How to delete and change VMware vSAN disk groups

Since few months i’m working with VMware vSAN in my own vSphere homelab. And i tell you, i really like vSAN! If you’re looking for an easy, affordable, very well performing and scalable storage solution, there you go. VMware vSAN is ready to take all your workloads. It doesn’t matter if it’s just your nested lab environment, or something more serious like a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), big data or business critical applications like SQL databases and Microsoft Exchange servers.

How does vSAN work?

VMware vSAN takes the local disks of an ESXi hosts and puts them in a storage pool, a so called disk group. Put all disk groups of your ESXi hosts together in a cluster and you’ve got a vSAN datastore. It’s that easy. And it’s also easy to make changes to those disk pools. Add disks, remove disks, or change the complete layout of a disk pool.

vSAN max component size

When i recently rebuilt my vSphere homelab i figured out that there was an issue with the disk configuration:

vSAN max component size

When a capacity disk used for vSAN is smaller than 255 GB (default max component size), virtual machines that run on the vSAN Datastore might experience disk space issues. Please click on the Ask VMware button for instruction to change max component size.

I don’t like disk space issues. So i better fix that. You probably saw the small „Ask VMware“ button on the right hand side. If you click this button you will be directed to a VMware knowledge base article which describes in detail what happens here. Long story short, when vSAN stores virtual machine objects, it creates components whose default size does not exceed 255 GB. However, when you use magnetic disks that are smaller than 255 GB, these storage components might end up to be larger than actual underlying magnetic disks.

You could change some parameters like ClomMaxComponentSizeGB or you could change the disk layout, so to speak add bigger disks. So did i. I deleted each disk group, changed the disk size and reclaimed the changed disks for vSAN. The following steps will guide you through this process.

How to delete a disk group

  1. First, enter your ESXi hosts in maintenance mode.

    Enter Maintenance Mode

  2. Specify how vSAN will evacuate data residing on the host before entering maintenance mode.

    vSAN data migration

    I didn’t have any VM running on the vSAN cluster because the lab was rebuilt from scratch.

    If you’ve got VMs running, then please make sure you click „Evacuate all data“ or „Ensure data accessibility“ to make sure there is no data loss.

  3. To delete the disk group of the host in maintenance mode, click your vSAN cluster => Configure => Disk Management.

    Delete disk group

  4. Again, confirm in which way the vSAN cluster should evacuate the data residing on the host.

    Delete disk group

Now go ahead and change the disks in your ESXi hosts. In my case i just increased the size of the caching disk and also the capacity disks, but also deleted one of the capacity disks.

How to claim the new / changed disks for vSAN

  1. After you changed the disks size (or added / removed disks) you can claim these disks for vSAN.

    To do that, click again on your cluster => Configure => Disk Management.

    Claim disks

  2. Please make sure that you choose the correct disk / tier. Usually the smaller (and only one) disk is the caching tier.

    HINT: Only one flash disk as caching device is possible per disk group.

    vSAN disk tiers

That’s it. No tricks nor magic. Just easy vSAN management.

Please keep in mind:

When you add disks to a vSAN cluster with enabled deduplication and compression, specific considerations apply.

  • You can add a capacity disk to a disk group with enabled deduplication and compression. However, for more efficient deduplication and compression, instead of adding capacity disks, create a new disk group to increase cluster storage capacity.

  • When you remove a disk form a cache tier, the entire disk group is removed. Removing a cache tier disk when deduplication and compression are enabled triggers data evacuation.

  • Deduplication and compression are implemented at a disk group level. You cannot remove a capacity disk from the cluster with enabled deduplication and compression. You must remove the entire disk group.

  • If a capacity disk fails, the entire disk group becomes unavailable. To resolve this issue, identify and replace the failing component immediately. When removing the failed disk group, use the No Data Migration option.

I hope this guide will help you to make changes to your disk groups. I’m happy if you let me know that with a comment 😉

Veeam Live Webinar – Alles über VMware vSAN

Vor einiger Zeit wurde ich von Veeam angefragt ob ich ein Live Webinar durchführen möchte. Nun, ich musste da nicht lange überlegen und habe zugesagt. Die Ideen sprudelten nur so aus mir raus. Naja, fast. Um ehrlich zu sein hatte ich plötzlich eine ziemliche Blockade und meine Musse hat sich spontan in den Kurzurlaub verabschiedet…

Es gibt hunderte Themen über die ich gerne sprechen würde. Seien das grössere technische Dinge oder doch eher die kleinen Tipps und Tricks die einem Admin das Leben etwas eifacher machen. Doch vieles wurde bereits in deutsch- oder englischsprachigen Webinars abgedeckt. Und ich wollte auch nicht einfach etwas aufwärmen sondern was neues bringen. Mein aktuelles Thema ist den meisten von euch sicher nicht neu. Jedoch wurde bis jetzt noch nicht im Rahmen eines Live Webinars darüber gesprochen.

Webinar mit dem VMware vExpert: Alles über das Thema VMware vSAN

Über dieses Thema werde ich am Live Webinar sprechen. Das Webinar dauert rund eine Stunde. Stefano Heisig, Senior System Engineer bei Veeam, euch zeigen wie Veeam mit vSAN umgeht und wie man VMs sichern kann. Veeam ist neuerding offiziell für VMware vSAN zertifiziert! Mein Teil wird viele Punkte rund um VMware vSAN abdecken. Und natürlich bleibt auch noch genügend Zeit für Fragen.

Anmeldung zum Webinar

Wann: Dienstag, 26.09.2017, um 10:00 Uhr

Wo: hier => https://www.veeam.com/de/videos/webinar-everything-about-vmware-vsan-10381.html

Ich freue mich auf eure Teilnahme und wünsche euch noch einen guten Rest der Woche!

