What You Can (and Cannot) Change in a vSAN ESA and vSAN Max ReadyNode™
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What You Can (and Cannot) Change in a vSAN ESA and vSAN Max ReadyNode™


Article ID: 326717


Updated On:


VMware vSAN


What is the vSAN Express Storage Architecture?

The vSAN Express Storage Architecture (vSAN ESA), introduced in vSAN 8.0, is an optional, alternative architecture to vSAN Original Storage Architecture (vSAN OSA). vSAN ESA is designed to process and store data with all new levels of efficiency, scalability, and performance.  vSAN ESA architecture is optimized to exploit the full capabilities of the very latest in hardware.

So what are vSAN ESA ReadyNodes?

vSAN ESA ReadyNodes are x86 servers, available from all the leading server vendors, that have been pre-configured, tested, and certified for VMware Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Software. Each vSAN ESA ReadyNode™ is optimally configured for vSAN ESA with the required amount of CPU, memory, network and storage NVMe devices. 

We have greatly modified our vSAN ESA VCG and would like to address some key questions on the usage of this VCG through this document.

What is a vSAN ESA and vSAN Max BOM?

Below is an example of a vSAN ESA ReadyNode™ BOM in the vSAN ESA VCG:

vSAN ESA ReadyNode Model: Star Inc. vSAN-ESA-AF-4 X710

Screenshot 2023-09-12 at 9.21.28 AM.png


VMware vSAN 8.0.x


vSAN ESA Profile Guidance

vSAN ESA Profile information can be found at vSAN ESA ReadyNode Hardware Guidance. We allow changes to certain components(CPU, Storage Device, Memory, NIC, Boot Device) of the vSAN ESA ReadyNode™ configuration.

Please note that the lowest common denominator is what drives the ReadyNode profile characterization.

Allowable Changes in vSAN ESA ReadyNode™ BOM


vSAN ESA ReadyNode™  FAQ:

General Questions
Q:- What are the hardware requirements for vSAN ESA?

Please refer to vSAN ESA ReadyNode Hardware Guidance for hardware requirements.

Q:- Does the vSAN ESA support a hybrid configuration using dedicated caching and capacity devices?


Q:- Does vSAN ESA require a separate cache device?

vSAN ESA does not require a dedicated cache device.

Q: - Do we need Boot Device Certification?

We do not need to certify the boot device for vSAN.  Please follow the guidelines laid out in KB SD card/USB boot device revised guidance (85685)

Q:- Why are there separate All-Flash Profiles for vSAN ESA?

vSAN ESA ReadyNodes are categorized as per the profile guidance in the vSAN ESA ReadyNode Hardware Guidance. The profiles are based on node capacity, CPU, Memory, and Network required to meet specific workloads and user needs.

Q:- Will vSAN ESA ReadyNode have support for ReadyNode features like Native NVMe Hotplug, PCIe Switch, vSAN Secure-wipe?

vSAN ESA does support these features if OEMs certify the servers for these features.

Q:- How does vSAN Sizer work for vSAN ESA?

vSAN Sizer supports vSAN ESA. Support for vSAN Max is coming soon. Please refer to the vSAN Sizer page for more details.

Q:- Is PMem supported for vSAN ESA?

PMem is not supported for vSAN ESA.

Q:- Is NVMe Hotplug still supported if I change my drive models?

NVMe Hotplug will only be supported with the drive model that is listed in the ReadyNode™ configuration. Please check with your OEM vendor on specifics.

Q:- Can I switch between OEM vendor qualified drives on a different OEM vendor server?

No, switching drive models is only allowed from within the same server OEM. Drives qualified in another OEM's ReadyNode™ are not allowed. For example, OEM1 has ReadyNode1™ with drive A and ReadyNode2™ with drive B. ReadyNode1™ or ReadyNode2™ can be used with either drive (A or B).

Q:- What is the minimum and maximum number of drives supported for vSAN ESA ReadyNode?

