How to shut down a vSAN cluster – and start it again

Just a few weeks ago, to my shame, I stumbled across an interesting feature in VMware vSphere when trying some things with vSAN. To be honest, and to make it clear before we dive into this topic in this blog post: I screwed up when I tested this feature the first time. Because I didn’t know about this feature and because I didn’t proceed as I should have, as per this feature. At the end I had to reinstall all my vSAN nodes and create a new clean environment after that I screwed up. It was somehow needed anyway because of the most recent homelab rebuild. So, somehow a win-win for me and the lab.

So don’t screw up! No, just kidding. you may know the feature better than me. And I can tell you, vSAN is stronger and more resilient than you may think.

In this blog post, I’d like to show you how to shut down a vSAN cluster, and how to start it again. The feature is hidden in plain view, right-click the vSAN cluster and you’re good to go. Or not?

In this blog post, I’m assuming that the vCenter is NOT running on the vSAN cluster. I may update this blog post, or create another one, with vCenter running on the cluster. Without searching the internet and checking the VMware docs, I don’t know by heart if this is even possible. Anyway. So how do you shut down the vSAN cluster?

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Create VAAI supported iSCSI LUNs on a Synology NAS

Today I was working in my homelab. A few days ago I started to rebuild it. Initially, I started with three DELL PowerEdge servers for some time, but the consumed to much power and produced to much heat. My approach was to have as many physical components as possible. Well, it didn’t work so well as planned (more here, but that wasn’t all…).

I’m running now only one PowerEdge server, installed 144GB of memory (did some frankensteining with one other PowerEdge server) and installed some SSD drives. I also installed a PERC H700 RAID controller because my white box HPE H240 HBA doesn’t like RAID much, and my HPE P822 RAID Controller stops the server from booting. But let’s go into the topic, VAAI supported iSCSI LUNs on a Synology NAS. Yes, I already wrote about that topic here. But with the current version of DSM (Disk Station Manager), the feature set changed a little. And you don’t need the VAAI plugin (because it’s only for NFS datastores and currently not supported on vSphere 6.7, ohhh myyy…).

This quick guide should help you to create a VAAI enabled iSCSI datastore on your Synology NAS. It’s a straight-forward guide, and I’m assuming that your Synology BOX is empty. As my NAS came back from repair today, I didn’t care and wiped all disks. So mine is empty now.

But what is VAAI?

Long story short, VAAI stands for “VMware vSphere Storage APIs Array Integration (VAAI)”. Through this API, storage operations, like cloning of a VM, will be offloaded to the storage itself. Not because it’s just possible, but because it’s faster and with less unnecessary data traffic between the ESXi host and the data store.

On a datastore without VAAI / hardware acceleration, the ESXi initiates the process to clone a VM. But instead of the storage, cloning the data blocks itself (for example to another LUN), it’s the ESXi host receiving all the data blocks and sending/writing them to another LUN. On a data store with VAAI / hardware acceleration enabled, the ESXi hosts only initiates the process. All data blocks will be then cloned by the storage itself. To get all the benefits from that, your storage has to support these features. Check with the hardware vendor if your storage is VAAI ready or not.

Note: I’m not good at drawing…

Let’s dive into that topic now.

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Top vBlog 2018 – Congratulations and a happy surprise!

Every year, a group of people announces the Top vBlogs of the past year. This time, Eric Siebert, John Troyer, Eric Wright, and Angelo Luciani did the announcement. The Top vBlog 2018 was sponsored by turbonomic. And to be honest, I was slightly surprised.


First of all, congratulations to the Top 10 vBlogs out there in the vCommunity! You did a great job on writing helpful blog posts, helping people with your guides and letting people know what’s going on in the tech field. I’d like to mention the Top 10 vBlogs at that point:

  1. Virtually Ghetto (William Lam)
  2. ESX Virtualization (Vladan Seget)
  3. Cormac Hogan
  4. Scott Lowe blog
  5. vSphere-land (Eric Siebert)
  6. vMiss (Melissa Palmer)
  7. Cody Hosterman
  8. VMGuru (Various)
  9. The IT Hollow (Eric Shanks)
  10. VCDX133 (Rene Van Den Bedem)

Congratulations as well to the category winners!

Also congratulations to all other bloggers who made it on the list. You’re doing a great job as well with writing and helping other people. Keep up the good work and keep the spirit high!

But what is it all about the Top vBlogs?

