With the release on vSphere and vSAN v7 Update 1 came the release of a new feature called vSAN Direct. The purpose of vSAN Direct is to offer the vSAN Control Plane to data subsystems that have data resiliency features already built into the subsystem and that don't require data resiliency features from the underlying storage platform (vSAN).

Let's use Minio as an example. Before vSAN Direct you would install Minio in either VMs or containers and place them on a datastore that provided data resiliency through vSAN's Failure to Tolerate (FTT) feature while at the same time Minio provided data resiliency features as well. This would utilize 2x or more storage capacity than was actually required to provide enough resiliency for your data. For our customers, this created unneeded cost and capacity concerns within their organization so we wanted to help solve that problem.

And that is where vSAN Direct came from. With vSAN Direct we don't double up on resiliency because the data subsystem (Minio in our example) already provides that service.

To enable vSAN Direct we need some unclaimed disks on each host within a vSAN cluster and the cluster must be licensed for vSAN.

Next, we claim the unused disks within the vSAN cluster and in the Claim For drop down we select vSAN Direct and click Create.

Once all of the disks have been added we need to create a VM storage policy that will allow the use of the vSAN Direct disks we just claimed.  Switch over to the Policies and Profiles view and let's create a new VM storage policy.

Once the wizard has started, give the policy a name (e.g. vSAN Direct) and click Next. Select the Enable tag based placement rules check box and click Next.

In the Tag category drop down select vSANDirectStorage. Click Browse Tags and select the vSANDirect tags. Click OK. Click Next.

Review the Storage compatibility window and ensure that all of the devices you want to use for vSAN Direct are listed and click Next. Review and click Finish.

Now you're ready to go and vSAN Direct is available for you to enable Supervisor Services to utilize the vSAN Direct storage. Unfortunately, today we don't have any partners shipping GA code to utilize the vSAN Direct feature but Dell, Minio, Cloudian and Datastax have solutions in our labs and should be releasing their services soon so stay tuned.