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Hardware and RAID requirements when deploying VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) (2038275)

Purpose

This article provides information about the hardware and RAID requirements when deploying the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA).

Note: For more detailed information, see the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Administration Guide and the Release Notes. The documentation contains definitive information. If there is a discrepancy between the documentation and this article, assume that the documentation is correct.

Resolution

VSA requires specific hardware and RAID combinations to function correctly.
 
Before deploying VSA in your environment, ensure that you review the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Administration Guide, specifically the Hardware Requirements for ESXi in a VSA Cluster and VSA Cluster Disk Capacity section.

If you do not follow the recommended guidelines:
  • You may experience one or more of these symptoms:

    • Slow performance of virtual machines running on the VSA clustered datastores
    • Slow replication performance
    • Failure of the VSA cluster

  • There may not be a resolution to an issue that you may experience and VMware Technical Support will only provide best effort support.

ESXi host requirements

  • The ESXi hosts must be certified for use with the version of ESXi to be deployed. For more information, see the VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • The ESXi hosts must conform to the recommended Hardware Requirements for ESXi in a VSA Cluster in the vSphere Storage Guide.
  • All ESXi hosts within the VSA Cluster must be of the same hardware specification.
  • The underlying RAID controller must be certified for use with VSA. To search for a VSA compatible RAID controller:

    1. Navigate to the VMware Compatibility Guide.
    2. Choose I/O Devices from the What are you looking for dropdown.
    3. In the features section, highlight VSA.
    4. Click Update and View Results.

RAID configurations

VSA 1.0
 
This table outlines the RAID configurations supported for a VSA 1.0 deployment. Ensure that your configuration meets these requirements. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in slower than expected performance, as well as an increase in RAID failure rate.
 
RAID level Number of drives Drive Capacity Drive Types Supported
10 8 2 TB SAS/SATA
10 4 3 TB SAS/SATA
5 4+1=5 2 TB SAS
6 4+2=6 2 TB SAS/SATA
6
4+2=6
 
Note: The maximum VSA 1.0 capacity is 8 TB. Using this specific configuration renders 4 TB unusable.
3 TB SAS/SATA
 
VSA 5.x
 
This table outlines the RAID configurations supported for a VSA 5.x deployment. Ensure that your configuration meets these requirements. Failure to follow these guidelines may result in slower than expected performance, as well as an increase in RAID failure rate. 
 
RAID level SATA drives SAS Drives
RAID 5 Not supported Note: The RAID configurations below 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.

These configurations are supported:
  • 10 X 0.5 TB = 4.5 TB VMFS datastore
  • 8 X 0.75 TB = 5.25 TB VMFS datastore
  • 7 X 1 TB = 6 TB VMFS datastore
  • 6 X 1.5 TB = 7.5 TB VMFS datastore
  • 5 X 2 TB = 8 TB VMFS datastore
  • 3 X 3 TB = 6 TB VMFS datastore
  • 4 X 2.5 TB = 7.5 TB VMFS datastore
  • 4 X 3 TB = 9 TB VMFS datastore
RAID 6
Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 24 TB.
Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 24 TB. This capacity maximum applies in aggregate across all VMFS datastores created on the ESXi host.
RAID 10
Maximum supported VMFS datastore limit per host is 8 TB. 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
  • 7200 RPM minimum required
  • 10k RPM recommended
  • Minimum 10k RPM minimum required
  • 15k RPM recommended
 
 Note: Near Line SAS drives are classed as SATA drives due to their Spindle speed and Failure Characteristics.

VSA 5.x Cluster Service

The VSA Cluster service is required for a two node cluster. If you want to install the VSA Cluster service on a system other than the vCenter Server, ensure that:

  • The hosting operating system is one of these options:
    • Windows Server 2003
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows 7
    • Red Hat Linux
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

      Note: Operating systems must be x64.
  • The physical machine has a x64 architecture. This includes small form factor PCs.

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