VMware Hands-on Labs - HOL-2008-91-HCI

What's New with vSAN 6.7 Update 1 Lightning Lab

What's New with vSAN 6.7 U1 - Overview

Welcome to the What's New with vSAN 6.7 Update 1 Lightning Lab.

We have developed Lightning Labs to help you learn about VMware products in small segments of time.

In this Lab, you will get an overview of the key features that have been introduced with vSAN 6.7 Update 1.

Lab Captains:

Special Thanks for their tremendous contributions, guidance and assistance:

If you have never taken a lab, please view the to see best practices and tips on how to use the lab environment console.


VMware vSAN 6.7 U1 makes it even easier to adopt Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI) and build a Digital Foundation.

vSAN 6.7 U1 simplifies operations by streamlining the deployment process, improving lifecycle management, reducing disruptions during maintenance operations, and improving capacity reporting. These updates help administrators more quickly and easily deploy and extend infrastructure while minimizing disruptions while keeping the environment up to date.

In this lesson, we will:

  • Utilize Cluster Quickstart to build a vSAN Cluster
  • Gain Improved Insight with vSAN Cluster Capacity Reports
  • Leverage Improved Guidance of Health Checks and Recommendations
  • Understand Improved Space Efficiency Using Storage Reclamation
  • Explore Powerful Management through PowerCLI Improvements
  • Review In-Product Support Diagnostics for Faster Time to Resolution
  • Examine Improved Resource Decommissioning Safeguards



Lab Preparation

We will use our Module Switcher PowerCLI Application to prepare the environment.



Module Switcher




Module 1 Start


  1. Click the Module 1 - Start button

This Startup Routine can take a few minutes to complete - thank you for your patience !



Monitor Progress


Monitor Progress until Complete.

  • Press Enter to continue (and close the PowerCLI Window)



Lab Prep Complete


Your Lab has been successfully prepared!

1. Click Close [X] to safely close the Module Switcher


Utilize Cluster Quickstart to build a vSAN Cluster

In vSAN 6.7 U1, we tackled the task of making the initial setup, as well as ongoing expansion of a cluster as intuitive as possible.  vSAN 6.7 U1 introduces a new “Quickstart” guided cluster creation and extension wizard in vCenter that guides the user through the deployment process for vSAN and non-vSAN clusters.  


Open Chrome Browser from Windows Quick Launch TaskBar


  1. Click on the Chrome Icon on the Windows Quick Launch Task Bar.



Login to vSphere Client


  1. On the vSphere Client login screen, select "Use Windows session authentication"
  2. Click Login



Hosts and Clusters


  1. Select Menu
  2. Click Hosts and Clusters

** Did you turn on the Module Switcher (HOL-2008-Lightning) on page 5?



Configure Cluster Quickstart


  1. Expand RegionA01 Datacenter and select RegionA01-COMP01 Cluster
  2. Select Configure
  3. Expand Configuration if necessary and select Quickstart
  4. Click EDIT



Edit Cluster Settings


  1. Indicate that you would like to enable DRS, vSphere HA and vSAN by enabling the toggle switches
  2. Click OK



Add hosts


  1. Underneath '2. Add hosts', click ADD 

         You might need to scroll to see - not shown



Add new and existing hosts to your cluster


  1. Select Existing hosts (0 from 8)
  2. Click Hostname / IP Address to sort list
  3. Select esx-01a.corp.local, esx-02a.corp.local and esx-03a.corp.local
  4. Click NEXT

Note: The 'Existing hosts (0 from 8)' description will update to reflect the number of selected hosts



Host summary


  1. Click NEXT



Review and Finish


  1. Click FINISH





  1. Scroll Down until you can see the Add hosts section (this view may cycle for a few seconds before fully displaying)
  2. Note that you are provided a 'Pre-Flight Checklist' indicating whether the requirements for the Services that you have selected (DRS, vSphere HA, and vSAN) can be met. (The SCSI controller is VMware certified warning message is expected as we are running in a nested virtualized environment vs. utilizing a physical controller)



Configure cluster


  1. Scroll Down until you can see the '3. Configure cluster' section from the QuickStart
  2. Click CONFIGURE



Distributed switches


A vSphere Distributed Switch (vDS) has already been pre-configured in the Lab environment, therefore:

  1. Enable the checkbox for Configure networking settings later
  2. Click NEXT



Advanced options


  1. Scroll Down until vSAN Options is viewable
  2. Enable  Deduplication and compression and Disable Fault domains
  3. Click NEXT



Claim disks


  1. Select Host in the Group by drop-down menu
  2. Note that each Host has 1x Cache Device and 2x Capacity Devices (you can scroll down using your keyboard down arrow as necessary)
  3. Click NEXT

Note: These disks will form a single Disk Group per Host.  



