VMworld 2019: Where Disaggregation meets Hyperconverged Infrastructure

On August 23rd 2019, 23,000 technology professionals flocked to San Francisco’s Moscone Center, grateful to be far from Las Vegas and prepared to ‘Make a Mark’ at this year’s VMworld. 

Among the major announcements from VMware’s new Hybrid Cloud Platform to Dell Technologies advancements to support VMware Pivotal Container Service (PKS). And there also was a demonstration of ‘Disaggregated vSAN Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI)’.

As the push for digital transformation drives the adoption of more agile infrastructure, HCI will capture a 50% increase in the share of workloads while traditional infrastructure adoption will fall by 13% over the next three years, according to a recent 451 research voice of the enterprise report.

*Image Source: VMworld 2019, Showcase Keynote: HCI – The Foundation of your Future-proof Infrastructure (HCI3551KU), John Gilmartin, GM and SVP, Hyperconverged Infrastructure, VMware

VMware vSAN powers VMware’s HCI solutions and pools direct-attached storage devices across a cluster to create distributed shared data. It’s an enterprise class solution that enables more than 20,000 customers to consolidate infrastructure and lower TCO. However, there is a limitation today: storage and compute must be scaled in lockstep within vSAN which leads to stranded capacity and underutilized infrastructure.

The main challenges to overcome are: 

Scalability: limited storage expansion due to the available drive slots on the host

Growth: costly and inefficient methods for adding hosts to grow storage capacity

Efficiency: stranded storage capacity resulting from imbalances between different vSAN clusters

That is until Disaggregated HCI. 

Now, you’re probably thinking what the heck does that marketing buzz word oxymoron mean? “Disaggregation” and “hyperconverged infrastructure” typically don’t go together.

Well, when the proven vSAN HCI technology combines with Lightbits’ high performance NVMe/TCP disaggregation technology, vSAN clusters can use shared remote pools of NVMe SSDs to scale storage and compute independently. So it’s disaggregated storage but it works within an HCI model. 

Additionally, the integrated solution provides the advantages of vSAN flexibility, feature set, and integration with vSphere together with Lightbits’ benefits of improved resource utilization (storage and compute), higher flash endurance, and performance that is indistinguishable from local SSDs. 


This vSAN-Lightbits solution allows flexibility of seamlessly running vSAN clusters on pure diskless compute nodes alongside hybrid nodes, with both local and remote storage, in a single environment.

Ultimately users gain all the benefits of disaggregation: better utilization, lower TCO, and greater flexibility, all within the goodness of vSAN and vSphere.

Watch the video below to see the demonstration in action live from VMworld or read the press release to learn more.


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