vSAN 8 ESA on Minisforum MS-01


To install the new vSAN 8 ESA (Express Storage Architecture) on Minisforum MS-01, it is required to have NVMe disks only as internal storage in the hosts.

Checking the hardware compatibility of Minisforum MS-01 used as hypervisor, prerequisites are not 100% met (it complains about NVMe disks) but enough to finalize the installation.

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For this deployment, three Minisforum MS-01 with CPU i9-12900H and 64GB RAM per node have been used.

Before turning on vSAN 8 ESA, make sure your Physical adapters are properly connected.

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In the Distributed Switch (or Virtual Switch) configure a dedicated vSAN portgroup to handle vSAN traffic. The vSAN traffic uses the 10 Gbit/s NIC provided by the Minisforum MS-01.

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Turn on vSAN 8 ESA on Minisforum MS-01

To configure vSAN 8 ESA, you need to first select the vSphere cluster then go to Configure > vSAN > Services section. Keep in mind if HA is enabled, vSAN cannot be turned on. Click Go to HA Settings link to disable the service.

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When the HA service is disabled, vSAN can be turned on.

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vSAN provides multiple deployment options:

  • vSAN HCI - this is the traditional deployment where compute and storage resources are aggregated in the same hosts that comprise the vSAN HCI cluster.
  • vSAN Compute Cluster - this topology (formerly referred to as HCI Mesh) provides compute resources only to vSAN Max clusters in the same data center and from remote vCenters.
  • vSAN Max - this topology provides storage resources only (not compute resources) to one or more vSphere clusters in the same data center and from remote vCenters.

From Configure > vSAN > Services section, select vSAN HCI as configuration type and Single site vSAN cluster as topology (you need at least three nodes available for this configuration). Click Configure.

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Enable the vSAN ESA switch to leverage vSAN 8 ESA capabilities and click Next.

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If vSAN encryption is not a requirement, click Next.

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Detected NVMe disks are listed as incompatible since they are not in the HCL (this is a lab environment). Manually claim the disks. When NVMe disks have been claimed, click Next to continue with the configuration.

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If you don't need to define fault domains, click Next.

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Click Finish to turn on vSAN 8 ESA.

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The cluster is being created.

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You can check the process status in the Recent Tasks section.

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After a few minutes, the vSAN is configured successfully.

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Also the Skyline Health is almost perfect.

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There is only a warning related to unsupported NVMe disks, but that’s to be expected. You can safely click Silence Alert.

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vSAN 8 ESA is now configured in the VMware environment. Remember to re-enable the HA service.


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