VMware VSAN is finally ready for the flash-enabled data center.

Nearly two years ago, amid the software-defined storage (SDS) craze that gripped the industry, VMware made a big splash by finally shipping its Virtual SAN (VSAN) product. Today, VMware announced a major update to the platform that enables IT administrators to optimize flash storage capacity and deliver predictable performance to their business applications.

VMware VSAN 6.2, announced today, now offers data deduplication and compression, two increasingly must-have capabilities as enterprises storage systems absorb vast amounts of data generated by business applications, mobile devices, and soon, the Internet of Things. Combined, the technologies can provide a data reduction rate of 7x with little processor and memory overhead, VMware claims.

New quality-of-service capabilities offer performance monitoring and management tools. Storage administrators can keep an eye on the input/output operations per second (IOPS) consumed by each virtual machine and tune their VSAN environments accordingly. On the data protection front is erasure coding, enabling a 2x increase in usable storage capacity while safeguarding critical data.

When all is said and done, VMware claims the fourth-generation software can improve x86-based hyper-converged infrastructure storage efficiency by up to 10x and drive all-flash storage costs to as low as $1 per usable gigabyte (GB).

“This makes a Virtual SAN All-Flash HCI solution almost 50 percent less expensive than competing HCI hybrid appliances, providing you a higher-performance all-flash solution at half the price of a lower performing hybrid appliance. This is like getting a Tesla car at half the price of a Prius,” blogged Yanbing Li, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Storage and Availability division.

VMware today also offered a glimpse into VSAN’s impact on the enterprise storage software market. In the 21 months since the SDS product was released, VMware has sold VSAN to over 3,000 customers.

“VMware’s hyper-converged software is gaining customer traction due to its simple, cost-effective and high-performance architecture that enables customers to rapidly and predictably deliver infrastructure to meet business needs,” said Yanbing Li, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Storage and Availability division. “We anticipate that today’s launch of VMware Virtual SAN 6.2, which delivers up to 10x greater storage efficiency, will further accelerate customer interest in hyper-converged infrastructure powered by VMware software to build out their software-defined data centers.”

VMware Virtual SAN 6.2 is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2016. Prices starts at $2,495 per CPU while Virtual SAN for Desktop will list at $50 per user. Partner OEMs will start shipping VMware Virtual SAN Ready Nodes throughout 1H 2016. Eleven hardware vendors have hopped onboard the VSAN train so far, including Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems and Supermicro.