hardware (x86) or vSAN Ready nodes.  What does this mean? Instead of having a separate software solution controlling the storage, the actual ESXi hosts alongside with vSphere have the vSAN technology (Software Defined Storage) built directly into the kernel/software. This software then utilizes the commodity hardware (compute, storage, network) within the host/appliance to create the perfect marriage of virtualization and software defined storage. It utilizes storage policies to intelligently place VM objects on underlying local storage. This is the special sauce that makes vSAN so great. It automates storage on many levels, which in turn leads to significant simplification with regards to how storage is provisioned and managed.

Why is this important? Instead of having to buy separate software, you can utilize this software since it’s already a part of vSphere. This in combination with local disk installed within x86 hardware makes the vSAN solution a truly modern and software defined solution. This reduces costs and complexity.

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Becoming a vSAN Specialist: Section 1 – Storage Fundamentals

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In this section, I will go over the following objectives found within the VMware vSAN Specialist Blueprint: Section 1- Storage Fundamentals

Objective 1.1 – Identify storage device characteristics

vSAN is very similar to today’s traditional storage technologies; however, there are some key differences and unique configurations vSAN utilizes to make it the technology it is today. Here are some of the storage device characteristics that make vSAN hum. These are also requirements in order to use vSAN. Be sure to check out the HCL for vSAN, as it’s the TRUTH and should always be followed to ensure success!

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Becoming a vSAN Specialist: The Process Begins

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Late last year, I made the decision to obtain the vSAN Specialist badge (2VB-601) that VMware just recently began offering. While I currently don’t have the necessary home lab equipment, I plan to get started and then figure out  the lab situation. My ideal plan is to have a three node NUC cluster running vSAN, but this may change. Regardless, the most important thing is to start, so here we go!

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New Certification: AWS Cloud Practitioner

After about a month of preparation, I was able to successful sit Amazon’s AWS Cloud Practitioner exam. This is the first of many that I hope to obtain. I was unable to obtain the AWS Solutions Architect Associate at first go, so I regrouped and took this foundation course in hopes that it would boost my knowledge and reinvigorate my desire to pass the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. The exam was a good overview of the offerings AWS has to offer. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to dip their toe in AWS.

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How to: Back up your vCenter Server Appliance

In my opinion, one of the best features within the 6.5 vCenter Server Appliance is the ability to perform backups from the appliance itself (natively). No agents, snapshots or scripts required. It really is quite simple, and I’m glad VMware added this additional feature. How many times have you heard someone explain the importance of backups?

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Maintenance Mode within vSAN

Before building out your vSAN cluster, one thing that you should be conscious of is that of maintenance activities. Some time ago, someone told me “Anyone can make something work, but few take the time to think of the long term implications (years from now) of setting things up a certain way”.

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How to: Creating VM Storage Policies in vSAN

Introduction to VM Storage Policies 

One of the great features within vCenter is the ability to create VM Storage Policies. What are VM Storage Policies?

According to VMware Official documentation, VM Storage policies are specific requirements placed upon underlying storage to ensure desired characteristics are met.

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How to: Enabling Deduplication and Compression in vSAN

One of the most powerful technologies today in Storage is a feature called Deduplication. Deduplication is technology that references data once instead of multiple times. This allows for insane Data Reduction. For instance, if you had 600GB of data with a 6:1 Dedup ratio, only 100GB would actually be stored! Dedupe within vSAN is done on 4KB Block level.

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How to: Claiming Disk for vSAN

On Monday’s post, I did a quick blog on how easy it was to enable vSAN within vCenter. vSAN, as it was discussed in earlier posts,  is a very powerful tool that utilizes software defined storage at the hypervisor level, which reduces costs and complexity. Storage is the key ingredient to this solution, so we may need to add disk in order to actually utilize vSAN right?  Fortunately, VMware (like most things with vSAN) has made this process incredibly simple. Today’s blog is a continuation from Monday’s blog, which will show us how easy it is to claim disk for vSAN usage. Disk claiming is needed in order build out your vSAN datastore. This is what makes vSAN so different from traditional hosts/storage configurations.

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How to: Enabling vSAN

Last week I wrote a detailed post last week on vSAN. Now that vSAN has been explained and the benefits understood, let’s get started with how to enable it within a lab setting.

Note: This is a quick blog on how to enable vSAN, which will be part of a larger mini series that will take us through each step.  It’s primary purpose is to show how easy it is to enable vSAN. With that said, vSAN shouldn’t be enabled within a production environment without proper planning, consideration, and change controls. While vSAN is something you can enable with the “flip of a switch”, it doesn’t mean you should. Careful consideration should be taken while planning. Performance is something else that you should keep in mind. If all possible, engage the help of a vSAN resource that can guide you through the process. This isn’t something to be taken lightly, and caution should be taken when designing your vSAN deployment. Finally, the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide should always be used.

Additional information specific to vSAN HCL can be found by click this link.

Without referencing this, you can quickly set yourself up for failure. With that said, always reference the compatibility guide religiously!

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