VMware vSAN and VMware Cloud on AWS – the sustainable transition for your datacenter

May 11, 2022

We often hear that the world needs to make a fast and reliable transition to a more efficient, and sustainable economy. Sustainability has long been a core value for VMware, which powers the world’s complex digital infrastructure. We as a company have achieved our 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals ahead of schedule.

VMware’s entire business is created around the aim of simplifying and optimizing the use of hardware.  Its software products are made with the sustainable idea in mind - they remove the need for an excessive amount of hardware purchases and optimize the use of the existing hardware in the customer’s datacenter.

VMware provides a variety of resources and tools to ultimately reduce the environmental impact of the world’s datacenters. Since 2003, VMware’s product portfolio has helped our customers avoid over 1.2 billion tons of CO2. In this article, we will examine how we achieve this by focusing on two of the company’s valuable solutions in terms of sustainability – VMware vSAN™ and VMware Cloud™ on AWS.  

vSAN – the VMware HCI solution for virtualized storage

vSAN introduces simplicity and flexibility by combining locally installed disks within ESXi hosts and aggregating the capacity across a cluster, thus creating a shared data pool for workloads and modern applications. This approach removes the need for external storage products (i.e. FC-SAN, iSCSI, NFS). Hence it critically reduces the amount of storage hardware deployed in the datacenters.

Other sustainability benefits from using VMware vSAN:

  •  Right sizing strategy guided by the vSAN Ready Node Program and HCI Assessment results in an additional reduction of hardware.
  •  Increased platform consolidation vs traditional SAN-based approaches using more energy-efficient and higher-performing devices.
  •  Reduction of data capacity requirements using vSAN features such as Thin provisioning, Compression, Deduplication, and Erasure coding.
  • Optimizing the use of stranded compute or storage capacity by enabling HCI Mesh.
  • Optimization of the capacity reservations used for vSAN operations and host rebuild processes.
  •  Continual improvement opportunity, vSAN integration with built-in vRealize Operations dashboards provide reclaim insight across the vSAN powered storage platform. Using this information storage policy-based management can be leveraged to safely transform policies to reclaim as businesses and data usage changes.

“…The more pervasive the vSAN deployment, the greater the avoidance of external networked storage arrays. For example, in just three short years (2014–2016), servers deployed with VMware vSAN were equivalent to almost 4.5% of all midranges networked storage system units shipped during the same period. The hyperconverged infrastructure portion of these two new markets is further along in its life cycle.”, citation from “Data Center Energy and Carbon Emission Reductions Through Compute, Storage, and Networking Virtualization”, created by IDC.

CO2 emissions avoided thanks to VMware

Fig.1 An IDC graphic, showing the CO2 emissions avoided thanks to VMware’s products.

VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware Cloud on AWS brings VMware’s enterprise-class Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) software to the AWS Cloud. It encompasses the three infrastructure software pieces that VMware is known for: vSphere, NSX and vSAN. vSphere provides virtualization of compute, NSX is virtualization of the network, and vSAN virtualizes storage.

“The results of a study by 451 Research show that AWS’s infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of the surveyed U.S. enterprise data centers. More than two-thirds of this advantage is attributable to the combination of a more energy efficient server population and much higher server utilization. AWS data centers are also more energy efficient than enterprise sites due to comprehensive efficiency programs that touch every facet of the facility.” Source: The Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to Amazon Web Services, Oct 2019, 451 Research, AWS commissioned research by 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, LLC.

With the unique capabilities of the AWS Cloud and VMware’s sustainable hardware optimization - VMware Cloud on AWS enables customers to achieve greater reductions of their carbon footprint. Let’s examine the following customer case where the customer needs to evacuate the on-premises datacenter because the support contract for the hardware and facilities lease contract for the building is expiring. The table below provides a quick comparison of certain sustainable indicators for the On-Premises Datacenter vs VMware Cloud on AWS Software Defined Datacenter.


On-Premises Datacenter

VMware Cloud™ on AWS Software Defined Datacentre

Server Count:

43 Servers

23 ESXi Hosts

Hardware Platform:


Amazon EC2 i3.metal

CO2 Emissions:

135 kg/hour

16 kg/hour

Sustainability benefits from VMware Cloud on AWS include:

• Reduction of hardware by leveraging the consolidation benefits of VMware vSphere, running on the latest AWS hardware, coupled with the on-demand scaling of compute resources in minutes on average. Rapid scalability avoids unused capacity and enables the provisioning of resources when needed.

• Increase power usage effectiveness through a cloud provider that uses world-class facility designs, cooling systems, and workload-optimized equipment1.

• A less carbon-intense power mix According to a 451 Research study, moving on-premises workloads to AWS can lower the workload carbon footprint by 88% for the median surveyed US enterprise data centers and 72% on average for the top 10% most efficient enterprises

The path to even greater achievements

Data centers have great potential for reducing the overall electricity consumption, and they can even switch to entirely renewable resources only with minimal infrastructure investment. Therefore, VMware is always searching for new, cost-effective ways to help our customers achieve their environmental goals by providing them with highly efficient and performant software.

Filter Tags