VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA)

  • VSA is a new product offering in vSphere 5.0
  • vSphere Storage Appliance is software that delivers shared storage capabilities without the cost and complexity of shared storage hardware
  • It installs with just a few mouse clicks and is centrally managed in VMware vCenter Server.
  • Use vSphere’s business continuity features, all without shared storage hardware.

 Key Features of vSphere Storage Appliance

  • Affordable Shared Storage –  Turns internal server storage into fully virtualized, clustered, shared and highly available datastores at a dramatically lower cost than networked, external shared storage
  • Supports up to three nodes
  • Simple installation – Fully automated installation and configuration of vCenter Server, vSphere and VMware VSA
  • Ensures correct configuration for high availability
  • Simple Administration – Tight vCenter Server integration provides simplified administration via VSA plug-in
  • Storage Resilience and Availability  – Mirrors datastores with RAID1 across nodes/RAID 10, within each node. 99.9% availability with HA.
  • Flexibility to migrate to hardware SAN – using storage vMotion.
  • Run vCenter Server separately from your VSA cluster for best protection

VSA Restrictions

  • It is a virtual NFS filer only, and not a block-level storage appliance as VMware implied.
  • NFS shares cannot be created on the VSA for the apps on the VM to access.
  • Storage only presented to the hypervisor and not the VM.
  • Does not support CIFS, ISCSI, FCOE.
  • Does not support VAAI 1.0 ( vStorage API for Array Integration)


VSA provides an alternative shared storage solution for small-to-medium business (SMB) customers who might not be in a position to purchase a SAN or NAS array for their virtual infrastructure.

  • Aimed at SMB market
  • Simple to setup
  • Resilient, has High Availability features
  • Uses NFS protocol
  • VSA pooled storage only presented to Hypervisor
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