VSAN+NSX LogoVirtual SAN and VMware NSX have been a topic of discussion in many of the customer meetings I participated in 2015 and already in 2016. Questions and concerns about compatibility and interoperability have been at the forefront of all of those discussions. I have noticed that there is a bit of confusion and misunderstanding with customers and also within the community in social media.

I’ve been leading some efforts at VMware around the use of Virtual SAN, and VMware NSX and different deployments scenarios around Layer-2 and Layer-3 network topologies, as well as stretched cluster use cases. Because of the experience I have gathered while working with both products, I can provide some definitive answers for some of the frequently asked customer questions. Hopefully, my answers will clarify some of the confusion and misunderstandings around Virtual SAN and VMware NSX compatibility and interoperability.

The number one question about the two products is “are Virtual SAN compatible with VMware NSX?” or vice versa. The quick and short answer is absolutely, and unequivocally yes!!!. But there is more to this question as well as the answer. The two products can be deploy and co-exist on the same vSphere infrastructure without any issues. It is paramount for everyone to understand that neither Virtual SAN nor VMware NSX is dependent on each other to deliver their functionalities, resources, and services.

I have found that whenever the question of compatibility is asked, it’s in the context of being able to place the Virtual SAN network traffic on the VXLAN overlay. From what I have observed, this is where some of the confusion stems from.

The answer is no! VMware NSX does not support the configuration of the Virtual SAN network traffic over the VXLAN overlay. It’s crucial for everyone asking this question to understands that this is not an incompatibility or interoperability issue but a position on the use and support of the VXLAN overlay by VMware NSX. This is not unique to Virtual SAN as it applies to any statically defined VMkernel interface traffic such as vMotion, iSCSI, NFS, FCoE, Management, etc.

Part of the reason for not supporting VMkernel traffic over the VXLAN overlay is primarily to avoid any circular dependency of having VMkernel infrastructure networks dependent on the VXLAN overlay they are there to support. The logical networks that are delivered in conjunction with the VXLAN overlay are to be used by transient types of virtual machines which require network mobility and flexibility.

The Virtual SAN network stack supports flexible deployments out-of-the-box, and it can be configured over layer-2 and layer-3 network topologies. The Virtual SAN network should be kept isolated and managed with the necessary networking technologies suitable for its deployment (IP Multicast, IGMP, IGMP Snooping, PIM) as recommended by VMware.


I hope my explanations are useful, and it clears up the misunderstandings around VMware Virtual SAN and VMware NSX compatibility and interoperability.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.

VSAN-LogInsight-LogoThe information visibility and proactive monitoring and management capabilities of Virtual SAN continue to get better and better every day. It was just a couple of months ago that VMware released the vRealize Operation management pack for Storage devices for Virtual SAN. The management pack introduced rich data visualization dashboards for performance, hardware, capacity planning, and performance troubleshooting for all of Virtual SAN hardware and software components.

Today, VMware released the new vRealize Log Insight content pack for VMware Virtual SAN. The content pack provides in-depth visibility into several aspects of  Virtual SAN and its logs through a series of predefined dashboards, queries, and alerts that provide improved diagnostics and troubleshooting capabilities.

This solution delivers the ability to automate log management through the combination of aggregation of analytics and search capabilities enabling operational intelligence and enterprise-wide visibility in dynamic environments. The Virtual SAN content pack provides pre-defined knowledge about specific types of events found in log messages.

The pack includes various dashboards, queries and alerts that provide easily accessible diagnostics and troubleshooting capabilities to the Virtual SAN administrators. Combine the vRealize Log Insight content pack for Virtual SAN with the capabilities delivered by vRealize Operations management pack for Virtual SAN and you’ll become the performance monitoring, diagnostics and troubleshooting juggernaut of the software-defined data center for Virtual SAN 😀.



The content pack new features and capabilities present in-depth information about Virtual SAN that allows customers to make informed and proactive decisions within their environments.

Content Pack for Virtual SAN Highlights

  • Proactive monitoring of your Virtual SAN environments
  • Detect anomalies, perform trend analysis and pinpoints specific issues
  • Enables proactive monitoring of Virtual SAN environment
  • Quickly identify issues: The various dashboards help to find problems in your Virtual SAN environment.
  • Drill down to determine the root cause: Dashboard filters make it easy to see logs from specific parts of your Virtual SAN environment.
  • Easily consume data: Powerful and dynamic visualizations make it possible to detect anomalies, perform trending analysis, and pinpoint specific issues through targeted queries.
  • Alerts: Know what to monitor in your Virtual SAN logs and get notified when such events are detected.
  • Additional information and context: Query notes: Each dashboard widget includes information about the widget with links to documentation, knowledge base articles, and any other information making it possible to understand the data presented.

