Is VSAN a Good Fit For Your Business?

Businesses worldwide are migrating from their on-premise server solutions to virtual storage area networks. Virtual SAN has been touted by many industry experts as the future of data centers. But this approach is not without its detractors and critics. Should your company choose VSAN as an integral part of its IT infrastructure? Let’s find out.

What Is Virtual SAN?

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Every enterprise level-company needs dedicated area storage for its daily operations and data backup. The traditional approach to creating a storage area network includes setting up a server using specialized hardware. The next step is connecting the server to a network of disks used to consolidate storage.

Simply put, VSAN is a virtual alternative to a hardware-based SAN system. VSAN uses virtualization to create a unified software-defined environment for block-mode data storage. This virtual storage environment can be used for the same purposes as the traditional SAN. You can deploy applications, set up databases and servers, or store backups. VSAN sits atop a hypervisor, a piece of software that creates and runs virtual machines. Some VSAN solutions work only with a few selected hypervisors, while others are hypervisor-agnostic.

VSAN combines available storage resources into a single pool, which allows for scalability. VSANs are usually designed for large-scale IT infrastructure, like enterprise data centers. However, select vendors have brought VSAN features to a much wider audience of SMB, ROBO, and Edge. Virtual storage area networks are often described as the primary example of hyper-converged software-defined storage.

Advantages of Using VSAN

  • Doesn’t require expensive specialized hardware, and runs on industry-standard x86 architecture.
  • Easy to scale up and down by adding a few more disks or hosts.
  • Almost effortless to manage and update. Most hypervisors can be installed and configured with a few clicks.
  • Uses policies for automated virtual disk and virtual machine management, allowing to increase or decrease storage on demand.
  • Simplified deployment that doesn’t require specialized IT personnel.
  • Doesn’t sacrifice performance at the expense of simplicity.
  • Generally much less expensive than comparable hardware solutions.
  • Reduces both upfront and maintenance costs.
  • Allows for easier data migration.
  • Can be deployed on local servers, public, private and hybrid clouds, or using an entirely serverless setup.

What Makes VSAN Different Compared to Traditional SAN?

  • Completely virtual.
  • Doesn’t need externally attached storage to allocate structured workloads.
  • Can increase processing capabilities without adding storage arrays.
  • Can experience some performance and latency issues when deployed to a remote server, unlike local SAN.
  • Less control over physical server security compared to local SAN, however, most VSANs are deployed in secure, state-of-the-art data centers or have designated features to ensure fault tolerance.

Should Your Company Use VSAN?

While VSAN has many benefits, it’s not a universal solution. In some cases, especially if you are concerned about physical server security or latency issues, choosing traditional SAN infrastructure makes more sense. Local SAN appliances are preferable if you have to manage an enormous number of critical workloads that can require petabytes of storage capacity and need more sophisticated administrative control. It’s necessary to have a dedicated team of IT professionals if you are planning to build on-premise SAN infrastructure.

VSAN is a better choice if you need to stay flexible in terms of deployment. It can be deployed locally, on a remote server, or in a cloud environment. Using VSAN on hyper-converged infrastructure is a great way to capitalize on its scalability and improved performance. But if you plan to deploy your data storage to a cloud or a remote server, the issue of latency often comes into play. Choose a data center in your nearby region if possible to mitigate possible performance issues. A lot of companies follow this tactic and use cloud-deployed storage networks without significant problems. If latency is an issue and there is no available data center nearby, you might have to go back to an on-premise solution. Consider your budget, performance, and project management requirements before you decide whether VSAN is a good fit for your company.

In general, VSAN is a cheaper solution compared to on-premise appliances. But its deployment, licensing, and maintenance costs depend on the vendor, hypervisor, and your hardware. If you are thinking about cloud deployment, the expenses will depend on the computer costs of your chosen cloud service provider and how often you run VSAN.

VSAN Use Cases

There are a few areas where leveraging the VSAN technology can bring maximum effect. Data center consolidation is the key application of VSAN. It allows building more efficient and cost-effective IT architectures by uniting multiple data centers from different physical locations in a seamless virtual environment. Alternatively, VSAN can be used to make a single data center operate using fewer resources.

  • Using VSAN to set up scalable virtual servers for testing and project development is a better, less expensive alternative to traditional SAN. It can be easily repurposed for other uses after you’ve finished with testing.
  • VSAN is great for disaster recovery since it doesn’t require setting up a backup physical server or installing expensive third-party DR software.
  • VSAN also removes the need for creating dedicated servers for hosting your CRM or a website.


VSAN has a lot to offer in terms of flexibility and ease of deployment. From simplifying data management to reducing operating costs, virtual storage area networks can benefit data centers and enterprise-level businesses. Small and mid-size businesses can rely on VSAN for their data protection and disaster recovery needs.