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Buyer's Guide

Download the Software Defined Storage (SDS) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2022

What is VMware Software Defined Storage?

VMware software-defined storage is a simple, yet intelligent, storage data center architecture that aligns with business and application demands—eliminating static, purpose-built and inefficient hardware with dynamic, agile and automated solutions.

VMware Software Defined Storage was previously known as VMware SDS.

VMware Software Defined Storage Customers

Helse Nord, Sky

VMware Software Defined Storage Video

Archived VMware Software Defined Storage Reviews (more than two years old)

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Senior Project Engineer - Networks and Infrastructure at Tetra Pak
Real User
The ability to scale up without necessity of additional hardware is a key advantage
Pros and Cons
  • "The best part of the solution is that you can actually scale up to a large number of operating systems without additional hardware."
  • "It doesn't have the ability to be deployed on any kind of hardware and network connectors."

What is our primary use case?

I'm the senior project engineer for networks and infrastructure in our company and we're a customer of VMware.  We usually design the product for specific situations and then sell it. We're currently working on four different projects, it's primarily a data product.

What is most valuable?

The high visibility is a valuable feature. You can write a failure usually due to some hardware or technical issue.

What needs improvement?

The cost of the product is where an improvement could be made. It's generally very expensive and requires a lot of architecture that needs to be designed according to specific situations. If it could be designed with open architecture, it would increase the value of the product. I would like to see a greater ability to work with any kind of infrastructure, and there are currently some restrictions. It should have the ability to be deployed on any kind of hardware and network connectors, or protocols for that matter, and it should be more open to cloud.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the product for a couple of years. 
Buyer's Guide
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
June 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about VMware, Nutanix, Datera and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: June 2022.
608,713 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Because we don't have a huge number of operations, the solution is stable for us. For an enterprise data center it might be more challenging, but for our requirements, which includes about 80 workers, it's not that complex. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The best part of the solution is that you can actually scale up to a large number of operating systems without the requirement of additional hardware, which is the biggest advantage.

How are customer service and support?

Technical support is relatively good. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very customized, sometimes it's straightforward but most of the time it's very complex. I believe that's because the application that eventually runs on the architecture is always different and customer requirements are different too. Somehow we have to bridge those two areas using these solutions and then provide a product that is easy to use.

What about the implementation team?

Deployment probably takes three to four weeks per project and then of course we have a couple of months monitoring. We have about 35 team members involved in implementation. Each company then has its own person, sometimes two people who deal with maintenance. Most companies prefer controlling maintenance themselves, so we then transfer the contract to them. We also provide a help center, which isn't a dedicated team, it depends on the issue. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I believe there is a yearly licensing fee of around $2000 - $5000. I don't think there are additional costs above that but it depends on the type of infrastructure you're booting. If it's very complex or quantitatively heavy with a large infrastructure, then you might need to add more licensing costs, but for us, the standard one does the job.

What other advice do I have?

I would suggest to anyone considering purchasing the solution that it's important to validate your requirements first, whether you actually need it or not, before purchasing. In addition, the product can be better optimized. In the first instance, we paid more than we should have because we didn't know enough, but in subsequent projects we designed it differently, it was a better product, and we were able to save a lot of fees. You have to actually spend time customizing the solution based on your need and then it becomes more cost-effective and a more valuable solution,  I would rate this product an eight out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
KashifNaseer - PeerSpot reviewer
Country Head SSID & GM South at a import and exporter with 51-200 employees
Reseller
Comes in a single management panel and doesn't require the need to buy separate dedicated storage
Pros and Cons
  • "The single management panel is the main feature that is wonderful for the customer."
  • "I'd like to see improved hardware compatibility"

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case relates to the increasing number of customers moving away from traditional types of storage and trying to reduce the storage provisioning time and improve ease of use. That's the main reason customers are asking for software-defined storage.
We deal with medium to enterprise-sized customers.

What is most valuable?

The valuable feature of the product is that the customer doesn't have to buy a separate storage box and manage things separately. The single management panel is the main feature that is wonderful for the customer. The single management panel plus the fact that there is no need to buy a separate disk is most valuable. You have the disks in the servers and it serves the purpose for your shared storage in the environment. 

What needs improvement?

I think VMware SDS is pretty good. It has all the ingredients that an SDS should have. I think it's the most competitive product in the market. 

The OEM solutions that are being offered based on the VMware SDS solution is different to that offered by other companies. HP and Dell EMC offer the data migration service to their appliances. The data migration itself is not a big challenge. It's sort of an OEM customized solution. VMware does not offer similar equivalent the solution, they work with OEM partners, and they offer it that way. Since normally, enterprise customers won't rely on unknown brand storage. They rely on the larger players like HP, EMC, IBM, NetApp and Hitachi - VMware has an alliance with those companies. 

