vSAN features by version & date

It’s sometimes quite difficult to find out when a particular feature was released, or which product version is was fist available in. I’ve encountered this a few times recently and I have to go through all the release notes to get my answers.

While doing this I put together this post to make the process easier in the future (There is nothing special here, most data is taken from the release notes). If this data is presented in a user-friendly way elsewhere, please let me know and I’ll link to it here.

So here are all the new major features of vSAN (Historically known as Virtual SAN) broken down by version and date. I have not included minor patches.

VMware vSAN 6.7 Update 3 (August 2019)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/rn/vmware-vsan-67u3-release-notes.html

  • vSAN performance enhancements
  • Enhanced capacity monitoring
  • Enhanced resync monitoring
  • Data migration pre-check for maintenance mode operations
  • Increased hardening during capacity-strained scenarios
  • Proactive rebalancing enhancements
  • Efficient capacity handling for policy changes
  • Disk format conversion pre-checks
  • Parallel resynchronization
  • Windows Server Failover Clusters (WSFC) on native vSAN VMDKs
  • Enable Support Insight in the vSphere Client
  • vSphere Update Manager (VUM) baseline preference
  • Upload and download VMDKs from a vSAN datastore
  • vCenter forward compatibility with ESXi
  • New performance metrics and troubleshooting utility
  • vSAN iSCSI service enhancements
  • Cloud Native Storage

VMware vSAN 6.7 Update 1 (October 2018)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/rn/vmware-vsan-67u1-release-notes.html

  • Guided cluster creation and extension – This is via a new quickstart wizard in the vSphere Client
  • HBA firmware update through VUM
  • Maintenance mode enhancements – vSAN now simulates a data evacuation to see if the operation will succeed beforehand
  • Historical and usable capacity reporting
  • TRIM/UNMAP for storage efficiency – Enabling vSAN to reclaim unused blocks from the Guest OS (Automatic or offline modes available)
  • Mixed MTU for witness traffic separation
  • Health check enhancements
  • Unicast network performance test
  • vRealize Operations enhancements within vCenter Server
  • In-product support diagnostics – This version introduces diagnostics to assist VMware support in resolving cases more quickly
  • Updated¬†Advanced settings

VMware vSAN 6.7 (April 2018)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.7/rn/vmware-vsan-67-release-notes.html

  • 4Kn drive support – Support for higher capacity 4k native disks
  • vSphere and vSAN FIPS 140-2 validation
  • HTML interface – Feature parity between HTML5 and flash clients
  • vRealize Operations within vCenter Server
  • Windows Server Failover Clustering support
  • Intelligent site continuity for stretched clusters
  • Witness traffic separation for stretched clusters
  • Efficient inter-site resync for stretched clusters
  • Fast failovers when using redundant vSAN networks
  • Adaptive resync for dynamic management of resynchronization traffic
  • Consolidation of replica components.
  • Host pinning for shared-nothing applications
  • Enhanced diagnostics partition (coredump) support – vSAN will automatically resize the coredump partition on USB/SD cards if there is free space.
  • vSAN destaging optimizations – Improvements in speed when writing data from the cache to capacity tiers
  • Health check additions and improvements
  • vSAN Support insight – Allows the customer to enable anonymized environmental data to be sent to VMware to assist GSS for an improved support experience.
  • Swap object thin provisioning and policy inheritance improvements – VM swap files now inherit the VM storage policy including thin provisioning

VMware vSAN 6.6.1 (July 2017)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/rn/vmware-vsan-661-release-notes.html

  • VMware Update Manager build recommendations for vSAN
  • Performance diagnostics
  • Increased support for locator LEDs on vSAN disks

VMware vSAN 6.6 (April 2017)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/rn/vmware-virtual-san-66-release-notes.html

  • Unicast support – Removes the need for multicast at the network layer
  • Encryption – Data at rest encryption supported on the vSAN datastore
  • Enhanced stretched cluster availability with local fault protection
  • Configuration Assist and Updates – This new feature checks for hardware compatibility, network and configuration issues
  • Resynchronization throttling – IOPS can be limited for cluster resync operations
  • Health service enhancements – New checks added to the health service including: Time Drift, Controller Firmware and disk balance
  • Host-based vSAN monitoring – Basic vSAN operations can be completed through the ESXi host client
  • Performance service enhancements – Introducing improved statistics management options
  • vSAN integration with vCenter Server Appliance – You can now create a vSAN cluster while deploying a VCSA, hosting the appliance on the vSAN cluster that you setup
  • Maintenance mode enhancements – Improved messaging and workflow when enabling maintenance mode on a vSAN enabled host
  • Rebalancing and repair enhancements – Disk rebalancing becomes much more efficient
  • Disk failure handling – vSAN will not mark a disk as dying if it notices sustained high latency or congestion
  • New esxcli commands – esxcli vsan health & esxcli vsan debug

VMware Virtual SAN 6.5 (November 2016)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.5/rn/vmware-virtual-san-65-release-notes.html

  • iSCSI target service
  • 2 Node Direct Connect with witness traffic separation
  • PowerCLI support
  • 512e drive support

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 (March 2016)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/rn/vmware-virtual-san-62-release-notes.html

  • Support for TLS
  • Deduplication and compression
  • RAID 5 and RAID 6 erasure coding
  • Software checksum
  • New on-disk format (v3.0) Introducing 4k block size
  • IOPS limits
  • IPv6 support
  • Space reporting
  • Health service – New health checks triggering vCenter alarms
  • Performance service – For monitoring cluster, host, VM and disk statistics
  • Write-through in-memory cache – Enabling host write through read caching to reduce IO latency

VMware Virtual SAN 6.1 (September 2015)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/rn/vmware-virtual-san-61-release-notes.html

  • Stretched clusters
  • Witness Appliance
  • On-disk format upgrades via the web client
  • Support for direct upgrades from 5.5 6.0 to 6.1
  • Integrated Health Service
  • SSD and Magnetic disk proactive isolation

VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 (March 2015)

Release notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-vSphere/6.0/rn/vmware-virtual-san-60-release-notes.html

  • New on-disk format (v2.0)
  • Hybrid and all-flash options
  • Fault domains
  • Proactive Rebalance
  • JBOD storage support
  • Disk Serviceability (Disk LED Locator)
  • Device or Disk Group Evacuation


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