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VMware vSphere Storage Appliance was a software-based shared storage solution that enables high availability and automation in vSphere without shared storage hardware (for more information see this post). VMware has announced the End of Availability of all vSphere Storage Appliance versions, effective April 1, 2014. After this date you will no longer be able to purchase this product.
All support and maintenance for vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 will be unaffected and will continue to follow the Enterprise Infrastructure Support Policy. The End of General Support life date for customers with vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 remains September 19, 2018.
According to the related FAQ, there isn’t a direct replacement for vSphere Storage Appliance, customers who meet the hardware requirements can choose to upgrade to VMware Virtual VSAN. A vSphere Storage Appliance to Virtual SAN upgrade SKU will be available.
But could really VSAN be a replacement for VSA?
If you have a three node configuration maybe (3 is the minimum number of hosts to implement a VSAN cluster), but what about a two node configuration? Actually there isn’t a direct replace for this kind of configuration (and there are no info yet about a “small version” of VSAN), so you must look at other products like StorMagic SvSAN, Starwind VSA, HP StoreVirtual VSA or other similar solutions (but please take care to found how each solution will handle the two node configuration and the split-brain scenario).
So VSAN could be an easy replacement for VSA? From my point of view, no! Virtual SAN is an interesting product but is positioning is not (yet) for the small SMB (also on the commercial point of view). If there will be an aggressive price for Essential bundles and/or ROBO bundles maybe the answer will change, but there is still the issue with a two node configuration (common in small SMB or in ROBO scenarios).
Also you have to consider that VSA requirements were different compared to VSAN requirements:
- VSA require an hardware RAID card, VSAN does not need it and works well with pass-through cards. Of course you can use RAID card with VSAN, but with special considerations and configurations.
- VSA require local RAID configuration with redundancy, VSAN use a network redundancy (and locally could be a simple RAID0), that is better from space point of view, but could be worst for network usage and planning.
- VSAN require both “traditional” hard disks and also flash based storage (SSD or PCI Flash card). This will require new purchases.
- VSAN works only with vSphere 5.5 U1, that mean a possible upgrade needs, but also to verify the HCL to be sure that the infrastructure could really be upgraded.
- VSA was included in some bundles, actually VSAN is not included in any bundle (so you need a new license).