by Adam Armstrong

VMware Introduces VSAN For ROBO

Today VMware Inc. announced a new version of their Virtual SAN solution, a version and licensing package geared specifically for smaller environments. The new solution is VMware VSAN ROBO for remote office/branch offices. With the release of VSAN 6.1, VMware’s is releasing VSAN ROBO for locations that want all the benefits of VSAN without the three node requirement.

VSAN needs at least three nodes for fault tolerance. Where VSAN ROBO gets around this issue is by using a “witness” virtual appliance for the third node, two physical nodes are still required. The witness virtual appliance is designed with the sole purpose of providing cluster quorum services during failure events and to store witness objects and cluster metadata information. The elimination of the third node can lower costs on ROBO deployments.

Facts and requirements of VSAN Witness Virtual Appliances:

  • One witness virtual appliance is required per Virtual SAN ROBO cluster.
  • The appliance does not contribute compute nor storage resources to the cluster and it is not able to host virtual machines.
  • The witness virtual appliance is exclusively available and supported only for Virtual SAN Stretched Clusters and Virtual SAN ROBO edition.
  • Much like the Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster, the Virtual SAN ROBO edition is only capable of supporting a single failure within the cluster (FTT=1) due to the support of only three fault domains.
  • Requirements:
    • 100 Mbps connectivity (depending of the number of virtual machines this could be lower)
    • 500 milliseconds latency (1000 milliseconds RTT)
    • Layer 3 network connectivity without multicast to the nodes in the cluster

VSAN ROBO enables customers to easily deploy large a number of two node clusters that can all be centrally managed through a single vCenter Server. This along with the need for only two nodes and the simply configuration wizard add up to lower customers CAPEX and OPEX while deliver the majority of benefits VSAN offers.


VSAN ROBO is available now, packaging is based on VM bundles, and licensing is based off of per VM pack size.


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