Ideally, I'd like to see improved hardware compatibility because normally all the software-defined solutions require compatible hardware. Usually, the hardware evolution is quite fast-paced.  If customers procure one class of the device or hardware and it's compatible with a certain type of software version, and later they purchase another from a different vendor, there is a catch. I think the hardware compatibility should be very open and support different kinds of hardware because the hardware is very specific. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been working with the solution for more than three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's easy to scale and expand but the main catch is the cost. It's expensive.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is awesome. I think that's one of the main reasons people opt for VMware. Service matters to the customer, especially for the mid-tier to enterprise-sized customers who require their systems to be running all the time. Again the issue is cost. We are now looking at similar products to sell that are less expensive.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously tried a Chinese version that came in at a very cheap price but we didn't stick with them because they can't be trusted to provide good service and there was an issue with agreements. It's important for us to have the references and it was a challenge to sell that product. It had all the wonderful features that such a solution should have, but it was very difficult to sell it to an enterprise or medium-scale customer because of issues with reliability.

How was the initial setup?

Setup is relative - if the person has good knowledge, it's relatively easy. Otherwise, it's going to be a tough job. For someone who has the knowledge base, setup can be done within a couple of hours. Most customers in Pakistan rely on the vendors to do the setup. It only takes one person, sometimes two or three for an enterprise-sized company.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Setup cost is based on the software price and licenses on sockets. A single socket costs you around US $6,000 with three years services. At a minimum, you have a three node cluster for a small or medium-scale company. It can get quite expensive because you're likely to need four to six sockets on the other site to achieve business continuity. It comes to around $30,000. If you compare it with the Microsoft solution, Linux solutions, this is more expensive.

When you deploy any of the software-defined data solutions you need hardware. Hardware vendors have their own appliances ready to sell. The main catch is if a customer is proposing a software-defined solution for one of their production systems, they may purchase software and hardware from different suppliers. There could be a conflict while troubleshooting a problem between the hardware and the software vendors. In the case of VMware or any of the brands, it's best for the customer to have a ready appliance, which comes from the hardware vendor with a software-defined data central software already installed. It would mean only one service provider for both hardware and software and hence no conflict.

All hardware vendors are currently offering the Software Defined Ready nodes. If we compare VSAN Ready nodes from hardware vender and customer solution based on compatible VSAN hardware and VSAN software, the overall price of VSAN ready node prices will be slightly on higher side possibly around US$5K - 10K per node. And that's the catch if the customer wants one windows services they have a pay higher cost. If you have enough expertise buying separate will save cost else go with the VSAN ready node solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Yes we tried Sangfor, Microsoft Storage Space Direct and Linux Software Defined Storage Solutions

What other advice do I have?

VMware is better for those who don't have much experience with such tools because the locally available resources are enough to handle the solution. I think the product requires an OEM approach, purchase the hardware, software, and service from one source. The footprint of the hardware vendor should be established in the country and you need to have a very good partner in place to handle the hardware requests. 

I would rate this product an 8 out of 10. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Buyer's Guide
Software Defined Storage (SDS)
June 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about VMware, Nutanix, Datera and others in Software Defined Storage (SDS). Updated: June 2022.
608,713 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Data Center Technical Support Team Lead at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Unifies all of our storage in one pool that can be located on different machines easily but it needs better reporting
Pros and Cons
  • "This is an easy-to-use product for adding flexibility to your storage solution."
  • "The performance is not as good as some competing products and reporting can be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use of the solution is to make better use of our resources.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspect of this product is unifying all of our storage in one pool that can be located on different machines easily. It is actually enhancing flexibility and scalability in the way we store data.

What needs improvement?

Performance is probably the area where VMware needs the most improvement. ScaleIO is one of the competitors for VMware Software Defined Storage. In testing, the performance is one of the places where ScaleIO was better than VMware. VMware should work more on their performance to come up to the level of their competition — in this case referring specifically to ScaleIO. This really works out to not much more than having better dashboards in the management console for performance measures.

I think it could also improve in the area of reporting. It specifically lacks executive-level reporting. So that is more levels or types of reporting and some reporting flexibility.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the product for about one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can say that in our experience the product that it is pretty much stable. We had a few hiccups to get past after the initial setup. But the issues we had were not directly related to the product alone. I can say fairly that it is 98% stable. Very good, but not perfect.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I cannot say that there is a particular number of users working directly with the product because users are not the right word for how the product is used. This product is serving and assisting the infrastructure. There is no user interaction with the system and using the product is transparent so it is not really scalable in the sense of the end-user. As the system scales, in essence, the product can as well, so that makes it scalable. Certainly, there are admins who monitor the product and administrate it. It would probably take a significant change in usage to change the number of administrators.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for the product was easy and straightforward. It was not complicated at all. 

What about the implementation team?

It was actually installed by the vendor itself. We were there when it was done and as we watched we could see it was obviously easy to do.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

This is one of the more expensive products for this type of solution on the market. The VMware line, in general, is expensive products. The high cost is why some people are running away to use different, less expensive solutions even if that means having fewer features. For some companies, it is more important just to save some money and have basic functionality.

What other advice do I have?

The product is user-friendly from an administrative standpoint and very easy to use. On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this VMware product as a seven out of ten. It is a seven and not an eight or nine because of the points which should be improved in the future like performance or added dashboard options and adding executive-level reporting and flexibility. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.