How different are EMC ScaleIO & VMware VSAN

The Buzz-word convergence is a concept of products that include storage, compute and networking in one box. Systems that fall under the hyper-convergence category also have the hypervisor (vSphere, Xen, Hyper-V, etc.) built in and are used specifically in virtual environments. Storage and compute are typically managed separately in a virtual environment, but hyper-convergence provides simplification by allowing everything to be managed through one plug-in. This has influenced the growing popularity of these systems over the last year. 

Why do customers need ScaleIO if they share characteristics like virtual SAN (VSAN). And doesn’t ScaleIO compete with VSAN recently launched by VMware? Both, ScaleIO and VSAN fit the software-defined storage strategy that EMC laid out. ScaleIO and VSAN both can turn commodity hardware into shared storage. Both uses server direct-attached storage (DAS) by clustering server hard disk and solid state drives and aggregates all disks into a global, shared, optimized, highly resilient block based storage environment. 

What mainly separates ScaleIO and VSAN is scalability and flexibility when it comes to workloads. VSAN is based on a hypervisor-converged distributed architecture embedded in the vSphere kernel and chosen by VMware customers only. Nevertheless VMware owns a big market, most environments are heterogeneous were scaleIO would definitely fit as a solution. ScaleIO is hardware agnostic and runs on any commodity servers. For instance, ScaleIO runs on Linux, Microsoft Windows, and virtual environments such as VMware, Xen and Hyper-V, using the same architecture and same functionality. Based on vSphere 5.5, VSAN is limited to a maximum total of 32 hosts. ScaleIO is designed to massively scale from three to thousands of nodes. ScaleIO is aimed to scale. VSAN is simple and automates time consuming storage tasks. Not only is VSAN managed through the VMware vSphere Web Client, but it also integrates with other VMware products such as VMware vCenter, Site Recovery Manager and VMware vCloud Automation Center. This integration makes provisioning and management of storage in virtual environments easy and seamless were ScaleIO is seperate software consists of two elements: the ScaleIO data client (SDC) and the ScaleIO data server (SDS). Organizations can install either of these elements on any application server. Both the SDC and SDS have a small footprint and minimal overhead.

ScaleIO and VSAN have the ability easily add nondisruptively expand the compute and storage capacity by adding hosts to a cluster or disks to a host. There are a lot of similarities but ScaleIO scales better and supports more types of servers than VMware-specific VSAN. Both great for different workloads.


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