Sometimes in IT, when you are the infrastructure person in the company, you may spot a product or a solution that could be a good fit internally, or for a customer. Not only will this help you learn something new, but could bring a genuine benefit to the business or customer.
Sometimes we are too scared to build our case for why we think it should be implemented. What if it goes wrong? Luckily I work for a great company, where there is no blame culture, and we are encouraged to suggest and try new things.
I was at work one day and we were discussing storage expansion for a large customer (14x ESXi hosts across 2 sites). Internally, our expertise has always been HPE-oriented, and somebody suggested a HPE MSA as a cost-effective way of expanding the storage. My suggestion was “why not use VSAN?” I then proceeded to talk about the benefits of VSAN, and performance vs cost/GB. That was the last I heard about it!
About 3 weeks later my boss says “Right, you are going to site to install drives and deploy VSAN for our customer.” I had clearly made a decent suggestion, then!
Although we support existing customers running VSAN and have installed it in the past, this particular customer is a Blue Light Service; an NHS 111 provider. VSAN would be installed directly into their brownfield environment to extend their existing storage.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a bit nervous about making this change on such a critical service. It actually forced me to brush up on VSAN, relearn everything I already knew and take a quick test drive around existing environments. But I still felt I needed a bit more help.
So, in preparation I signed into the VMware Hands-on Labs and refreshed my memory on VSAN installation specifically. It is an incredibly simple thing to do, and actually seems too good to be true.
Along came the installation day, which was a huge success and has been up and running for nearly a year now. That’s the thing with VSAN I guess, it just works!
Moral of the story is to always strive to operate outside of your comfort zone; that’s where the real fun takes place.