Running vSAN Without A vSAN Switch

I have purchased the equipment for an ESX environment using vSAN (two nodes+witness). The issue is the vSAN switch is back ordered. I would like to somehow get this set up for testing (not production obviously) without the VSAN switch.

So I have two scenarios and I would like opinions please:
1. Try and configure vSAN to work through the SFP/fibre connections on the data switches (Cisco 2960) for now and then add the Cisco 3850 vSAN switch when it arrives and move the vSAN network over to that. I don't know if vSAN would even allow this, does it check the port speeds and refuse to work if they are only 1GB?
2. Configure the environment and put the VMs on the local storage on each individual server for now. Obviously this doesn't give us HA. The question is when it comes time to set up the vSAN, will it have to wipe the existing VMs off the local storage?

Maybe there is something else I could do that would be better than these ideas?

Thanks!
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Connect Host 10GBe to Host 10GBe works fine....(nic to nic), and then move over to 10GBe switches, when they arrive...

this is how we vExperts, build a two node vSAN without a 10GBe switch!!!!

1GBe can be used (original vSAN used 1GBe) but it's now recommended to use 10GBe, because 1GBe is too slow.... (with latest version of vSAN)

Most Production environments, it's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to have FOUR HOSTS!

Answers to your direct questions below

1. Try and configure vSAN to work through the SFP/fibre connections on the data switches (Cisco 2960) for now and then add the Cisco 3850 vSAN switch when it arrives and move the vSAN network over to that. I don't know if vSAN would even allow this, does it check the port speeds and refuse to work if they are only 1GB?


Possible vSAN network can be built using 1GBe, no recommended because SLOW at replication!

2. Configure the environment and put the VMs on the local storage on each individual server for now. Obviously this doesn't give us HA. The question is when it comes time to set up the vSAN, will it have to wipe the existing VMs off the local storage?

Yes, all possible. Yes, you will then lose the datastores, when you configure vSAN. Unless you have a temp datastore.... or create VMs on a single disk, and later move VMs to vSAN, and then add disk back to vSAN...

Very messy....

I would do, 10GBe to 10GBe....
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Bueno. Thanks for the details. I suppose direct link between the 10GBe cards would work since both systems are in the same rack at the moment, but will eventually be geo-redundant.

This solution will be running 8 VMs, only two of which require any amount of processing power. I was told sticking to two nodes plus witness keeps licensing costs down and works for this particular situation. Definitely wouldn't do it all the time, though!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
I was told sticking to two nodes plus witness keeps licensing costs down and works for this particular situation.

It certainly does that, but not recommended, production - four nodes.

vExperts build labs with 2 nodes, because it's easy to connect end to end using 10GBe, no switch required, you could have saved money on a 10Gbe switch!
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kevinhsiehCommented:
Do note that the Catalyst 3850 is built as an access switch. It doesn't have large buffers to handle microbursts that are common with storage and other east-west traffic flows common in a datacenter. It may drop Ethernet frames at an unacceptably high rate.
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
If the two vSAN hosts are conected directly together, where does the witness go? Doesn't it have to connect to the vSAN network as well, or can it connect to the vcenter/hosts through the data network?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
see here, and the pictures will explain... basically direct connect vSAN, witness can go over 1Gbe...

https://blogs.vmware.com/virtualblocks/2016/10/18/2nodedirectconnect/

https://www.vladan.fr/vmware-vsan-for-robo-with-10gbe-cross-connect-cables-support/
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Brian BEE Topic Advisor, Independant Technology ProfessionalAuthor Commented:
Great information, thanks!
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
np, have a good day
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