VMWare Environment Configuration

I’d like to float something out there for the VMWare experts here. I have a client who is getting a complete infrastructure replacement, so everything gets to be setup clean from scratch.


This client has 2 buildings, side by side connected with multiple extra strands of fiber. The intent here is to put 2 Dell R640’s, 2 Dell S4112 switches and 1 Dell SCv3020 Compellant SAN in each building, interconnected to each other via fiber and make this a FT/HA environment. So in total there will be 4 hosts, 4 switches and 2 SANs, all on separate but routed subnets. Each of the SANs are 22TB RAW, and the total VM utilization is 15TB which will reside in this environment.


– Would this be best configured as a 2 node vSAN (1 in each building) with each set of SANs being RAID5 at the SAN level together?

– Or maybe each SAN as a node? RAW or RAID5 individually, or RAID5 via Storage Policy in VMW?

Looking for some expert guidance, insights, things to consider here.

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  1. when you say the two buildings are side by side, do you mean literally right next to each other? are they on the same power leg? if so I don’t know how much breaking the gear up into two buildings buys you as far as HA. also, our post doesn’t mention anything as far as UPS for this setup.

    Pick the building that has a backup generator, if there is one, and put it all in there. just throw two access switches in the other building.

    also separating them over two networks doesn’t really buy you anything. Even if you do have them in different buildings a flat network for this stuff will be fine. the important thing is to put management (DRAC, Compellant management, etc) on its own network, and storage connection/vmotion on its on network, and servers (VMs) on their own network which is separate from the end user network and phone network if there is one. so we’re looking at 5 VLANs min.

    Your post also doesn’t mention a BRS solution, which I would be concerned about. With so little storage you must be backing up to the cloud, has that price been figured in.

    Finally you won’t need to get vSAN involved. just present a lun from each Compellant to vcenter and put them in a storage cluster. cluster the hosts and turn on storage DRS. You probably need double the storage you describe here tho.

    Don’t be put down by my comment or the others, you’re right to ask questions. please ask more and we’ll get you there.

  2. vSAN uses pass-through or RAID-0 individual DAS disks in a host. It doesn’t support external storage or any other RAID behind the disks.

    You could do a 4 node stretch vSAN cluster using the 4 hosts with internal storage instead, using 2 fault domains, negating the requirement for a SAN.

  3. What about two FX2 Chassis with FC640s with the shared storage to the compellent on both sides (FX2 on each side)? You could reduce the iSCSI switching and then increase the storage tiers. You’re not going to have good luck with 22TB raw and a 15TB production. Have you looked at the requirements of the types of storage(Iops in and out)? You’re using a compellent, which means you have the ability to license data progression…. It’s the whole point of it. I know this sounds like an asshole statement, but IMHO you have a lot more homework to do before there’s a determination of the assets needed to meet the requirements of the environment.

  4. your’re requirements are really light, honestly i’d take a look at starwind vsan. you can do exactly what you want without switches and a dedicated san, they have a vsan offering. you’ll save a ton of money and get exactly what you want. that private fiber is saving you tons of cash with this setup. you’ll have 1 server is each building with local ssd’s installed with your vm’s that will constantly be replicated. i run their stuff in production for 4 nodes and no issues at all in 2 years, support is rock solid and you can get hooked up with [xbyte.com](https://xbyte.com) for dell refurb with 24x7x5yr warranty.

  5. I don’t understand why you are doing vSAN if you have a pair of “real” SANS, one in each building. What does vSAN give you that you don’t get from the Compellant, other than another layer and additional complexity. Can you explain further?

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