Ready to complete


  1. Here we can determine that we will be creating a vSAN datastore with a capacity of 60.00 GB and cache of 15.00 GB.  (This is an All Flash vSAN Cluster, where both the Cache and Capacity disks are SSD/Flash disks).
  2. Click FINISH



Monitor Progress


  1. Select Recent Tasks in the lower left-hand corner
  2. Select Running via the drop-down selector and Monitor until all tasks are complete
  3. Minimize the Recent Tasks view (not shown)



Online Health


Now that the vSAN Datastore has been enabled, let's examine the Health of the vSAN Environment:

  1. Click Online health from the '3. Configure hosts'  from the QuickStart.





vSAN has over 50 Health Checks Out of Box and the ability to leverage additional Online Health Checks.  

  1. Examine the various Health Checks

Note: Hardware compatibility and Online health warnings are expected given the nested nature of the Lab and lack of external Internet access for online health checks.





  1. Click the Storage icon and expand RegionA01 if necessary
  2. Note that our vsanDatastore is now present (this is a vCenter alias and can be re-named without impacting vSAN)



Lesson Complete


You have successfully enabled vSAN via the new vSphere 6.7 U1 Cluster Quickstart Wizard.  This same wizard can be utilized to modify the Cluster in the future (e.g. Adding additional Hosts as one example).


Gain Improved Insight with vSAN Cluster Capacity Reports

Capacity utilization is a top of mind concern to those responsible for day-to-day administration of an environment.  vSAN 6.7 U1 introduces two new features to help administrators better understand the capacity usage of a vSAN cluster.


Browser Zoom


  1. Select the Elipses in the Chrome Browser upper-right hand corner
  2. Set Zoom to 80% (this will give us more visual real estate for the next section)





  1. Select the Hosts and Clusters Icon
  2. Select the RegionA01-COMP01 Cluster
  3. Select Monitor
  4. Scroll Down
  5. Select vSAN\Capacity



Usable Capacity Estimator


  1. A new “usable capacity estimator” grants the user the ability to easily see the free space available based on the use of the desired storage policy. A user is provided with an ongoing history of deduplication ratios to understand how changes in an environment may have impacted deduplication ratios.  

Note: We currently only have the Default vSAN (RAID1) policy in our lab; however, if there were additional policies like RAID5, for example, you could see the free space savings prior to actually switching to that policy.



Capacity History


  1. We’ve introduced the ability to see historical data for information such as total capacity used and remaining over the course of time.   



Lesson Complete

These improvements to vSAN will provide better visibility and comprehension of storage utilization for smarter decision making.  


Leverage Improved Guidance of Health Checks and Recommendations

The follow lesson reviews the improvements to Health Check and Recommendations.


Health Enhancements


The health check feature of vSAN continues to play a prominent role in its ability to ensure that an environment meets hardware and software configuration requirements.  vSAN 6.7 U1 extends this feature even more, with a more robust way of handling multiple approved firmware levels for storage controllers.  A new Unicast network performance health check and test ensures that proper continuity is achieved between vSAN hosts, and will report network bandwidth results for the tests.  



Health Enhancements


  1. Select Hosts and Clusters Icon
  2. Select RegionA01-COMP01
  3. Select Monitor
  4. Click vSAN\Health



Silence Health Check


vSAN 6.7 U1 also introduces functionality that is now accessible in the UI.   Health checks can be silenced granularly, directly in the UI, as well as being able to purge inaccessible swap objects that are no longer needed.  

  1. Select SCSI controller is VMware certified
  2. Click Silence Alert
  3. Click Yes (not shown)





  1. Click RETEST
  2. Note that the SCSI Controller test is grayed out and no longer throwing an Alert (not shown)



Lesson Complete

These improvements improve the effectiveness of vSAN’s ability to not only recognize issues, but remediate them.


Understand Improved Space Efficiency Using Storage Reclamation

This lesson reviews improvements in space efficiency.


