vsan replacement case studies

In our previous blog “The Ultimate Guide to Cope with VMware’s Simplified Portfolio and Licensing Model”, we provided multiple strategies for reducing VMware dependency. One possible solution for VMware HCI users (i.e., those using vSphere and vSAN) is to replace vSAN with alternative HCI storage solutions. 

Featuring robust distributed storage, SmartX HCI has become the top pick for enterprises across various industries including financial services (FSI), healthcare, and manufacturing, to replace vSAN and even gradually transition away from VMware HCI entirely. 

In this blog, we will share four case studies of FSI, healthcare, and manufacturing enterprises that successfully replaced vSAN and VMware HCI with SmartX HCI solutions.

vSAN Replacement: Using SmartX HCI for Higher Storage Performance and Stability

vSAN 7 and its previous versions have encountered several challenges in supporting high-performance applications. For instance, vSAN 7 employs separate cache spaces for data read and write operations, which can lead to issues like low cache utilization and cache breakdown, subsequently causing performance degradation. Consequently, some enterprise customers operating mission-critical applications with demanding I/O requirements have transitioned from vSAN to SmartX HCI to achieve superior storage performance and stability.

Click here to learn more about vSAN’s cache breakdown issues and how SmartX HCI avoids this drawback. 

A Case Study of an FSI Company

As a long-time user of VMware HCI, an FSI company initially intended to deploy vSAN 7 to support the Oracle Data Warehouse and BI system in their production environment. However, during testing of vSAN’s ability to process full-batch data, it experienced a cache breakdown within just 10 minutes. This resulted in a noticeable drop in storage performance, affecting the VMs of other business systems. To address the cache breakdown issue, data had to be limited, which unfortunately led to decreased data processing efficiency and ultimately a failed test.

In contrast, after switching from vSAN to SmartX HCI (while maintaining VMware virtualization), the risk of cache breakdown was effectively mitigated, and the data warehouse batch run time was reduced by approximately 42% (from 8.5 hours to under 5 hours). Currently, the company has deployed SmartX HCI to create an all-flash active-active cluster for their Oracle Data Warehouse in the production environment, delivering high performance and stability across multiple database systems.

VMware HCI Replacement: Using SmartX HCI to Reduce VMware Dependency Step by Step

Some enterprises also choose to replace VMware HCI (vSphere plus vSAN) with SmartX HCI. These enterprises typically adopt a phased approach, gradually replacing VMware HCI after examining the reliability and stability of SmartX HCI in the production environment.

Replacing vSAN First, then vSphere: A Case Study of a Healthcare Institute

Dedicated to modernizing its IT infrastructure, a Grade 3A provincial hospital in China, specializing in the integration of Chinese and Western medicine, successfully completed the replacement of vSAN and VMware HCI through a two-step process:

  1. Initially, the hospital deployed SmartX’s distributed block storage ZBS alongside the VMware hypervisor on the same node, creating a hyperconverged solution. In this step, vSAN was replaced with SmartX HCI storage, with the SmartX HCI cluster supporting all core business systems and databases except HIS. This approach allowed the hospital to retain vSphere as the core virtualization platform while delivering superior performance and stability compared to vSAN for its applications.
  2. Following a thorough performance and stability examination of SmartX HCI, the hospital decided to fully transition to SmartX HCI, including adopting SmartX’s native hypervisor ELF to support its new data center. This shift to SmartX HCI was more cost-effective compared to the VMware solution due to the avoidance of vSphere license fees. As part of its future plans, the hospital intends to further reduce its dependency on VMware by replacing its current VMware virtualization with SmartX HCI.

Replacing vSphere First, then vSAN: A Case Study of a Manufacturing Company

An established manufacturer of industrial trucks also used SmartX HCI to replace VMware virtualization and VMware HCI in the production environment in phases. 

The company originally relied on “VMware virtualization + centralized storage” architecture and VMware HCI clusters in its production environment. Concerned about VMware’s recent changes in subscription models and product offerings, the company began exploring alternatives to VMware and ultimately chose SmartX HCI as its solution.

  1. Firstly, the user built a new SmartX HCI cluster (based on ELF virtualization) to support their post-sales service system. After six months of stable operation, the user became convinced of SmartX HCI’s performance, stability, and reliability.
  2. Next, the company replaced VMware virtualization with SmartX HCI (based on ELF), supporting critical applications like MES and WMS alongside their respective databases.
  3. With a focus on reducing VMware licensing costs, specifically vSAN expenses, the user continued replacing VMware HCI clusters in the production environment with SmartX HCI, supporting the finance system.

So far, the company has been more than satisfied with the overall performance and reliability of all SmartX HCI clusters.

One-Stop Replacement of VMware HCI: A Case Study of Jinjiang Finance

The Finance Company of Jinjiang International Group (referred to as Jinjiang Finance) simultaneously replaced vSphere and vSAN with SmartX HCI.

Initially, Jinjiang Finance used physical servers and VMware HCI clusters to support business systems in the production environment. However, issues such as complex vSAN software upgrades and prolonged fault recovery times disrupted normal business operations. To address these challenges, the company introduced SmartX HCI (leveraging ELF virtualization) into the production environment, specifically to support data warehouses and critical business systems.

After six months of operation, the company gained confidence in SmartX HCI’s performance and stability. Consequently, the company employed the SMTX migration tool to migrate more than 100 VMs from the VMware HCI to the ELF-based SmartX HCI cluster. Remarkably, the migration was completed within a week without any disruption to normal businesses.

Currently, the SmartX HCI cluster has been consistently delivering high-performance support for user’s mission-critical applications, databases (including Oracle and MySQL), middleware (Nginx, JDK, Redis, etc.), and other essential applications for nearly a year.

For more information on VMware replacement, please visit our solution webpage, and read our previous blogs:

The Ultimate Guide to Cope with VMware’s Simplified Portfolio and Licensing Model

Three Performance Comparisons Disclose Why You Should Choose SmartX HCI as a VMware Alternative

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