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What is virtual SAN (vSAN) and why is it better than traditional SAN?

What is virtual SAN

What is Virtual SAN (vSAN)?

Virtual Storage Area Network (vSAN) solution is a software-defined storage solution that virtualizes storage resources and enables users to effectively use their computing capabilities for virtual block mode storing while maintaining unified management across diverse environments.

As a virtual storage appliance, vSAN can be installed on popular hypervisors: VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM, or Citrix (formerly XenServer) to set up block-mode storage for structured data.

In contrast to traditional SAN which is made-up of multiple hardware components, vSAN can be installed on industry standard x86 servers, as long as it’s running a compatible virtualized host.

Virtual SAN (vSAN) is a software-defined storage solution that provides shared block level access to physical disks, and also enables the use of virtualized storage. vSAN helps you make the most of your virtual environments while keeping costs in check. We’ve put together this blog post to explore what makes vSAN so great for IT professionals and enterprises alike!

Looking for an affordable vSAN? Get StoneFly vSAN for $20/month today! 

What is a Traditional SAN?

Traditional Storage Area Network (SAN) is made-up of physical appliances networked-together to handle block-level data volume. This type of storage is disk-based and provides greater performance for critical structured workloads.

Tradition SAN appliances are expensive and difficult to maintain. SANs require a team of experts who can fix hardware issues, monitor resource consumption and usage, and make sure everything continues to run smoothly.

Virtual SAN (vSAN) vs Traditional SAN

Virtual SAN (vSAN) Reduces Data Latency Issues

Although both technologies share particular qualities, SAN and vSAN differ in terms of the way they are deployed.

SAN utilizes external networked storage to run virtual machines remotely, while vSAN doesn’t require external networked storage.

This allows for a faster response time due to less latency between the data source and the destination. vSAN is a virtual SAN that manages both block-level data and volumes, but without the need for extraneous storage allocations.

Virtual SAN (vSAN) Provides Data Protection in the Case of a Failed Server

vSAN is designed to provide protection against server failures with its distributed architecture.

Traditional SANs do not have this kind of protection and require manual intervention, which can lead to data loss or corruption if there’s an unplanned outage.

With virtual SAN cluster, data is automatically replicated to other servers, so if there’s a server failure the vSAN cluster will continue running on available nodes.

Virtual SAN (vSAN ) Simplifies Management of Storage Resources

vSAN provides centralized management, which means that it’s easier for IT administrators to manage storage resources and monitor health.

Integration with Containers & Virtual Machines

Virtualization is a common component in most modern IT infrastructures and a way to build and deploy applications.

Virtual SAN (vSAN) leverages storage virtualization and integrates with containers and virtual machines. This means you can run your storage for both traditional workloads as well as modern day application platforms such as VMs or Linux Containers (LXCs) using vSAN.

While traditional SAN appliance struggle to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of enterprise technology.

Virtual SAN (vSAN) Costs Less

The thing with traditional SAN storage is that they’re expensive, sometimes too expensive for SMBs or startups who are just starting out. That’s where Virtual SAN comes into play! With vSAN, you can get economies of scale by combining the existing server’s local storage and flash components into a single virtualized pool to create fast, reliable shared storage. When it comes to san, vSAN typically enables users to effectively leverage storage capacities for virtual block mode storage.

Must-Have Virtual SAN (vSAN) Data Protection Features

Before buying a virtual SAN license, here’s a list of features that are a must-have to build a future-proof block-storage infrastructure:

Protect Storage From Ransomware Attacks & Viruses

Ransomware has quickly emerged as one of the largest cyber threats to organizations everywhere, with devastating effects. Now, businesses should opt for the solution that aims to address this ongoing threat head-on.

Look for features such as air-gapping in your vSAN to make sure your data is safe from cyber-threats.

Immutable Snapshot Technology

Virtual SAN should include immutable snapshot technology.

Immutable snapshots enable disaster recovery recovery of a SAN volume at any point in time.

Using immutable snapshots, you can recover data whether it’s encrypted by ransomware attack, accidentally deleted, or lost due to data center hardware failure, or a failed software update.

