Right now, we have two physical ESXi (5.1) servers, each with a RAID 10 array of physical disks; currently, we're using one of these as the primary datastore for the virtual machines that reside on that host (ESX-1). Host #2 (ESX-2) is part of the cluster, but there are no virtual machines residing on the local data store.

We'd like to start using the vSphere Virtual Storage Appliance, but not clear on what happens to the physical storage and if we can add one logical disk to the VSA cluster at a time, i.e.:


  • keep local data store as-is with running production VMs on the local datastore.


  • setup VSA, consume local storage as first node in cluster;
  • copy virtual machines from ESX-1's non-clustered local datastore to ESX-2's VSA-configured local datastore;
  • fire up machines, which should now be running on ESX-2's VSA storage.
  • add ESX-1 as second node along with local storage;
  • redundant, two-node configuration of VSA completed.

If I had temporary storage quick enough to run a dozen VMs I would do that without question, but I don't (besides an iSCSI-enabled, dual GbE SATA-based Netgear NAS, but me thinks that would be terribly slow), so I'm wondering if I can add each node separately or will the install bork if it doesn't see at least two storage volumes being added.

So to sum it up, can you run VSA on one logical storage volume (i.e. one node)?


So VMware refers to this as a brownfield VSA deployment.

This is covered in detail in a blog post and accompanying video tutorial.

Yes, it is possible, but run through the steps that VMware outline and see if makes sense with your setup.

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    Sounds kind of frightening to be honest. Have you attempted this at all? – gravyface Aug 22 '13 at 17:12
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    @gravyface I was considering it just to test the VSA... but I'm honestly afraid of the VMware VSA and all of its restrictions. – ewwhite Aug 22 '13 at 17:13
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    Yeah, definitely not my first choice but dealing with mountain of poor hardware decisions and trying to make the best of it. – gravyface Aug 22 '13 at 18:59

This sounds like a a great idea but in practice you need the VSA cluster up and running, i.e. at least two VSA VMs running on separate hosts, before you can run VMs from it - so in you scenario you'd need three servers not two. Sorry.

Could you not shutdown the VMs, save them as a vApp to a USB connected cheapo disk attached to the vCenter, setup the VSA cluster on both hosts then import the vApp onto the VSA-based disks? Slow I know but workable.

  • Either that or prosumer NAS... – gravyface Aug 21 '13 at 21:01

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