The VSA also enables business continuity and automated resource management capabilities, including High Availability, vMotion , which moves virtual machines from one physical server to another, and Distributed Resource Scheduler , which dynamically allocates and balances computing resources.
The VMware vSphere Storage Appliance will run as a virtual appliance on VMware vSphere, pooling server internal storage across servers to create a virtual pool of protected shared storage without the need for external storage hardware.
"Until now, customers wanting to leverage the rich high availability and automated resource management functionality enabled by VMware vSphere's resource pooling capabilities needed separate shared storage hardware, which presented a cost and complexity barrier for some SMBs," VMware stated in its announcement. "The new VMware vSphere Storage Appliance will transform server internal storage into shared pools of storage."
According to VMware, the VSA software installs with just a few mouse clicks. Along with vCenter, the VSA enables a single console view for both servers and storage.
Because it runs on multiple servers simultaneously, the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance will ensure data is available to any workload, even when one of the servers in the cluster fails.
VMware's VSA will likely compete head to head with Hewlett-Packard's own P4000 virtual SAN , which it announced last fall.
Like the VSA, the P4000 is software that can run on any physical server and creates a SAN by combining internal disk drive capacity from up to 16 virtual servers. For example, the P4000 could combine capacity from VMware and HyperV servers to create a single pool of storage managed through one UI.
Pricing for the P4000 virtual SAN appliance with HyperV capability begins at $11,700.
The VMware VSA is expected to be generally available in the third quarter for $5,995. In the third quarter, VMware also will introduce a limited-time promotional offering for SMBs, bundling VMware vSphere 5 Essentials Plus and the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance for $7,995, which represents a 40% discount on the list price of the VSA.
EMC also said its products have been more tightly integrated with VMware's vSphere 5, its cloud operating system, which manages large pools of virtualized computing environments, including software and hardware.