Utilize Cluster Quickstart to build a vSAN Cluster


Modern guest operating systems have the ability to reclaim no longer used space once data is deleted inside of a guest operating system.  Using commands known as TRIM/UNMAP for the respective ATA and SCSI protocols, this helps the guest operating systems be more efficient with storage space usage.  vSAN 6.7 U1 now has full awareness of TRIM/UNMAP commands sent from the guest OS, and can reclaim the previously allocated storage as free space.  



Lesson Complete

We are unable to show you this feature in action in our nested virtualized lab; however, we thought it was important to make you aware of this new capability.  This is an opportunistic space efficiency feature that can deliver much better storage capacity utilization in vSAN environments.  Administrators may find in some cases, dramatic space savings in their production vSAN environments.


Explore Powerful Management through PowerCLI Improvements

The following lesson reviews PowerCLI improvements.


Utilize Cluster Quickstart to build a vSAN Cluster


A robust command line interface is important for not only automation at scale, it provides programmatic consistency across any size of an environment. With PowerCLI version 11, vSAN customers will see improvements to new PowerCLI cmdlets that are intended to replace Ruby vSphere Console commands.    



Launch Windows Powershell


  1. Click the Windows Powershell icon on the Windows Quick Launch Taskbar  



Connect to vCenter


  1. Issue the following command to connect to vCenter:
connect-viserver vcsa-01a.corp.local



Examine vSAN cmdlets


  1. List the vSAN related cmdlets by typing:
help *vsan*

2.   Press any key to complete list (not shown)

Note:  These cmdlets can be used to not only check the health of vSAN but also work towards automating tasks that you would otherwise perform manually via vCenter.  There are many references online for additional information.



Test new vSAN cmdlet


  1. Type the following (note that you can use Tab completion to avoid having to type the entire command):
Get-VsanEvacuationPlan -entity esx-01a.corp.local

This new cmdlet simulates how host failures impact vSAN resource usage.  This is just one example of the many other new cmdlets that there are to explore.



Lesson Complete

PowerCLI has proven to be a flexible way to interface with vSAN, and expanding its capabilities will improve efficiencies in administration of a vSAN environment.   The ongoing PowerCLI improvements in vSAN 6.7 U1 make vSAN even easier to administer using the wildly popular PowerCLI interface.


Review In-Product Support Diagnostics for Faster Time to Resolution


Improving time to resolution is a win for both the customer, and VMware. VMware has made great advances in improving the customer support experience with recent editions of vSAN.  vSAN 6.6.1 introduced “vSAN Support Insight” which is VMware’s method of automatically collecting vital infrastructure telemetry data about an environment for the VMware technical support engineers in our global support services group.  vSAN 6.7 U1 continues with these improvements, introducing fine grained, deep level performance graphs for the explicit purpose of issue resolution.   


Performance for Support


  1. Select RegionA01-COMP01
  2. Select Monitor
  3. Select Support

NOTE: The VMware support diagnostics is a built-in tool to assist GSS in their troubleshooting efforts.  This is designed to replace, a deprecated, external tool known as vSAN Observer.  The tool is built-in to the UI and does not require anything to be enabled or disabled.  



Lesson Complete

These advances help reduce the need to request log support bundles from the hosts, and when they are absolutely necessary, will contain even more critical data for better root cause analysis.


Examine Improved Resource Decommissioning Safeguards


Since each vSAN host in a cluster contributes to the cluster storage capacity, entering a host into maintenance mode takes on an additional set of tasks when compared to a traditional architecture.  vSAN 6.7 U1 has improved the safeguards when performing maintenance and decommissioning activities on vSAN hosts.  vSAN will now perform a full simulation of data movement to determine if the Enter Maintenance Mode (EMM) action will succeed for fail before it even starts.  This will prevent unnecessary data movement, and provide a result more quickly to the administrator.  


