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Lab Insight: VMware vSAN HCI vs. All-Flash SAN – An Operational Analysis

Published April 15th, 2017. A report comparing the complexity and costs of VMware vSAN HCI and All-Flash SAN.

Maximizing IT efficiency is important for companies of all sizes, including IT staff that now must compete with cloud computing and other external IT op ons. Improving effciency requires a close evaluation of capital and operational expenses, with considerations including total operational costs, performance and ease of use. In this evaluation, we focused

on management efficiency; which is an important consideration, both for small organizations that cannot afford specialization or training and for larger firms that need to operate economically at scale.

Over the past several years, a new architectural choice for IT organizations has gained increasing acceptance, Hyperconverged Infrastructure or HCI. The promise of this architecture is to simplify IT infrastructure and in so doing, simplify IT operations. Simplification has many benefits and implies reduced cost and complexity.

Evaluator Group analyzed the operational costs of two types of commonly deployed IT environments, a Hyperconverged Infrastructure and a traditional IT infrastructure. For our testing, the HCI environment utilized VMware server virtualization together with VMware vSAN storage running on multiple server nodes. The traditional IT environment consisted of the same server virtualization configuration with an external, SAN-a ached all- ash array.

In order to ascertain if there are operational benefits to either architectural choice, Evaluator Group evaluated these alternatives with respect to their Operational Expenses (OPEX). Our focus was on the elements that comprise administrative costs, with additional analysis of other OPEX components including maintenance, power and cooling.


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