Configuring a Cheaper vSAN ReadyNode

vSAN ReadyNodes are great. They provide OEM (original equipment manufacturer e.g HP, Dell/EMC and Supermicro) device(s) that have been certified to run VMware vSAN. vSAN ReadyNodes provide the most flexible server options to build Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) environments that are based on VMware vSAN.

Using vSAN ReadyNodes also makes it very easy to build an SDDC environment without spending too much time thinking about how the different components work together. But, this is as long as your budget is large enough to hand it.

Living and working in a developing country where the exchange rate is very volatile, we don’t have the luxury to afford such high-end devices. As I write this, the current exchange rate is 498 times my country’s currency. Four hundred and ninety-eight times. Yea, I said it again for emphasis.

Before we go further, here’s the link to the vSAN compatibility guide. I’ll reference it in a bit. The guide description is as follows;

The purpose of this document is to provide VMware® vSAN ReadyNode™ configurations from OEM vendors.
vSAN ReadyNode™ is a validated server configuration in a tested, certified hardware form factor for vSAN deployment, jointly recommended by the server OEM and VMware. vSAN ReadyNode™ are ideal as hyper-converged building blocks for larger data centre environments looking for automation and a need to customize hardware and software configurations

Thankfully, the vSAN ReadyNode list is just a guide. Just like with VMware’s HCL (hardware compatibility list), the devices and components that make the list are VMware’s recommendations which have been tested and certified. It does not necessarily mean that every single aspect must be exactly the same.

As an example, let’s take a look at the AF-8-DELLEMC-R640. This is an all-flash vSAN ReadyNode by DELL/EMC that utilizes the PowerEdge R640 servers. Below, is a screenshot from the compatibility guide. From there, you can see that the guide contains all the components of the node including the system, CPU type and quantity, memory modules and quantity, disk drives and so many other details.

From, we can see some other details of this node.

And calculate the capacity and memory distribution per server

If I was to buy this node, it would cost about $61,408.06 per node (this is according to the price I received from a distributor a few months ago). Since we have four nodes in this system, the total cost would be $245,632.24. This is a lot especially when I convert it to my local currency (times 498).

As I alluded to earlier, to reduce this cost, we could pick up the compatibility guide, go to the Dell website and build the node selecting the exact accessories and components that are listed in the guide.

This is what I’ve done and shown in the screenshot above. The four-node system costs $138,302.18. Compare this with the previous amount of $245,632.24. Granted, Dell offers a total savings of $81,989.82 but even if they didn’t the total amount would be $220,292.00 which is still $25,340.24 cheaper than the vSAN ReadyNode.

You can download the full specifications of what I built below to compare these specifications yourself.

Let me know your thoughts down in the comment section and I’ll see you in the next one

Disclaimer: It is recommended that you use and purchase a vSAN ReadyNode from an OEM for production environments. The steps above are not recommended officially and should be used at your own risk.

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