vSAN 6.6 is coming- SAN Huggers look away now

vSAN 6.6 is coming- SAN Huggers look away now

VMware are set to continue their aggressive release schedule for vSAN with vSAN 6.6- Focus on Security, Lower TCO and Performance.

VMware’s all-out assault on the HCI market continues unabated it seems, as the next iteration of vSAN is getting ready to dazzle with a host of additional features.

Over 20 features in all are touted for the 6.6 release, all looking to further boost the Enterprise-level attraction of adopting VMware’s hyper-converged storage platform and crossing a few features off the checklist as far as VMware are concerned at least.

At the recent Australian VMUG UserCon, Duncan Epping gave some insight into VMware’s thinking and direction when it comes to vSAN and mentioned that soon the short release cycles of the platform will slow as the platform enters a more ‘steady state’, but for now we have a slew of new features to digest.

According to Epping the areas VMware felt they needed to work on were Availability, Security, Data Mobility and Management- areas which have certainly been addressed in 6.6. Excited yet?  Let’s have a look at some of the new features soon to drop on your Hyper-Converged doorstep!

Data-at-rest encryption

The VMware crypto team have clearly been busy lately, as in addition to the VM and vMotion encryption seen in vSphere 6.5, vSAN 6.6 brings you Data-at-rest AES-256 encryption to further secure your precious vDisks.  Available for both hybrid and all-flash configurations (for vSAN Enterprise customers only mind) and presumably controlled by policy, encryption will not be at the detriment of existing storage efficiency features.  For the curious among you, the features will be applied as follows:

vSAN 6.6 Encryption


No mention though, of whether adding the encryption will affect performance in any way- assuming this is done at the storage layer then you would hope any adverse effect on performance would be minimal regardless of hybrid or all-flash setups.  But this is all hardware agnostic and entirely hardware independent, no need for self-encrypting disks or the like this is all software and so will work with anything you put underneath it (as long as it’s on the HCL, obviously).  More in the vSANic bowels, one key will encrypt data for the whole cluster, and key management is via integration with KMIP compliant technology.  And of course, all of this is managed through vCenter.


Stretched Failures-to-tolerate (SFTT)

…or ‘enhanced stretched cluster’ offers local failure protection to increase data protection in the event of site failure.  It looks a little like this:


So essentially whereas the traditional stretched cluster will ensure that all your VM components are replicated across fault domains to ensure that your data can survive a complete site outage, 6.6 will take that one further and ensure full protection of VM components in the event of site failure.

Enhanced Analytics and Management

Another area specifically called out by Duncan Epping was management, and a bunch of enhancements has made it into the 6.6 release including:

  • Proactive Evacuation – Not to be outdone by Proactive HA in vSphere, vSAN will be able to pick up things like Predictive Failure errors from disks and proactively evacuate disks/disk groups/hosts accordingly.  As well as flashing up a big red alert in the UI no doubt, so the issue can actually be fixed.
  • Proactive Cloud Analytics – Continuing the proactive theme, new analytics features will allow administrators to be alerted via the UI if any issues are forthcoming by not only analyzing performance or event trends, but also of any new KBs or patches that apply to your specific environment, which is pretty nice.
  • Management – 6.6 will allow you to have greater control via the UI, allowing you to upgrade disk firmware, drivers etc. direct from the interface.

Along with the above some other features of note that 6.6 will bring…

  • Up to 30% increase in sequential write performance
  • Support for new 1.6TB cache-tier SSD
  • Streamlined install and configuration and ‘one-click’ fixes through the UI

Also worth a mention is that QoS, IOPs limits will be included in all vSAN licenses from 6.6 meaning Standard and Advanced customers will also be able to benefit.


So there it is, there are obviously more features in the release than mentioned here so check out the official release documentation here.



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