When VMware first unveiled its VSAN, a programmable storage feature built directly into vSphere, it teamed up with a number of partners who were ready and willing to offer compatible servers to integrate as “ready nodes”. This included the likes of Dell, Cisco, Supermicro, Inspur and Fujitsu, who all promised to ready tricked-up servers with lots of disk slots to be pressed into service with VSANs.
But that doesn’t mean VMware is cozying up to these companies by any stretch of the imagination. It’s now suggesting that customers can build their own VSAN nodes from scratch, and has released a guide on how to go about it. The company suggests that customers will be given “great flexibility and choice” when designing their storage if they follow this approach.
That’s quite a claim to make. Storage has long been a battened-down world, where customization is sneered at and appliances rule the roost. But VMware seems to think that this doesn’t apply to VSANs, at least according to its new Hardware Guidance document. The document explains how to go about building your own “ready nodes”, though it doesn’t suggest using any parts VMware hasn’t listed in its compatibility guide, nor does it feel that this is the best solution for everyone
Nevertheless, VMware is suggesting that SAN customization is an option, something that could heap even more disruption onto a storage industry that’s already been seriously disrupted by virtualization.
VMware’s guide will come in handy for those who want to get their hands dirty configuring or building a customized VSAN node. For those looking at configuration, the guide should assist them in using various online tools to get the job done. Those who’re looking to build a working VSAN node from scratch should find the guide especially helpful.