VMware® Virtual SAN™ Stretched Cluster – Bandwidth Sizing Guidance



The purpose of this document is to explain how to size bandwidth requirements for Virtual SAN in Stretched Cluster configurations. This document only covers the Virtual SAN network bandwidth requirements.

In Stretched Cluster configurations, two data fault domains have one or more hosts, and the third fault domain contains a witness host or witness appliance. In this document each data fault domain will be referred to as a site.

Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster configurations can be spread across distances, provided bandwidth and latency requirements are met.


Streched Cluster Configuration

General Guidelines

The bandwidth requirement between the main sites is highly dependent on the workload to be run on Virtual SAN, amount of data, and handling of failure scenarios. Under normal operating conditions, the basic bandwidth requirements are:


Basic bandwidth requirements

Bandwidth Requirements Between Sites

Workloads are seldom all reads or writes, and normally include a general read to write ratio for each use case.

A good example of this would be a VDI workload. During peak utilization, VDI often behaves with a 70/30 write to read ratio. That is to say that 70% of the IO is due to write operations and 30% is due to read IO. As each solution has many factors, true ratios should be measured for each workload.

Using the general situation where a total IO profile requires 100,000 IOPS, of which 70% are write, and 30% are read, in a Stretched configuration, the write IO is what is sized against for inter-site bandwidth requirements.

With Stretched Clusters, read traffic is, by default, serviced by the site that the VM resides on. This concept is called Read Locality.

The required bandwidth between two data sites (B) is equal to Write bandwidth (Wb) * data multiplier (md) * resynchronization multiplier (mr):

B = Wb * md * mr

The data multiplier is comprised of overhead for Virtual SAN metadata traffic and miscellaneous related operations. VMware recommends a data multiplier of 1.4
The resynchronization multiplier is included to account for resynchronizing events. It is recommended to allocate bandwidth capacity on top of required bandwidth capacity for resynchronization events.

Making room for resynchronization traffic, an additional 25% is recommended.

Bandwidth Requirements Between Witness & Data Sites

Witness bandwidth isn’t calculated in the same way as inter-site bandwidth requirements. Witnesses do not maintain VM data, but rather only component metadata.
It is important to remember that data is stored on Virtual SAN in the form of objects. Objects are comprised of 1 or more components of items such as:

  • VM Home or namespace
  • VM Swap object
  • Virtual Disks
  • SnapshotsM

Objects can be split into more than 1 component when the size is >255GB, and/or a Number of Stripes (stripe width) policy is applied. Additionally, the number of objects/components for a given Virtual Machine is multiplied
when a Number of Failures to Tolerate (FTT) policy is applied for data protection and availability.

The required bandwidth between the Witness and each site is equal to ~1138 B x Number of Components / 5s.


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