VSAN Easy Install

First Published On: 04-11-2017
Last Updated On: 05-02-2018

An Introduction to Easy Install

Deploying VMware vSAN is not a difficult task. The vSAN Cluster Wizard is one of the workflows included in configuring a vSAN as a part of a vSphere Cluster. To use this wizard, some tasks had to accomplished beforehand as prerequisites of vSAN. These tasks were accomplished by vCenter:

    1. A Datacenter had to be created
    2. A Cluster had to be created
    3. Hosts had to be added to the cluster
    4. A VMkernel port had to be added to each host for vSAN communications
    5. A VMkernel port had to be added to each host for vMotion communications
    6. vSAN could then be enabled.To accomplish these tasks, vCenter had to already be installed somewhere.
In environments where vCenter (Windows or VCSA) already existed, it was not difficult. In “greenfield” deployments it was a bit more challenging. There were a couple methods for “bootstrapping” a VCSA to accomplish this task of getting vCenter running on top of the vSAN datastore it was managing.

Pre-Easy Install

Before Easy Install, there were a couple mechanisms to bootstrap the VCSA onto a vSAN installation.

Method 1 – Using a Temporary Datastore

Virtualization administrators familiar with Storage vMotion are aware that a virtual machine, or VCSA appliance in this case, can be Storage vMotioned to the vsanDatastore after being installed on a traditional VMFS volume. This process is traditionally called using a “Transfer datastore” or a “swing datastore.” The steps to use this method include:
  • Create a local VMFS datastore on the first host
  • Deploy the VCSA to the temporary datastore
  • Create a vSAN Cluster, including the first host
  • Add two or more additional ESXi hosts to the vSAN Cluster
  • Ensure vSAN networking is in place for all hosts and they are communicating properly
  • Storage vMotion the VCSA to the vSAN Datastore
  • Destroy the local VMFS datastore on the first host, ensuring no partitions remain on the device (vSAN doesn’t work with VMFS partitions)
  • Add a disk group on the first host
This process isn’t complicated, but is a bit transient. The transfer or swing datastore only serves the purpose of allowing the VCSA to be configured and then ultimately moved to the vSAN datastore. William Lam posted this method on virtuallyghetto.com in 2013.
http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/09/how-to-bootstrap-vcenter-server-onto.html

Method 2 – Manually Creating the vSAN Datastore

This method is a bit more complicated. An alternative to using a temporary datastore, is manually setting up a vSAN datastore on the first host as a target for the deployment of the VCSA. The process is as follows:
  • Install ESXi 6.x on physical hosts.
  • Because the vSAN default policy requires includes a Failure Tolerance Method of Mirroring and a Number of Failures to Tolerate of 1, the only way to deploy to a vSAN cluster with a single node, is to modify the default Storage Policy to allow for forced provisioning. The following command will need to be run on the first host: For virtual disks: esxcli vsan policy setdefault –c vdisk –p “((\”hostFailuresToTolerate\” i1) (\”forceProvisioning\” i1))” For the VM namespace: esxcli vsan policy setdefault –c vmnamespace –p “((\”hostFailuresToTolerate\” i1)(\”forceProvisioning\” i1))”
  • Now a vSAN cluster must be created. This is done from the ESXi console using the command: esxcli vsan cluster new
  • At least a single disk group must be created using the following command: esxcli vsan storage add -s SSD-DISK-ID -d HDD-DISK-ID Device ID’s can be listed using: esxcli storage core device list A disk group can be created with multiple capacity devices like this: esxcli vsan storage add –s SSD-DISK-ID –d HDD-DISK1-ID –d HDD-DISK2-ID –d HDD-DISK3-ID
  • The VCSA installer can be used to deploy the VCSA to the first host with the manually created vsanDatastore.
  • Once the VCSA has been deployed, a Datacenter has to be created, a Cluster (with vSAN enabled) and the first host added.
  • Additional hosts can then be added, as well as vSAN networking
As can be easily seen, the manual method it a bit more complex. William Lam posted this method on virtuallyghetto.com in 2013.
http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2013/09/how-to-bootstrap-vcenter-server-onto_9.html

Easy Install using the VCSA Installer for vSAN 6.6

Easy Install takes the effort out of installing the VCSA on a standalone host and enabling vSAN for a larger deployment.
With the introduction of vSAN 6.6, installation of the VCSA to a brand new, “greenfield” vSAN cluster is very simple using the Easy Install method.

The Easy Install method is only available when connecting the VCSA installer to an ESXi host that has vSAN 6.6 preinstalled. Hosts that have previous builds of ESXi will not be presented the option of creating a vSAN datastore.

When presented with the “Select datastore” wizard, “Install on a new vSAN cluster containing the target host” is an alternate option to installing on an existing datastore.

Download VSAN 6.6_Easy Install.

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