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VMware says its VSAN virtual storage array is selling well

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November 17, 2014

VMware says its VSAN virtual storage array was selling well recently, earning hardware-makers' attention and demonstrating some value to today's software-defined data centre.

Be that as it may, but VSAN is also having some issues. In July, VMware was forced to change its recommended VSAN system configurations because VSANs were choking on suggested setups back then.

Now comes news that an LSI component used by several server makers is causing some VSANs to fail. And that was not expected to happen.

The component in question is the LSI 2208, a RAID controller that SynchroNet's John Nicholson says is used by Dell, HP and Cisco in their VSAN implementations.

The 2208 is useful because it enables “pass-through” mode whereby the RAID controller is able to optimize the system.

However, without a pass-through-enabled controller, VMware says “VSAN will not function efficiently” and “performance on the VSAN datastore will not be maximized in this configuration.”

Nicholson added that the bug isn't persistent, and instead “affects every host in the cluster approximately 40 days after its last reboot”.

Once the hosts go down, they stay that way for about half an hour, during which time disks drop out and data appears to be lost.

Nicholson's post suggest that the problem's been known for a while, and says he's been told by VMware that for now the best workaround is dropping to RAID 0.

Another SynchroNet staffer has suggested “I know within VMware, that this has the highest level of visibility possible”.

As he points out, this isn't really VMware's issue. LSI's driver appears to be at fault and it's up to that vendor to set that right.

LSI's site and social media are silent on the topic. We'll keep you posted once we hear more from VMware.

Source: VMware.

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