  • vSAN ESA ReadyNode Minimum # Device/Host: 2
  • vSAN Max ReadyNode Minimum # Device/Host: 10
  • vSAN ESA and vSAN Max Maximum # Device/Host: 24

The number of Storage Tier devices has an impact on the performance of vSAN ESA. We recommend configuring more for better performance. 

Q:- Which ESXi release builds support vSAN Max?

8.0U2 and higher.

Storage Device Questions

Q:- Are there specific device requirements in vSAN ESA?

We support Storage Devices 1 DWPD or higher and Class F or higher for performance. For further details on this, please refer vSAN ESA ReadyNode Hardware Guidance.

We also require a minimum capacity for the device to be 1.6 TB or above.

Q:- Will vSAN ESA support SAS, SATA devices?

There is currently no plan to support SAS and SATA devices for vSAN ESA.

Q: - Can I choose a different make and model of Storage tier drive vSAN ReadyNode™ BOM?

 Please refer to the table above for guidelines.

Q:- What does it mean to change the quantity of the device?

In order to maintain a balanced configuration, especially when the user expects to stay under the original profile selection, it is recommended that the number of storage devices multiplied with device capacity complies with the profile guidance.

For example, if the user selects a vSAN-ESA-AF-4 profile with 24 devices at 1.6TB, the Total raw Storage capacity will be 38.4 TB and decides to change the configuration with 12x3.2TB=38.4TB.

Q:- Are 1 DWPD Storage Devices supported in vSAN-ESA-AF-8 profile?

Starting with vSAN 8.0U1, Storage Devices at 1 DWPD endurance will be supported for vSAN-ESA-AF-0, vSAN-ESA-AF-2, vSAN-ESA-AF-4, vSAN-ESA-AF-6, and vSAN-ESA-AF-HighDensity.

vSAN-ESA-AF-8 profile is meant for high-end workloads that demand high-performance, high-endurance devices and therefore will only support 3DWPD or greater.

Q:- Can I have Storage Devices at 1 DWPD and 3 DWPD in the same cluster?

We do not recommend mixing Storage Devices at different endurance levels.

Q:- Can I replace a 3 DWPD Storage Device with 1 DWPD Storage Device?

No, this is not allowed. You can replace a 1 DWPD Storage Device with a 3 DWPD Storage Device to use a higher performance/endurance Storage Devices.

The device swap is for the entire cluster and will require a fresh install.

Q:- What Storage Devices are supported for vSAN Max?

vSAN Max supports Read-Intensive (1 DWPD or higher) and Mixed-use (3 DWPD or higher) with Performance Class F or G.

Maximum Storage Device Capacity is 15.36TB.

Q:-How will I know if my Storage Device is 1 DWPD or 3 DWPD?

Please refer to the vSAN VCG.

Q:-Which ESXi builds can I use with Storage Devices at 1 DWPD?

1 DWPD Storage Devices are supported from ESXi version 8.0U1 and above for vSAN ESA.

Networking Questions

Q: - Do we need to certify the NIC in a ReadyNode™ BOM?

There is no separate NIC(TCP/IP) certification required for vSAN.  NIC cards qualified under IOVP certification are used for vSAN ESA ReadyNode™ BOM.

Q:- Does vSAN ESA ReadyNode support vSAN certified RDMA NIC cards?

Yes. vSAN ESA certified and listed vSAN RDMA NIC cards can be used to replace a regular NIC in vSAN ESA ReadyNode™.

Q:- What is the minimum networking requirement for ESA?

The minimum networking hardware requirement for vSAN ESA is 10GbE. Please reference the vSAN ESA ReadyNode Hardware Guidance for the respective networking requirements for each ReadyNode profile.

For any questions on vSAN hardware, please reach out to vSAN Hardware PM at [email protected].
To learn more about vSAN ESA, visit vSAN Express Storage Architecture.