Nested All Flash Virtual SAN v6 – Part 1

Having recently got my lab up and running I decided to get setup a VSAN for my storage.  My lab is fully nested and I want it to stay that way so any shared storage would be an appliance and VSAN is a perfect fit.   Version 6 now supports using SSD disks for the capacity tier, previously this had to be HDDs.  This is great for labs I dont recommend to do this in production be aware that VMware do not officially support nested ESXi and be aware of the memory requirements.  10GbE NIC is also a requirement but as this is a nested lab I can live with 1Gb.  The following will illustrate my experience.

Design document for VSAN v6 can be found here.

Administration / deployment guide can be found here.

My setup includes the following

  • 1 x ESXi 6 host (Managment Cluster)
  • 3 x ESXi 6 hosts (10GB RAM, 20GB SSD for cache, 200GB SSD for capacity)
  • vCentre 6 VA

Log onto the web client and create a new cluster – disable HA but you need DRS enabled.  Call it Prod-cluster-vsan


Add the 3 hosts into the new cluster


VSAN requires a VMkernel interface – add a new VMkernel through the web client, you dont get the option through the client.



Still in the web client browse to Clusters – Prod-cluster-vsan – Monitor – Virtual SAN.  Notice the Virtual SAN health service is disabled.  Select Enable Now


Choose OK


To manage the cluster stay in the web client Clusters – Prod-cluster-vsan – Manage.  I set up the cluster with manual disk allocation so at this point I need to add a cache disk and a capacity disk.  These can both be SSD now so that what I am going to do.  Make sure the disk have no datastore created.  SSD disks can only be assigned as cache disks by default


Notice only the cache icon is initially available and the capacity icon is grayed out.  To enable SSD for capacity first SSH onto the host and run



This will display which disk are available for VSAN, make a note of the name of the disk you want to use.  Then run the following

esxcli vsan storage tag add -d mpx.vmhba1:C0:T2:L0 -t capacityFlash

Note – Replace mpx.vmhba1:C0T2:L0 with the name of your device


Do this on all of the host then go back to the web client.  Now you can assign the disks you marked as capacity.  Add the capacity disk and the flash disk.



Now you can see on each host a new VSAN datastore


Thats it for part 1, I want dive deeper and start using / testing some of VSANs features.  I will report this in part 2

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