WORM (Write Once Read Many) Volumes

Data stored in WORM volumes cannot be edited, overwritten, or deleted. This also prevents ransomware, malware, and virus infections.

In addition to advanced security, WORM volumes also help with compliance regulations such as HIPAA, FedRAMP, CJIS, and more.

This is why you should consider opting for virtual SAN solutions that offer WORM volumes as a built-in feature.

Must-Have Virtual SAN (vSAN) Storage Optimization Features

Thin Provisioning

Thin provisioning is a storage optimization feature that helps organizations save space by only using the disk capacity they need at any given time. This means that with a vSAN that offers thin provisioning, you can reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) and extend your resources while still meeting business needs for reliable data accessibility.


Deduplication reduces data footprint by removing redundant copies of the same file across multiple storage devices. By making sure that deduplication is an included feature of your vSAN, you can reduce storage consumption and get the most out of your investments.

SSD Caching

SSD caching is another top-notch feature that should be included in your vSAN. With SSD caching, you can use the fast but expensive storage technology called solid state drives (SSDs) as a temporary buffer for slower disk drives like spinning disks or hard disks.

This way, when an application needs data from one of these slower drive, the SSD cache will provide it instead.

Synchronous/Asynchronous Replication

Synchronous replication is a technology that synchronizes all writes to the primary storage before they are acknowledged by clients. This ensures data integrity and prevents against data loss during system failures or disasters, such as earthquakes or fires.

Asynchronous replication copies only changed blocks in order to optimize bandwidth usage on the network without sacrificing protection of your organization’s most valuable data.

By making sure that sync/async replication is supported by your vSAN solution, you can set up a vSAN cluster, disaster recovery, shared storage, stretched clusters, and more.

Real-Time Resource Monitoring and Management

A vSAN solution that includes real-time resource monitoring and management tools is a must. With these features, you can monitor data usage and to identify the root cause of issues before they become serious problems.

Why StoneFly vSAN is the Best Virtual SAN in the Market

Hypervisor-Agnostic Software Defined Virtual SAN (vSAN)

StoneFly vSAN can be installed on most popular hypervisors including VMware, Hyper-V, KVM, Citrix (XenServer), and StoneFly Persepolis hypervisors.

With our virtual SAN, our customers can leverage their existing virtual environments and supplement it with enterprise virtual block mode storage.

Deploy vSAN On-Premises and/or in the Cloud

In addition to supporting on-premises virtual environments, StoneFly vSAN can also be configured in public clouds such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, or StoneFly private cloud.

As a Microsoft Azure Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and Azure marketplace partner, StoneFly vSAN is listed on Azure marketplace.

Click here to get a free trial or buy StoneFly vSAN directly from Azure marketplace.

Built-in Enterprise Data Services

StoneFly vSAN offers an array of features for no additional cost or extra licensing.

The preinstalled features include but are not limited to:

  • Air-gapped volumes.
  • Immutable delta-based snapshots.
  • Write-Once Read-Many (WORM) volumes.
  • Thin provisioning.
  • Deduplication.
  • Flash Cache – SSD caching.
  • Real-time performance monitoring and resource utilization reporting with a centralized web-based management interface
  • Encryption for data at rest and secure encrypted tunnels for data in transit.
  • Multi-site/multi-appliance clustering with automated failover and failback.
  • Sync/Async replication.

For more details about the built-in features and licensing options of StoneFly vSAN, contact StoneFly sales.


With vSAN storage solutions, you can leverage unused space in your data center.

Unlike the old physical, siloed approach to data management, vSAN stores all of your company’s information on its own server as opposed to relying on shared hardware with other companies. That means you can have more control over how much bandwidth and disk space each virtual machine gets without having to worry about someone else hogging up resources. Plus, it doesn’t matter if one machine goes down—you’ll still be able to access any piece of information with features like clustering and automated failover and failback.

Experience enterprise virtual SAN storage capabilities by getting a free trial for StoneFly vSAN today!

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