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Hyper-Convergence on a Budget: Mastering Proven Two-Node vSAN Clusters

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The virtualization world is constantly evolving, and VMware’s vSAN has opened up new possibilities for cost-effective and resilient hyper-converged infrastructure. This blog will explore the tips and tricks for setting up and managing a two-node vSAN cluster, balancing performance, efficiency, and data protection.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following prerequisites in place:

  1. Two compatible ESXi hosts that meet VMware’s hardware compatibility requirements.
  2. Valid vSAN License Key

A basic understanding of vSphere and virtualization concepts.

  1. Access to VMware vCenter Server for centralized management.

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Understanding Two-Node vSAN Clusters

What is a Two-Node vSAN Cluster? A two-node vSAN cluster is a compact, cost-effective, hyper-converged infrastructure solution consisting of just two ESXi hosts. These clusters are designed to provide redundancy and data protection while keeping infrastructure costs low.

Two-Node vSAN Clusters

Source: https://core.vmware.com/resource/vsan-2-node-cluster-guide

If we discuss the benefits of the Two-Node vSAN Cluster, then it gives:

  1. Cost-Efficiency: Two-node clusters are a budget-friendly solution, making vSAN technology accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.
  2. Resilience: Despite having only two nodes, these clusters can provide data redundancy and fault tolerance to safeguard virtualized workloads.
  3. Scalability: Two-node clusters can be easily expanded as your infrastructure needs grow.

Use Cases:

  1. ROBO – Remote Office Branch Office
  2. It is best for an environment where a minimal no of hosts and their configurations
  3. Lightweight Disaster Recovery Site
  4. To set the Testing Environment
  5. To isolate organizational resources

Setting Up a Two-Node vSAN Cluster

Step 1: Verify Hardware Compatibility

Ensure your hardware is on VMware’s Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to guarantee seamless compatibility with vSAN.

Step 2: Make sure you have 2 Servers with ESXi Installation

  1. Install ESXi on both nodes.
  2. Configure the network settings, ensuring proper communication between the hosts.

Step 3: vSAN Configuration

  1. Enable vSAN on both hosts through the vSphere Client.
  2. Set up a vSAN witness host for the two-node cluster, typically a third device or cloud witness. Such a witness host, can also be utilized as a shared witness host if we have multiple 2 Node Clusters in our environment.

Step 4: Cluster Configuration

  1. Create a vSphere cluster that includes both ESXi hosts.
  2. Configure vSAN storage and assign it to the cluster.

Tips and Tricks for Efficient Two-Node vSAN Cluster

Witness Traffic Separation (WTS)

Always separate vSAN traffic from witness traffic to optimize performance and resilience.

Disk Group Configuration

Optimize the number and size of disk groups on each host for the best balance between capacity and performance.

Data Deduplication and Compression

Leverage vSAN’s built-in data deduplication and compression features to maximize storage efficiency.

Storage Policies

Create tailored storage policies to align performance and protection requirements with your virtual workloads.

Regular Health Checks

Frequently run vSAN health checks to identify and resolve any issues proactively.

Data Protection in Two-Node Clusters

Use RAID-1 mirroring for data protection, replicating data between the two nodes. Always think of the best backup strategies where your team implements regular backups of your virtual machines to external storage or the cloud to protect against data loss. Configure fault domains to ensure VMs are distributed across both nodes, enhancing availability.


Two-node vSAN clusters are a powerful and budget-friendly solution for organizations harnessing hyper-converged infrastructure benefits. By understanding their setup and configuration, optimizing for efficiency and resilience, and implementing robust data protection strategies, you can create a reliable and cost-effective virtualization environment that meets your organization’s needs. Stay vigilant, regularly assess the health of your cluster, and adapt it as your infrastructure requirements evolve.

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1. What hardware considerations are essential for setting up a two-node vSAN cluster?

ANS: – For a two-node vSAN cluster, you need compatible hardware, including ESXi hosts with the necessary CPU, memory, and storage capacity. Ensure the hardware is on VMware’s Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) to guarantee compatibility.

2. How do I set up a two-node vSAN cluster quickly?

ANS: – Setting up a two-node vSAN cluster involves hardware setup, ESXi installation, vSAN configuration, and cluster configuration. The process is outlined in the blog, including steps for physical connections, network configuration, and storage setup.

3. How can data protection be ensured in two-node vSAN clusters?

ANS: – Data protection in two-node vSAN clusters can be achieved through strategies like RAID-1 mirroring, regular backups, and fault domains. The blog explains these data protection approaches in detail.

4. Are there any specific considerations for configuring network settings in a two-node vSAN cluster?

ANS: – Yes, it’s essential to consider witness traffic separation, redundancy, and proper network isolation to optimize network performance and ensure resilience in a two-node vSAN cluster.

WRITTEN BY Rahulkumar Shrimali



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