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VMware Cookbook, 2nd Edition by Ryan Troy, Matthew Helmke

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Chapter 9. vSphere Storage Appliance

This chapter will discuss how to create a virtual SAN infrastructure that uses free and unused disk space on your ESXI servers. We will discuss the installation process, benefits, and limitations of the vSphere Storage Appliance.

9.1. What Is the vSphere Storage Appliance?

Problem

You wish to reclaim unused space on your ESXI servers and create a virtual SAN using the VMware Storage Appliance.

Solution

Deploy the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) on your vCenter server to create a VSA cluster and reclaim the disk space. The Discussion section discusses the benefits, features, and limitations of the VSA.

Discussion

The VSA is new in vSphere 5.0 and allows the SMB customer to use unused disk space on the ESXI servers and create a virtual SAN infrastructure to add more robustness to VMware’s already highly redundant platform. The VSA is a virtual appliance that combines SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and storage clustering services. The VSA virtual machine can run on either two or three ESXi hosts to create a unified storage platform.

At the time of this writing, using a VSA Cluster allows:

  • Shared datastores for all ESXi hosts in the datacenter

  • One replica of each shared data store across ESXi hosts

  • vSphere vMotion and vSphere HA within the VSA cluster

  • Hardware and software failover capabilities

  • Replacement of a failed VSA cluster member

  • Recovery of an existing VSA cluster

The VSA cluster will keep a replica of each volume inside the VSA cluster on another member ...

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