Search the VMware Knowledge Base (KB)
View by Article ID

Migration from vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) to VMware vSAN (2068923)

  • 2 Ratings


This article provides information on migrating an existing VMware vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA) cluster to a VMware vSAN cluster.

VSA and vSAN are different products with different design and implementation but both share the common goal of providing shared storage without the need for an expensive SAN. Since VSA is reaching end of life by April,2014 this article was create to outline the options a customers running VSA has to migrate their exiting VSA Infrastructure to vSAN.

The article covers two possible scenarios :
  • Migration of a VSA cluster to a vSAN cluster using the same ESXi hosts
  • Migration of a VSA cluster to a vSAN cluster deployed on new hardware
Note: vSAN requires a minimum of 3 Nodes. You cannot migrate from a 2-Node VSA Cluster to a 2-Node vSAN cluster.


To migrate from VSA to vSAN, ensure that the hosts used for vSAN has all certified hardware requirements.

For information on requirements, see Requirements and considerations for the deployment of VMware vSAN (2068911).

Before you start migration, consider:
  • Ensure all physical hosts and related hardware being used to run vSAN are compatible and certified. For more information, see the VMware Compatibility Guide for VSAN.
  • Ensure that you have a full and valid backup of all virtual machines prior to performing this procedure.
  • There is no redundancy for 1 or more of your VSA datastores during this operation.
  • The single vSAN node must have necessary storage to accommodate the virtual machines to be migrated.
  • Your version of VMware vCenter Server must be version 5.5 Update 1 or later.

Migration of a VSA cluster to a vSAN cluster using the same ESXi hosts

Caution: During application of these steps, there is a period of time where there is no redundancy for one or more of your VSA datastores. Ensure that you have a valid backup of your environment before you proceed with these steps.

To migrate all existing virtual machines running on VSA to one vSAN enabled ESXi 5.5 Update 1 or later host:
  1. Open a vSphere Web client connection to your vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1. 
  2. Select one of the existing VSA node ESXi hosts as your first new vSAN host.

    Note: The single ESXi 5.5 host you nominate to be the first vSAN node must have a sufficient amount of storage to accommodate all VSA virtual machines. If all the virtual machines to be migrated must remain powered on, it is wise to choose the most powerful physical host available in the cluster.

  3. Migrate all virtual machines running on the selected host to one of the other two running VSA node ESXi hosts, except the running VSA virtual appliance.
  4. Place the the chosen VSA Node ESXi host in to Maintenance mode.

    Note: This action shuts down the virtual appliance running on that host. If this does not complete, shut down the appliance manually.

  5. Power down the ESXi host.
  6. If not already installed, insert the new vSAN certified hardware:
    • Solid State Drives (SSD)
    • Magnetic Disks(MD)
    • Storage controllers

  7. Install the physical host with the latest build of ESXi 5.5 (Update 1 or later).
  8. Configure a VMkernel Interface and IP Address on the ESXi host to be used by vSAN.

    For more information, see Configuring vSAN VMkernel networking (2058368).

  9. Configure a storage policy that contains Forced Provisioning enabled.
  10. Configure a separate VMkernel Interface for NFS and vMotion on the ESXi 5.5 host configured to run vSAN.
  11. In vCenter Server, create a new Cluster and enable vSAN.

    For more information, see Enabling or disabling a vSAN cluster (2058322).

  12. Apply the required license to the vSAN cluster.
  13. Move the newly deployed ESXi 5.5 host to the vSAN Cluster and allocate the storage (If using the manual claiming method).
  14. Ensure that the VSA NFS Datastores are correctly mounted to the new vSAN enabled ESXi 5.5 host.

    For more information, see Mounting VMware vSphere Storage Appliance NFS datastores on ESXi hosts manually (2004833).

  15. Migrate all virtual machines that are hosted on the VSA NFS Datastores to the vSAN Datastore. Choose the created storage policy where Forced Provisioning is enabled. In the vSphere Web Client, click Change both host and datastore to migrate the virtual machine, attached disks and related files.
  16. After the virtual machines are migrated, detach the VSA NFS mount from the single ESXi 5.5 vSAN enabled host.

