vSphere Storage Appliance Manager Installer 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1279992

vSphere Storage Appliance Automated Installer 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Build 1279992

Standalone VSA Cluster Service 5.5 | 22 Sept 2013 | Windows Build 1279860 | Linux Build 1276100

Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

Last updated: 20 Oct 2014

What's in the Release Notes

The release notes cover the following topics:

These release notes provide information about VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5, a distributed shared storage solution.

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 Features

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 provides a distributed shared storage solution that abstracts the computing and internal hard disk resources of two or three ESXi hosts to form a VSA cluster. The VSA cluster enables vSphere High Availability and vSphere vMotion.

VSA Cluster Features

A VSA cluster provides the following set of features:

  • Shared datastores for all hosts in the datacenter
  • One replica of each shared datastore
  • VMware vMotion and VMware High Availability
  • Failover and failback capabilities from hardware and software failures
  • Replacement of a failed VSA cluster member
    Note: VSA cluster member is an ESXi host with a running vSphere Storage Appliance that participates in a VSA cluster.
  • Recovery of management of an existing VSA cluster after a fatal vCenter Server failure
  • Collection of VSA cluster logs

VSA Cluster Components

  • vSphere Storage Appliance software
  • Two or three identical physical servers running ESXi
  • VMware vCenter Server
    Note: vCenter Server can be installed on a separate physical server or as a virtual machine on one of the ESXi hosts.

What's New in vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5

vSphere Storage Appliance 5.5 includes the following new features and enhancements:

  • Separate upgrades for VSA Manager and clusters. Only VSA Manager is upgraded through the installer. Update VSA Manager first, then upgrade individual clusters separately, one at a time, using the new UI based upgrade wizard.
  • Enhancements to the vSphere Web Client functionality.
  • Option to deploy VSA clusters by using a local copy of VSA system disks.

For details about new features, see the vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Administration guide at the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Documentation web page.

Installation Notes

vSphere Storage Appliance supports the VSA Manager Installer wizard and the VSA Automated Installer script as installation workflows. The following table shows a comparison of the requirements for each workflow. Read the vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Administration documentation to learn more about each workflow.

Installation Requirements VSA Manager Installer VSA Automated Installer
Hardware Requirements
Two or three servers with homogenous hardware configuration
  • CPU 64-bit x86 Intel or AMD processor, 2GHz or faster
  • Memory
    • 6GB, minimum
    • 24GB, recommended
    • 72GB, maximum tested
      Note: You can have more than 72GB memory per ESXi host as there is no memory limitation for the VSA cluster.
  • NIC 4 single-port, or 2 dual-port 1 Gigabit Ethernet NICs or 10 Gigabit Ethernet NICs, or 1 quad-port NIC (does not provide NIC redundancy)
  • RAID controller RAID controller must support RAID10, RAID6, or RAID5
  • Hard disks All disks that are used in each host must be of the same capacity and performance characteristics. The maximum number of disks per host is 28.
    Do not mix SATA and SAS disks. For possible configurations, see RAID Settings and Requirements. Although disk drive configurations with heterogeneous vendor and model combinations, drive capacity, and drive speed might work, the write I/O performance of the RAID adapter will be a multiple of the slowest drive in the RAID set, and the capacity will be a multiple of the smallest drive in the RAID set. VMware strongly recommends that you do not use hybrid disk drive configurations except where you must rebuild a RAID set after acquiring a replacement drive from the server manufacturer that differs only slightly. Substituting a smaller drive than the current minimum capacity drive will cause the RAID set rebuild to fail and is not supported.
Yes Yes
vCenter Server installed on a physical or virtual machine. You can run vCenter Server on one of the ESXi hosts in the VSA cluster. The following configuration is required for vCenter Server installation:
  • CPU 64-bit x86 Intel or AMD processor, 2GHz or faster
  • Memory and hard disk space The amount of memory and hard disk space needed depends on your vCenter Server configuration. For more details, see the vSphere Installation and Setup documentation.
  • NIC 1 Gigabit Ethernet NIC or 10 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
For VSA Manager, additional hard disk space is required:
  • VSA Manager 10GB
  • VSA Cluster Service 2GB
Yes Yes
Network Hardware Requirements and Configuration
  • Two 1 Gigabit/10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, recommended
    Note: Network configuration with two switches eliminates a single point of failure in the physical network layer
  • One 1 Gigabit/10 Gigabit Ethernet switch, minimum
  • In a VSA environment, network must operate at speeds of 1 Gigabit or higher in order to support the configuration.
Yes Yes
Static IP addresses. vCenter Server and VSA Manager do not need to be in the same subnet as VSA clusters. Members of each VSA cluster, including the VSA cluster service for a 2-member configuration, need to be in the same subnet. Yes Yes
(Optional) One or two VLAN IDs configured on the Ethernet switches Yes Yes
Software Installations
ESXi on each host Yes Yes
Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2008 64-bit installation Yes Yes
vCenter Server installed on a physical system or a virtual machine. You can run vCenter Server on one of the ESXi hosts in the VSA cluster. Yes Yes
vSphere Web Client Yes Yes

Note: The VMware Product Interoperability Matrix provides details about the compatibility of current and earlier versions of VMware vSphere Storage Appliance with ESXi and vCenter Server. For more information, see VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

See the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Administration document for more information about each workflow.

RAID Settings and Requirements

SATA Drives
SAS Drives
Not supported
The following RAID configurations show a sample of valid combinations of number of drives and maximum drive capacities for SAS disks. Capacities smaller than those shown in this sample are also supported:
  • 10 X 0.5T => 4.5T VMFS datastore
  • 8 X 0.75T => 5.25T VMFS datastore
  • 7 X 1T => 6T VMFS datastore
  • 6 X 1.5T => 7.5T VMFS datastore
  • 5 X 2T => 8T VMFS datastore
  • 3 X 3T => 6T VMFS datastore
  • 4 X 2.5T => 7.5T VMFS datastore
  • 4 X 3T => 9T VMFS datastore
Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 24T. Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 24T. This capacity maximum applies in aggregate across all VMFS datastores created on the ESXi host.
Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 8T. This is not a VMFS datastore limit, it is the limit imposed by the expected aggregate disk drive resiliency for a RAID set. Beyond this limit, the storage resiliency is below the acceptable limit.
Disk Rotational Speed
At least 7200 RPM
At least 10000 RPM
Note: For best performance, select 15000 RPM disks.

Resolved Issues

The following issues have been resolved since the release of vSphere Storage Appliance 5.1.

  • Attempts to replace a node on a brownfield configuration might leave the cluster in an inconsistent state, which would prevent the node replacement from succeeding. This issue has been fixed.

Known Issues

The known issues in this vSphere Storage Appliance release are grouped as follows:

Upgrade Issues

  • An upgrade of a VSA cluster fails when a non-default password is used
    When you use a password other than default for a VSA cluster upgrade from version 5.1.x to 5.5, your attempts to upgrade the cluster fail. An error message indicates that the cluster is unavailable.

    Workaround: Before upgrading a VSA cluster, change the password to default. You can change it back to a password of your choice after the upgrade completes.

  • After a VSA upgrade from 5.1 to 5.5, the vSphere Web Client cannot load and display the VSA 5.5 plug-in
    This problem occurs because the VSA information in the vCenter Server extension is not properly updated when you upgrade VSA Manager from version 5.1 to 5.5. The vCenter Server extension contains configuration information that the vSphere Web Client requires to pull the VSA plug-in from the VSA installation.
    This issue affects only upgrades. The following items are not impacted:
    • Fresh installation of VSA Manager 5.5
    • vSphere Client (legacy)
    • Legacy VSA web client support from 5.1

    Workaround: Update the extension information using the vCenter Server Managed object browser.

    1. In a browser, navigate to the following address and authenticate with vCenter Server credentials:
    2. Click UpdateExtension.
    3. Paste the following into the dialog box, replacing each occurrence of {VC-IP} with the appropriate value. Change the port values if non default values are used.

      <label>VSA Manager</label>
      <summary>VSA Manager</summary>
      <company>VMware, Inc.</company>

      <label>VSA Management Server</label>
      <summary>VSA Management Server</summary>
      <company>VMware, Inc.</company>

      <label>VSA Web Client</label>
      <summary>VSA Web Client</summary>
      <company>VMware, Inc.</company>



    4. Click InvokeMethod.
    5. Log into the vSphere Web Client.
      The client automatically picks up the new extension information and downloads the VSA plugin files.

vSphere Web Client Issues

  • The VSA Manager page in the vSphere Web Client might not automatically refresh as expected
    Typically, the VSA Manager page automatically retrieves and displays new information. In certain circumstances, this does not happen.

    Workaround: Manually refresh the VSA Manager page by pressing the F5 button. If this operation does not help, restart the vSphere Web Client.

  • The VSA Manager page fails to load in the vSphere Web Client
    When the VSA Manager page does not load, you might see the following error message:
    An internal error has occurred - Unable to load resource module from /vsa-ui/locales/vsa-ui-en_US.swf

    Workaround: Disable 5.5 VSA plug-in and revert to 5.1 vSphere Web Client plug-in for accessing VSA:

    1. In webclient.properties, set the following values to revert the VSA specific configuration:
    2. Delete cached vSphere Web Client data for VSA 5.5 plug-in from the following locations on the vCenter Server:
      C:\ProgramData\VMware\vSphere Web Client\vc-packages\vsphere-client-serenity
      C:\ProgramData\VMware\vSphere Web Client\catalog\VirtualCenter\5.5.0\en
    3. Restart the vSphere Web Client service on the vCenter Server.
    4. Use the 5.1 vSphere Web Client to access VSA Manager.
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