VxRail 4.5 improvements with vSAN 6.6

VxRail 4.5 will see some drastic improvements with vSphere 6.5u1 and vSAN 6.6, when it goes GA this September 2017. This will bring a lot of features I have been looking forward to like higher flash performance, encryption, and enhancements with Stretched Clusters thanks to Local Site Protection. Here are some of the updates VMware has promised us in this upcoming release:

(Note: 4.5.1 will be out in October but basically only introduces support for PowerEdge 14G nodes)

Industry’s First Native HCI Encryption
vSAN offers the first native HCI encryption solution for data-at-rest, protecting critical data from unwanted access. vSAN encryption delivers lower costs and greater flexibility by being hardware agnostic and by offering simplified key management. No more requirements to deploy specific self-encrypting drives (SEDs). vSAN encryption is also built for compliance with support for 2-factor authentication (SecurID and CAC) and is the first HCI solution with a DISA-approved STIG.

Stretched Cluster with Local Site Protection
New enhanced stretched clusters with local site protection provide protection against both site failures and local component failures. This helps deliver effective, affordable protection against entire site outages, as well as host outages within a site. When using across sites and within site protection, data does not have to be fetched from the alternate site in the event of a host or disk failure, helping deliver greater performance along with the added layer of protection.

vSAN Cloud Analytics
With vSAN Cloud Analytics, you can decrease operational costs with pro-active, real-time support notifications and recommendations. The analytics tool delivers custom, real-time alerts through vSAN Health Service with custom actionable insights and remediation recommendations.

Unicast Networking
vSAN now supports unicast networking to help simplify your initial vSAN setup. You can utilize unicast for vSAN networking and there is no need to setup multicast anymore. This means VxRail will no longer need to have a switch that supports IPv4 multi-casting and will significantly reduce any needed network changes to support it.

vSAN Management Pack for vRealize Operations
The new vSAN Management Pack for VMware vRealize Operations Manager provides additional options for monitoring, managing and troubleshooting vSAN along with end-to-end infrastructure solutions. With the vSAN management pack, you can gain insights about the impact of vSAN in your infrastructure quickly, and bring your business greater efficiency in shorter time.

Always-On Protection with Enhanced Availability
With new always-on protection features, vSAN keeps your applications running and available despite potential hardware challenges. New Degraded Device Handling (DDH) intelligently monitors the health of drives and proactively evacuates data before failures can happen.  This is similar to how a traditional storage will detect and fix drive faults today. New smart drive rebuilds and partial rebuilds deliver faster recovery during hardware failures and decrease cluster traffic for greater performance (Like how VNX or Unity rebuilds a failed drive in a storage pool).

Intelligent Operations and Lifecycle Management
New intelligent operations and lifecycle management capabilities accelerate initial hardware setup, simplify software install, and deliver 1-click controller hardware lifecycle management for a more predictable hardware experience. You can reduce management time up to 80% for common tasks with 1-click automation.

Up to 50% Higher All-Flash Performance
Optimized data services further extend vSAN’s performance advantage by delivering up to 50% more IOPS per all-flash host versus previous versions of vSAN, enabling over 150K IOPS per host (Warning: marketing numbers). Regardless, the increased performance helps accelerate mission critical applications and provides higher consolidation ratios for workloads.

Support of Next-Generation Workloads
New validated architectures provide a proven path for deploying next-generation applications like Splunk, Big Data, and Citrix XenApp. In addition, vSAN for Photon is now available in Photon Platform 1.1 and a new Docker Volume Driver delivers support for multi-tenancy, policy based management, snapshots and clones.

Day 1 Support of New Hardware Technologies
Customers can accelerate new hardware adoption with Day 1 support of the latest flash technologies, including solutions like the new Intel Optane 3D XPoint NVMe SSDs. In addition, vSAN now offers larger caching drive options, including 1.6TB flash drives (hallelujah), so that customers can take advantage of the latest and larger capacity flash drives.

For more details on some of the new enhancements coming in vSAN 6.6, see a post done by Virtual Blocks. He did an excellent overview in his blog post which can be found here.

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