Virtual SAN software is a software technology that delivers shared storage to servers without the need for a physical SAN. This is done by pooling together all the server-side storage resources and presenting the pool to the operating system or hypervisor as shared storage.
Virtual SAN software can create a high-performance, server-based SAN without using any external storage arrays, switches, HBAs , and other fabric components like a physical SAN. Using virtual SANs can also lower overall costs by utilizing existing solid-state storage in servers rather than purchasing new hardware.
This shared storage pool can be created within a single server, server cluster, or part of a remote office infrastructure with many remote offices around the world. Virtual SANs are meant to be a scale-out architecture that scales storage with compute as server nodes are added to a cluster.
Virtual SAN software can enable greater availability and reliability and make effective use of server-side storage. It also enables non-disruptive data movement, which in turn enables simplified management and better utilization of storage capacity. Virtual SAN vendors also claim that there are no special training or certifications to deploy and maintain a virtual SAN.
Today, virtual SAN software, such as VMware VSAN, StorMagic SvSAN, Datacore SANsymphony Virtual SAN and EMC ScaleIO, has extended support to solid-state storage. This allows users to create a high-performance, persistent solid-state tier of storage for critical applications that require low response times.