June 10, 2015

VSA - vSphere Storage Appliance


"Shared Storage for Everyone"

The vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) allows local storage on ESXi hosts to be used as shared storage, enabling the use of many storage-dependent virtualization features, such as vMotion, distributed resource scheduling (DRS), and high availability (HA), without the need for a SAN.

VSA also functions as a storage cluster, providing continued availability of all the data it stores even if one node in the cluster fails. The VSA is a VM on each host in the cluster. If one host fails, the VSA fails over automatically to one of the other hosts.

vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) is VMware software that transforms existing, local server storage into shared storage that can be shared by up to three vSphere hosts.

vSphere Storage Appliance VMware Virtual SAN
Description Low cost, simple shared storage for small deployments Scale-out distributed storage designed for virtualized/cloud environments
Form Factor Virtual Appliance Built-in vSphere kernel
  • 2 to 3 vSphere servers
  • Does not scale beyond 3 hosts
  • Minimum 3 hosts deployments
  • Scale out to vSphere cluster size
Performance No SSD requirement SSD Caching (high performance)

vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) takes local storage and presents it back to ESXi hosts as a shared NFS mount.

VSA cluster with 3 members has 3 VSA datastores and maintains a replica of each datastore
VMware announced that the End of Availability of all vSphere Storage Appliance versions was April 1, 2014.

Product Release
General Availability End of General Support End of Technical Guidance End of Availability
VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0 2011/08/24 2013/08/24 N/A 2014/04/01
VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1 2012/09/10 2014/09/10 N/A 2014/04/01
VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 2013/09/19 2018/09/19 2020/09/19 2014/04/01

  • A VM deployed from an OVF
  • Leverages existing internal local direct attached storage (DAS) to present an NFS volume as shared storage to the VSA cluster
  • Uses Raid 1 across different nodes and Raid 10 within each node
  • The VSA is run on each host in the cluster
  • Clusters storage across server nodes
  • Designed for small environments without shared storage
  • End of Availability for vSphere Storage Appliance reached April 1, 2014

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