    Warning: All virtual machines previously hosted on VSA storage are now running on the single vSAN enabled ESXi 5.5. Carefully monitor the resource usage to ensure that the production virtual machines are not negatively impacted.

  17. Place any remaining vSAN node hosts into Maintenance mode.
  18. Power down and install their  vSAN certified hardware.
  19. Repeat steps 7 to 10 to update the remaining hosts to ESXi 5.5 and configure the hosts for vSAN.
  20. Add the hosts to the vSAN cluster.
  21. Wait for data to sync to bring the virtual machines into compliance with the configured storage policy.

    Migration from VSA to VSAN is complete.

  22. Change the storage policy to disable Forced Provisioning, if necessary.

Migration of a VSA cluster to a vSAN cluster deployed on new hardware

To migrate all virtual machines from an existing VSA cluster to a new vSAN cluster, you first must create the new vSAN cluster in the same Datacentre that VSA currently resides.

To create the new vSAN cluster:
  1. Open a vSphere Web client connection to your vCenter Server 5.5 Update 1.
  2. Create and configure a new Cluster for vSAN in the same datacenter as the VSA Cluster.
  3. Mount the VSA NFS volumes to the new vSAN cluster.
  4. Migrate all virtual machines from the VSA cluster to the vSAN cluster using the option Change both host and datastore.
  5. After migrations are complete, power down the VSA virtual appliance(s). Delete them, if necessary.
  6. If there are no other virtual machines running on the VSA cluster, place the owning ESXi hosts in to maintenance mode.


Warning: The steps outlined here are potentially hazardous for your environment if they are not followed exactly. 

Additional Information

For more information on:
There are multiple methods for migrating virtual machines between hosts, including, but not limited to, Storage vMotion, XvMotion and cold migration.

You can also use VMware PowerCLI to migrate the Powered on virtual machines using these commands:

Note: For more information on VMware PowerCLI, see the VMware vSphere PowerCLI User's Guide in vSphere 5.5 PowerCLI Documentation Guide.
  1. Open the powerCLI console and connect to your vCenter Server.
  2. Use this powerCLI  script to obtain a list of VSA datastores:
     function Get-VSADatastores {
      $dsList = Get-Datastore    
      Write-Output  "VSA Datastores:"
      Write-Output "==============================================================="
      foreach ($datastore in $dsList) {
       if($datastore.type -eq "NFS"){
        if($datastore.Name.StartsWith("VSADs") -and $datastore.RemotePath.StartsWith("/exports")){
         Write-Output $datastore| select *     
         Write-Output "VMs:"
         $vms = $datastore| get-vm
         $allinfo= if($vms -ne $null){
           foreach ($vm in $vms){   
            $vm | select Name,VMHost,PowerState
         Write-Output $allinfo
         Write-Output "==============================================================="

  3. Use this powerCLI  script to obtain a list of vSAN datastores:

     function Get-VSANDatastores {
     $dsList = Get-Datastore    
     Write-Output  "VSAN Datastores:"
     Write-Output "==============================================================="
     foreach ($datastore in $dsList) {
      if($datastore.type -eq "vsan"){
       Write-Output $datastore | select * 
       Write-Output "==============================================================="

  4. You can migrate the virtual machines from VSA to vSAN datastore using this powerCLI  command:

    get-vm <name_of_vm_to_migrate> | Move-VM -destination(get-vmhost <destination_host_name_in_vsan_cluster>) -datastore (Get-Datastore <vsan_datastore_name>)

See Also

Update History

03/12/2015 - Added vSAN 6.0 to Products. 07/04/2016 - Added vSAN 6.1 and 6.2 to Products.

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


  • 2 Ratings

Did this article help you?
This article resolved my issue.
This article did not resolve my issue.
This article helped but additional information was required to resolve my issue.

What can we do to improve this information? (4000 or fewer characters)

Please enter the Captcha code before clicking Submit.
  • 2 Ratings