Planning for VMware vSAN ESA

I wrote previously about some considerations for migrating from VMware vSAN Original Storage Architecture (OSA) to Express Storage Architecture (ESA). There are some additional important planning considerations for your hardware choice for vSAN ESA. Even if you are already leveraging NVMe drives using vSAN OSA, your existing hardware may not be supported for ESA. Here are some important considerations:

  • Although OSA was certified on a component level, ESA is certified at the node level using vSAN ESA ReadyNode.
  • These ReadyNode configurations are limited to newer processors.
  • The minimum ReadyNode configuration for compute is 32 cores and 512GB of memory.
  • Although vSAN ESA does not use cache drives, the minimum storage configuration for ESA is four NVMe devices per host. The minimum capacity required for each drive is 1.6TB. At the time of this writing, the largest certified drives are 6.4TB.
  • The minimum network configuration for ESA is 25GbE.
  • The use of TPM 2.0 is recommended
  • With a RAID-5 configuration (erasure coding, FTT=1) you can now deploy as few as three hosts using ESA. All other configurations have the same fixed and recommended minimums as with OSA. As always, with any FTT=1 configuration, you must perform a “full data migration” during host maintenance if you want your storage to remain resilient against host or drive loss during the maintenance window.

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