Time is over… vSphere 5 is here and it comes with its own VSA

July 12, 2011 — 5 Comments

Today has been a great day for the people of VMware, they presented vSphere 5 in a huge online event and a lot of new interesting features have been finally unveiled.

  • Storage DRS.
  • Profile-Driven Storage.
  • VAAI v2.
  • vSphere Auto Deploy.
  • Software FCoE initiator.
  • Up to 32 vCPUs and 1TB of RAM per virtual machine.
  • VMFS5.
  • New vSphere HA framework.
  • vSphere Web Client (we’ve been expecting something like this for Linux ad Mac OS X)
  • vCenter Server Appliance. On Linux!
  • New vSphere Storage Appliance.

All of them are incredibly cool features however there is one that instantly got my attention:

“VSA – VMware vSphere Storage Appliance” a virtual appliance that will allow to turn the DAS storage of the server into shared storage in those customers with no budget to purchase a full working SAN or where the performance is not a key factor. Wait a minute this sounds familiar.

This is not a new feature. In fact HP, and Lefthand Networks before it was acquired by HP, and VMware have been provided this feature for years through the HP P4000 VSA. After HP/Lefthand other vendors, like NetApp, have released their own VSAs, not as feature rich as the HP appliance of course ;-)

This is an interesting movement by VMware but I think it has its cons. The VSA is not included by default with the vSphere software, you have to pay for it, this is not bad of course since you also have to pay for the P4000 VSA.

That said, what is the advantage of running the VMware provided VSA instead of the HP one? The only one I can think of is the integration of the management interface with the vCenter Server and vSphere Client but with the HP Insight Control for VMware vCenter Server you can also manage, at least in part, your VSAs and I believe the HP CMC interface is rich-feature enough to use it.

Anyway, I’m dying to get my hands on this storage appliance and test it against my beloved P4000 VSA. In the meantime a nice introduction and a couple of videos of the product can be found here.

Like Calvin (@HPStorageGuy) said today in a tweet “Welcome to the past” ;-)



5 responses to Time is over… vSphere 5 is here and it comes with its own VSA


    Is this really an entry level product? Its performance, management interface and inability to expand is very definitely entry level, but with a minimum of 8 drives per SVA, and an extravagant price tag it seems to not fit in any market!

    I will declare a vested interest – I am the CEO of StorMagic.


    Thanks for your comment Hans.

    I completely agree with you, when you take a more in deep look at the VSA features it seems to be more an entry level product. And the price can only be considered as exorbitant when you compare the VMware VSA with its third-party counterparts.



    An additional perceived value of VM’s VSA would be single source of support. Given some recent support experiences with HP’s version of LeftHand/P4000 support, I would say there is some merit to that view… and that’s too bad. HP was once the gold standard of support organizations, and LHN support was terrific also.


    Another possible advantage – since it integrates with vSphere I wonder if it will allow Vmware backup tools to backup the virtual SAN datastores directly. This would be advantageous if you were replicating to a remote VSA and wanted LAN-free backups/archiving in that remote location.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. vSphere5: What SMB need to know | Justin's IT Blog - July 15, 2011

    […] Let us start at the “beginning”, this is not a new concept… Lefthand networks, and now HP Storageworks has been doing this for years. The first VMware cluster I ever designed actually used the P4000 VSA and vSphere 4.0, and it works great. After I moved from Network Design at SMSproTech to Service, I got a chance to work on this cluster and its uptime was over 365 days …. actually it had been running since the time the engineer installed the project… 100% uptime. I won’t go too deep into the HP SAN, but from a first glance the HP VSA will get you more features then the VMware version, check here for a great blog post on the subject. […]

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