Enter Maintenance Mode for One Host


  1. Right-Click esx-01a.corp.local
  2. Select Maintenance Mode\Enter Maintenance Mode
  3. Click OK (not shown)
  4. Monitor until Host show Maintenance Mode Icon (not shown)



Attempt Maintenance Mode for another Host


  1. Right-Click esx-02a.corp.local
  2. Select Maintenance Mode\Enter Maintenance Mode



Maintenance Mode Warning


  1. Note that you are warned about the risk of putting another host into maintenance mode (in this 3-Node Cluster, if we took 2 of the 3 Hosts offline then VM storage would be inaccessible).
  2. Click CANCEL



Exit Maintenance Mode


  1. Right-Click esx-01a.corp.local
  2. Select Maintenance Mode\Exit Maintenance Mode



Object Repair Timer


  1. Select RegionA01-COMP01
  2. Select Configure
  3. Select vSAN\Services
  4. Expand Advanced Options
  5. Click EDIT



Advanced Options


  1. When a host is in maintenance mode (unless the Full data migration option was selected) the objects on the host will be considered absent. vSAN will wait 60 minutes until initiating a rebuild of the absent objects on remaining hosts.This is because vSAN is not certain if the failure is transient or permanent. If the host will only be in maintenance mode for a few minutes it doesn't make sense to completely rebuild all the objects on a different host. If the host will be offline for more than the default 60 minutes the administrator can modify the vSAN Object repair timer. As of vSAN 6.7 U1 this setting is available in the UI. This is now a cluster-wide setting and will apply to all hosts in the cluster vs. having to set this individually/separately on each host.
  2. Click CANCEL



Lesson Complete

All of these improvements are added to enhance the overall experience and predictability of host decommissioning activities like entering a host into maintenance mode.



Thank you for completing the What's New with vSAN 6.7 Update 1 Lightning Lab!


Lab Finished

Congratulations on completing the Lab.

If you are looking for additional information on topic:



How to End Lab


To end your lab click on the END button.  


Appendix - Lab Guidance

The Table of Contents can be accessed in the upper right-hand corner of the Lab Manual.

Lab Module List:


Location of the Main Console


  1. The area in the RED box contains the Main Console.  The Lab Manual is on the tab to the Right of the Main Console.
  2. A particular lab may have additional consoles found on separate tabs in the upper left. You will be directed to open another specific console if needed.
  3. Your lab starts with 90 minutes on the timer.  The lab can not be saved.  All your work must be done during the lab session.  But you can click the EXTEND to increase your time.  If you are at a VMware event, you can extend your lab time twice, for up to 30 minutes.  Each click gives you an additional 15 minutes.  Outside of VMware events, you can extend your lab time up to 9 hours and 30 minutes. Each click gives you an additional hour.



Alternate Methods of Keyboard Data Entry

During this module, you will input text into the Main Console. Besides directly typing it in, there are two very helpful methods of entering data which make it easier to enter complex data.



Click and Drag Lab Manual Content Into Console Active Window

You can also click and drag text and Command Line Interface (CLI) commands directly from the Lab Manual into the active window in the Main Console.  



Accessing the Online International Keyboard


You can also use the Online International Keyboard found in the Main Console.

  1. Click on the Keyboard Icon found on the Windows Quick Launch Task Bar.



Click once in active console window


In this example, you will use the Online Keyboard to enter the "@" sign used in email addresses. The "@" sign is Shift-2 on US keyboard layouts.

  1. Click once in the active console window.
  2. Click on the Shift key.



Click on the @ key


  1. Click on the "@ key".

Notice the @ sign entered in the active console window.



Activation Prompt or Watermark


When you first start your lab, you may notice a watermark on the desktop indicating that Windows is not activated.  

One of the major benefits of virtualization is that virtual machines can be moved and run on any platform.  The Hands-on Labs utilizes this benefit and we are able to run the labs out of multiple datacenters.  However, these datacenters may not have identical processors, which triggers a Microsoft activation check through the Internet.

Rest assured, VMware and the Hands-on Labs are in full compliance with Microsoft licensing requirements.  The lab that you are using is a self-contained pod and does not have full access to the Internet, which is required for Windows to verify the activation.  Without full access to the Internet, this automated process fails and you see this watermark.

This cosmetic issue has no effect on your lab.  



Look at the lower right portion of the screen


Please check to see that your lab is finished all the startup routines and is ready for you to start. If you see anything other than "Ready", please wait a few minutes.  If after 5 minutes your lab has not changed to "Ready", please ask for assistance.

Please click here to begin your Lightning Lab!



Thank you for participating in the VMware Hands-on Labs. Be sure to visit http://hol.vmware.com/ to continue your lab experience online.

Lab SKU: HOL-2008-91-HCI

Version: 20191105-154511