vSAN is the preferred principal storage type for VMware Cloud Foundation. It is an enterprise-class storage integrated with vSphere and managed by a single platform. vSAN is optimized for flash storage and can non-disruptively expand capacity and performance by adding hosts to a cluster (scale-out) or by adding disks to a host (scale-up).

vSAN is typically used as principal storage, however it can be used as supplemental storage in a cluster when HCI Mesh is implemented.

Storage Type

Consolidated Workload Domain

Management Domain

VI Workload Domain









Prerequisites for vSAN Storage

To create a VI workload domain that uses vSAN as principal storage you must ensure the following:

In some instances SDDC Manager may be unable to automatically mark the host disks as capacity. Follow the Mark Flash Devices as Capacity Using ESXCLI procedure in the vSAN Planning and Deployment Guide.

Procedures for vSAN Storage

vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA)

For more information on vSAN ESA, see https://core.vmware.com/blog/introduction-vsan-express-storage-architecture and vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

To use vSAN ESA, you need:

  • A direct or proxy internet connection OR vSAN HCL JSON file downloaded onto Cloud Builder
    Note: SDDC Manger will keep the HCL file updated if it has direct or proxy internet connection.
  • ESXi host disks to support vSAN ESA
  • To enable vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA), you must have a vLCM image to manage clusters.