In order to have your own blog in the elections, you have to opt-in for that. Reach out to Eric Siebert for more information, or keep an eye open for the Top vBlog 2019 openings. There’s much going on, and information will be shared as soon as possible.

Longevity, Length, Frequency, Quality. Only four words but they describe it very good. A blog requires dedication, time and effort. Good bloggers keep the stuff going regardless of what is happening in their life. A short blog post without much content is done quickly, but the good bloggers out there are working hard to make good and long blog posts with as many details as possible, mostly after work in the late evening hours. It doesn’t matter if you post daily or weekly. It’s a combination of the frequency and length, and it’s the content. As mentioned before, blogging takes time and effort. But it’s not only how often you post stuff, or how long your blog posts are. It’s the quality that matters. Helpful articles, great guides and stuff like that. Publish unique content or let us know your own focus on a specific topic.

And the surprise

For this year (well, actually last year), there was a surprise for me. My blog made it on the list the first time! Thank you all for voting for me! You have to scroll down a little, and a little more and there you can find me. I’m at least in the Top 160 😉

Long time no hear, but I’m back now!

First, I’m sorry that you didn’t hear much from me as far as it was related to blogging. My start in 2019 was heavy. In late 2018 I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the ascending aorta, this as a result of a congenital heart valve defect. That’s probably not the best news you wanna hear, but I’m grateful that this aneurysm was detected. I don’t imagine what could’ve happened if not… In January I got back to work after holidays but only for two weeks. The date for the surgery was already set and I went to the hospital. The surgeons and their team, the whole hospital crew, they all did an awesome job. My heart valve and the aneurysm were fixed properly. For the aneurysm, I’ve got now some kind of Gore-Tex hose (at least the doctors call it that) and my valve was repaired, not replacement parts needed.

Climbing mountains

After a week in the hospital, I went back home but only to repack my clothes and stuff I need for rehabilitation treatment. Then I went into the Swiss mountain area for the next three weeks to learn some things, for cardio training, and to recover from surgery. We had great weather up in the mountains, except for two or three days. We did cycling, hiking, sports, and fitness. And I really didn’t expect that my body is doing so well so shortly after the surgery. I was astonished. To be honest, I’m young and I’m not medically biased. I did all the necessary prechecks in late 2018 to make sure that there are no surprises. And there weren’t any, thank god.

Currently, I’m at home for the last few weeks of recovery before I’m going back to work, but also with cardio training every day (hiking or cycling on the home trainer). I can’t just Netflix and chill. It would get boring at some time. And I’ve got some goals for this year. As you may know, I’m a firefighter in my hometown. I can’t attend their training yet because my sternum (breastbone) was opened for the surgery and that has to heal first. As soon as this is fine, I’m allowed to do sports and more training. I want to do a 10k run with a smile on my face when I arrive, I want to train my strength and endurance. And I want to be 100% approved so that I can get back to my fire buddies for training, exercises and (hope not) firefighting operations.

I’m reading a lot to keep my brain cells active, and I’m currently building a huge LEGO project. It contains 7541 parts. It is the LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon from the Ultimate Collector Series.

Thank you

I’m very grateful to my girlfriend. She supports me in every way possible, and she also motivates me when I’m not in the mood of training. She had a hard time when I wasn’t at home for such a long time, even when I was allowed to stay home at the weekend, not for holidays, but for “supervised training at home” as the rehabilitation experts called it. A big thank you also goes to my parents, which supported me also when needed, and they did some things I didn’t know or expect. Some things I don’t shout from the housetops. I let my closest friends know that I will go for heart surgery and they all wished me good luck. The day after the surgery I was letting them know that I’m still here and that I’m fine. I also like to thank my boss and my employer. It isn’t easy with a small team to schedule everything properly if one is not there.

More good news

But hey, there is some more good news! A few weeks ago I received a mail from Veeam that I was accepted for another year as a Veeam Vanguard! That’s not a bad way to start the year! And last week I received the notification that also VMware want’s to keep me as a vExpert for one year more! Awesome! If we would talk about Soccer then this would be a Hattrick! Three years in a row I was awarded. Thank you all for your support and your outstanding community programs. Being awarded as a Veeam Vanguard and VMware vExpert is a great honor. It is not a certification exam but an award. It shows that you’re active in the community, helping others, doing things others don’t do, blogging, being active on social media. It’s all about the community.