Veeam – Get a chance to win FREE VMworld 2017 tickets

VMworld

This event is a fixed point in the tech agenda every year. VMworld 2017 is at the door. This event is one of the biggest tech events and a must-attend if you’d like to know more news about virtualization, hardware and software.

At VMworld you can see so many different hardware  and software vendors, all related to VMware, see their solutions and get more insights about them. But it’s not only limited to just see stuff. There are various breakout sessions with interesting topics, keynote sessions with announcements. You can attend the Virtual Hands-on Labs onsite to try VMware products or do challanges. If you’re a blogger then you’re invited to hang around in the blogger area to meet other bloggers and write your stories. There are also other places to hangout, take a breake and talk with people. That’s also a reason to attend this event. Meeting people and talking to them. When i attended that event 2016 in Barcelona i met many people that became good friends.

Win FREE tickets to VMworld 2017

Veeam gives away 10 full conference passes to lucky winners until Friday, August 4!

Yes that’s right. You’ve got the chance to win a FREE ticket to this event in 2017, either US or Europe. With registering at Veeam’s website you’ll enter the raffle and get the chance to win a FREE ticket.

But how?

  • Go to the Veeam website
  • Register to become one of the lucky winners

Each winner will have the choice to redeem their ticket at VMworld US or VMworld Europe.

That’s all. Easy.

VMworld 2017 information

VMworld US

To access the agenda click here.

To plan your trip you can access the Attendee Ressources website. There you’ll find information about the venue, hotels, travel and transportation.

Location: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada

VMworld Europe

To plan your trip you can access the Attendee Ressources website. There you’ll find information about the venue, hotels, travel and transportation.

To access the agenda click here.

Location: Fira Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain

Swiss German VMUG – Kickoff Meeting

Today we had our Swiss German VMUG kickoff meeting. The committee members were hosted at VMware Switzerland HQ in Zurich. Many thanks to you guys! It’s always a pleasure to be there!

But we weren’t just there to drink coffee and have a nice afternoon. We did some serious work. We discussed many different topics, ranging from our community goals over events to the next steps to keep the ball rolling. The main target we had today was to have a roadmap and an agenda for our very first event. And we’ve got it! So we can now move on with the next steps of planning our very first event. We will target a date somewhere in June this year at a location with hopefully enough space to host a good amount of people. Don’t forget about catering, and of course interesting topics and great speakers!

Let’s talk about history

The Swiss German VMUG was not very active the last few months and years. When i registered at vmug.com to search for a local user group i found out that there is a VMUG in my region, but it’s not very active, no events nor discussions were there. Last year at VMworld Barcelona i had some good chats with people, VMUG leaders and co-leaders about many VMUG (and for sure VMware) related things. They all encouraged me to become a VMUG leader.

I had many nights with less sleep, thinking about this. How would it be to be a leader? What areas of responsibility are there coming ùp to me? How will people react to this? So i contacted the VMUG HQ and asked how to become a leader. This was not a short-term thing. It took some weeks, having some phone calls, writing mails, doing trainings. And now we brought back new life to our local VMware user group!

Swiss German VMUG on social media

To make sure you don’t miss any bits and bytes we invite you to register on our Swiss German VMUG community site if you’re interested to become a member of our user group (and if you’re located in the German speaking part of Switzerland, which would make sense). We’re also present on Twitter and Facebook! We thank you for a follow, and don’t hesitate to spread the word 😉

VMware Workstation – Unable to connect to the MKS: Login incorrect

Today i ran into the problem that i wasn’t able to connect to my vCenter via VMware Workstation. If you’re working in your homelab it’s probably helpful sometimes to have access to a VM console without to connect to an ESXi host, a vCenter Web Client or even via RDP to some management client. You can easily connect to your vCenter with VMware Workstation. I wrote a short article about how to save the login credentials in VMware Workstation.

The error message i’ve had was:

Unable to connect to the MKS: Login (username / password) incorrect

mks

I’m pretty sure that this wasn’t the case. I’ve tried it with the @vsphere.local admin and also with my domain administrator. But no success.

When i searched for a solution i’ve found many hints and tips. Let me show you what i’ve found and what was my solution at the end.

Check the ESXi firewall

Next step is to make sure that the ESXi firewall isn’t blocking communication. Make sure the following incoming ports are open: 443, 902, 903

I checked that, all ok. But i still got this error message. The only port i didn’t see on the firewall port list was 903. And i wasn’t able to open this port. But i knew that this wasn’t the issue when i connected my vCenter to my VMware Workstation the last time.

Edit a config file on your ESXi host

Well, i’m not sure if that’s the way to go. Thinking about possible updates etc. some configuration files might get overwritten. But i checked it anyway. It’s in my lab and when something goes wrong or does not work, i can fix it and learn something.

You can use Putty / SSH and vi to edit this file, or go comfortable with WinSCP. Connect to your ESXi host and locate the config file at /etc/vmware/config.

Add the line vmauthd.server.alwaysProxy = „TRUE“

I’m also not sure if a restart is necessary, i did a restart, but it didn’t work either.

Use another port for authentication

You can try to edit the config.ini file in VMware Workstation, located at „C:\ProgramData\VMware\VMware Workstation\config.ini„.

Change the line authd.client.port = „903“ to authd.client.port = „902“. After that restart the „VMware Authorization Service“ and you should be fine.

That did the trick on my system, i was able to connect to my VMs through VMware Workstation.

Hint: if you’re working with Notepad++ (highly recommended!) then you’re able to save the file after granting administrative access (you see what i mean when you try to save the file). If you’re working with another text editor, you should start this text editor as administrator (just right click => run as administrator). Otherwise you probably won’t be able to save the changes.