VSAN in the Home Lab


If you work with virtualization, you have probably heard a lot about VSAN from VMware.  It seems like every time you turn around, they have something to say about it’s “linear scalability” and phenomenal performance.  Now that VMware Horizon View 5.3.1 came out a couple of months ago with full support for VSAN, I think it is time to check it out in the home lab.

My lab setup is fairly simple:

Whitebox Desktop with the following-

  • Intel i5 3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core processor
  • 32GB RAM
  • 2x 500GB Western Digital 7200RPM SATA HD’s
  • 4x 128GB Kingston HyperX SSD HD’s
  •     (I picked up a SATA hot-plug 5 1/4 bay that allows me to quickly pull out SSD disks if I want)
  • Windows 8.1
  • VMware Workstation 9
  • I also have a 3-year-old ReadyNAS Duo NAS that I can use for 2TB of NFS storage.  I’d like to upgrade that to a Synology 5-drive iSCSI storage system in the next year.

With that amount of RAM, I can get three VMware ESXi 5.5 Update 1 VMs, with 8GB each, and a Windows DC and Windows Utility Server (for Dump Collector, Syslog Server) running direct on Workstation 9.

I have one of my SSD’s for my Windows 8.1 OS, and kept the other 3 disks for VSAN.  Since I only had 2 SATA disks, I decided to carve out 3-200GB disks and attach them to my ESXi VMs.  This isn’t ideal, but it will at least let me use VSAN.

The steps to get to VSAN were as follows:

  • Install a Windows 2008R2 Server and install domain services and dcpromo up
  • Install a VMware ESXi 5.5U1 VM
  • Download vCenter Server 5.5 U1a and install the C# vSphere Client
  • Configure ESXi 5.5 VM number 1 and connect it to the NAS
  • Install another Windows 2008R2 Server and install SQL Server 2008 R2.  Configure the vCenter Database and Update Manager Database (since they are both local, they can use Windows Auth).
  • Install vCenter Server 5.5 U1a on the same server in the previous step (SSO, Web Client, Inventory Service and vCenter Server)
  • Install Update Manager on the vCenter Server, pointing to your update manager SQL database.
  • Install Dump Collector and Syslog Collector on the VMware Workstation-based Windows Console Server (not required)
  • Install 2 more ESXi 5.5 U1 VMs and configure them up.  Each of the 3 VMs should have at least 3 NICs, one for mgmt/VM traffic, one for VMotion, and one for VSAN traffic.  I created 6 NICs per host.
  • Download the Heartbleed ESXi 5.5 patch, upload it to Update Manager, scan, stage and remediate!
  • The mgmt/VM traffic were on bridged NICs, and the VMotion and VSAN were on different host-only networks whose gateways were on my Windows 8.1 desktop.
  • Each ESXi server contained an 80GB SSD disk and a 200GB SATA disk on the Workstation 9 VM.  The VM also had a 4GB disk for ESXi
  • Once you created a Datacenter object, a Cluster object, and added the three ESXi 5.5 hosts to your cluster, you can turn on VSAN.  Under the Manage tab in the Cluster on your Web Client, click Edit and turn on VSAN.  NOTE:  You need to have HA turned off in your cluster to be able to turn on VSAN.  You can turn it back on afterward. (screen shot is a couple of images below)
  • Duncan Epping (www.yellow-bricks.com) has a post from early 2013 that shows how you can fake a disk to act like it is an SSD disk.  Even though my disk actually was SSD, VSAN did not recognize it as such and that is key.  His blog post is located here: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2013/01/11/faking-an-ssd-in-your-virtualized-vsphere-lab/
  • I downloaded the vSphere Management Assistant to perform the CLI commands required to allow your disks to show up as SSD.  Once it was done and I added the disks to VSAN on each host (one SSD and one SATA), it looked like this:
  • vsan-blog2

NOTE:  The below screen is where you turn on VSAN, as referenced above.

  • vsan-blog

If you have your VSAN VMKernel ports configured (similar to how you configure them for NFS, but check the VSAN checkbox instead of no checkbox for NFS) you are ready to use your VSAN datastore!


1 Comment

  1. sisluvsme

    Failed to set it. The device s IP is in the same network as the gateway, so I don t know what the issue is and I could really use a lifeline if anyone has any ideas.


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