Part 2 – VSAN Lab Setup

In this post, I am going to show you how to setup VSAN in lab. From my post on VSAN, it is required to have at least 3 ESXi hosts and each host contributing atleast one cache and capacity disk. I have three ESXi hosts in my lab setup configured with required disks, and hosts are part of HA,DRS enabled cluster.

In case you do not have SSD available for the setup, use the existing HDD and emulate to Flash disk. Select the HDD you want to mark as Flash and click on the green F on top as shown below. Click Yes for the pop up. And you should now see the HDD showing up as Flash.


VSAN needs a VMkernel interface designated for VSAN traffic, since creating a VMkernel port on each host is time taking, i am gonna create a distributed switch and create VMkernel port group on that and configure it with VSAN traffic. Follow my previous blog post on  vDS creation here. You would need to select VSAN instead of vMotion. Here is my overall topology after configuring the VMkernel interfaces designated for VSAN on the vDS.


Now that we have the VMkernel network and the storage devices available, lets enable VSAN on the cluster. Turn off HA and DRS on the cluster, we can turn them on back once VSAN is setup. Under the Manage tab of the cluster, select the Virtual SAN section and on the right side of the pane, click on the configure button, which brings up another window.


On the configure screen, set the Add disks to storage as Manual, we can do this later. Leave the other configurations as it is and click on Next. We shall discuss those other options in a separate post.

Note: If the Disk Claiming is set to Manual, when a  new storage device is added to the VSAN cluster, we need to add the disk to a disk group manually; incase of Automatic, disks are claimed by DiskGroups automatically.


Now, on the network validation screen, you should automatically see the VMkernel adapters that we created for VSAN traffic. If you see all greens, hit Next.


The next screen helps us pick the disks for VSAN, use the drop down against the disks to choose between cache tier and capacity tier. In a Hybrid vsan setup, you will not be able to choose magnetic disks as cache.

2016-07-21 16_11_51-vSphere Web Client

Review the settings on the Next screen and hit Finish. A minimum of 6GB RAM is needed for the VSAN configuration task to complete. I have overcommited my ESXi hosts on my lab setup to get going. Once the configuring VSAN task is complete, turn on HA and DRS back. You should now see a vsanDatastore connected to all hosts. Notice that vsaDatastore doesn’t use VMFS but has a On-Disk Format file system. vSphere 6.2 comes with version 3



That completes the basic setup of the VSAN.

Hope this was informative. Thanks!

Part 1 – Introduction to VSAN

Part 2 – VSAN Lab Setup

Part 3 – Upgrade On-Disk Format Version – VSAN

Part 4 – Disk Groups and vsanDatastore – VSAN

Part 5 – Storage Providers and Policies – VSAN

Part 6 – Space Efficiency Techniques – VSAN

Part 7 – Using esxcli commands – VSAN


#diskgroups, #homelab, #vsan, #vsan-vmkernel