If you are a vRealize Log Insight and Virtual SAN customers can very easily access the new content pack by going on to the Log Insight Content Pack Marketplace as illustrated in the screen shot below and automatically install pack from there.



If you are not currently using vRealize Log Insight get in touch with you VMware representative for access to product evaluation.

BOOM!!! Get Some!! 😀

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds.


Virtual SAN_Stretched_ClusterHot off the press!!! and ready just in time for your turkey day break so you can feed your brain a bit more. The new Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster Bandwidth Guidelines white paper is officially available.

Earlier this summer when the feature was announced with the release of Virtual SAN 6.1, my buddy, Duncan Epping and I provided example formulas that could be used for calculating network bandwidth requirements for Virtual SAN Stretched Clusters during our “STO5333 – Building a Stretched Cluster with Virtual SAN” session in both San Francisco and Barcelona .

We also promised that documentation containing all of the necessary and required detailed information containing the “how, why, when, and where” along with the validated metrics from our engineering team would be published soon, Well here it is… for those looking to evaluate Virtual SAN Stretched Clusters and to also gain better understanding about the bandwidth sizing semantics for the solution.

The paper can no be download directly from the link below:

VMware Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster Bandwidth Sizing Guidance White Paper

BOOM!!! Get Some!! 😀

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

algorithms_small_logoDuring the past two VMworld conferences, I along with Christos Karamanolis (@XtosK), lead architect of Virtual SAN and CTO of Storage and Availability at VMware, along with other members of our team have spent a good amount of time covering all aspects of the Virtual SAN architecture. One of the key topics covered has been Virtual SAN’s caching algorithms. For the most part, the specifics about the Virtual SAN algorithms, their behavior, and functionality haven’t been publicaly available for general consumption.

Due to the continuous demand from customers and storage enthusiasts, we have created and published a white paper calledAn Overview of VMware Virtual SAN Caching Algorithms” The paper was developed to provide additional insights and information into the operations Virtual SAN and its caching algorithms. The paper explains the algorithms different behaviors as well the protocols utilized for the different architectures. The paper also explains how Virtual SAN’s capability to intelligently leverages flash, memory, and traditional magnetic disk and also details on how Virtual SAN combines the capacity, performance, and endurance of each class of storage are also provided.

The white paper can be downloaded directly from the following link – “An Overview of VMware Virtual SAN Caching Algorithms”.
For those of you who attended VMworld 2015 this year and had access to the online recordings, take a look at session STO5336 for the Virtual SAN Deep Dive session where we covered the algorithms as well.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds


A new Microsoft Exchange 2013 on Virtual SAN 6.1 is now available on the VMware Virtual SAN product Resource page. This new VSAN-Exch
reference architecture walks through the validation of Virtual SAN’s ability to support Microsoft Exchange 2013 designed to satisfy high IOPS mailbox configuration with Exchange Database Availability Groups (DAGs). The reference architecture is based on a resilient design that covers VMware vSphere clustering technology and Exchange DAG as well as data protection and recoverability design of Exchange Server 2013 with vSphere Data Protection and vSphere Site Recovery Manager.

Below is a list of topic and focus of the reference architecture:

  •   Illustrates Virtual SAN performance using Exchange Jetstress.
  •   Shows the benefits of minimal impact to the production environment for Exchange Server backup and restore in a consolidated Virtual SAN environment.
  •   Includes a disaster recovery (DR) solution using VMware vSphere ReplicationTM and Site Recovery Manager.
  •   Demonstrates storage performance scalability and resiliency of Exchange 2013 DAG in a virtualized VMware environment backed by Virtual SAN.
  •   Describes Virtual SAN best practice guidelines for preparing the vSphere platform for running Exchange Server 2013. Guidance is included for CPU, memory, storage, and networking configuration leveraging the existing VMware best practices for Exchange 2013.

Adding VMware Virtual SAN to the Exchange 2013 architecture aims at furthering the evolution by providing highly scalable, reliable, and high-performance storage using cost-effective hardware, specifically directly attached disks in ESXi hosts. Virtual SAN embodies a new storage management paradigm that automates or eliminates many of the complex management workflows that exist in traditional storage systems today. Virtual SAN enables IT administrators to easily deploy and administer Microsoft Exchange 2013 on VMware vSphere while still maintaining high availability and reducing costs using a shared infrastructure hosted on ESXi.

You can access and download the new reference architecture white paper directly from here -> Microsoft Exchange 2013 on Virtual SAN 6.1 Reference Architecture.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVol) and other Storage and Availability technologies, as well as vSphere Integrated OpenStack (VIO), and Cloud-Native Applications (CNA) be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds