This topic provides a checklist of software and hardware requirements for creating a Virtual SAN cluster. You can also use the checklist to verify that the cluster meets the guidelines and basic requirements.

Requirements for Virtual SAN Cluster

Before you get started, verify specific models of hardware devices, and specific versions of drivers and firmware in the VMware Compatibility Guide Web site at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php. The following table lists the key software and hardware requirements supported by Virtual SAN.

Caution:

Using uncertified software and hardware components, drivers, controllers, and firmware might cause unexpected data loss and performance issues.

Table 1. Virtual SAN Cluster Requirements

Requirements

Description

ESXi Hosts

  • Verify that you are using the latest version of ESXi on your hosts.

  • Verify that there are at least three ESXi hosts with supported storage configurations available to be assigned to the Virtual SAN cluster. For best results, configure the Virtual SAN cluster with four or more hosts.

Memory

  • Verify that each host has a minimum of 8 GB of memory.

  • For larger configurations and better performance, you must have a minimum of 32 GB of memory in the cluster. See Designing and Sizing vSAN Hosts.

Storage I/O controllers, drivers, firmware

  • Verify that the storage I/O controllers, drivers, and firmware versions are certified and listed in the VCG Web site at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php.

  • Verify that the controller is configured for passthrough or RAID 0 mode.

  • Verify that the controller cache and advanced features are disabled. If you cannot disable the cache, you must set the read cache to 100 percent.

  • Verify that you are using controllers with higher queue depths. Using controllers with queue depths less than 256 can significantly impact the performance of your virtual machines during maintenance and failure.

Cache and capacity

  • Verify that Virtual SAN hosts contributing storage to the cluster must have at least one cache and one capacity device. Virtual SAN requires exclusive access to the local cache and capacity devices of the hosts in the Virtual SAN cluster. They cannot share these devices with other uses, such as Virtual Flash File System (VFFS), VMFS partitions, or an ESXi boot partition.

  • For best results, create a Virtual SAN cluster with uniformly configured hosts.

Network connectivity

  • Verify that each host is configured with at least one network adapter.

  • For hybrid configurations, verify that Virtual SAN hosts have a minimum dedicated bandwidth of 1 GbE.

  • For all-flash configurations, verify that Virtual SAN hosts have a minimum bandwidth of 10 GbE.

For best practices and considerations about designing the Virtual SAN network, see Designing the Virtual SAN Network and Networking Requirements for Virtual SAN.

Virtual SAN and vCenter Server Compatibility

Verify that you are using the latest version of the vCenter Server.

License key

  • Verify that you have a valid Virtual SAN license key.

  • To use the all-flash feature, your license must support that capability.

  • To use advanced features, such as stretched clusters or deduplication and compression, your license must support those features.

  • Verify that the amount of license capacity that you plan on using equals the total number of CPUs in the hosts participating in the Virtual SAN cluster. Do not provide license capacity only for hosts providing capacity to the cluster. For information about licensing for Virtual SAN, see the vCenter Server and Host Management documentation.

For detailed information about Virtual SAN Cluster requirements, see Requirements for Enabling Virtual SAN.

For in-depth information about designing and sizing the Virtual SAN cluster, see the VMware Virtual SAN Design and Sizing Guide.