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vSAN Direct: Secrets of Storage Revolution Unveiled

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VMware vSAN, short for Virtual SAN, is a software-defined storage solution part of the VMware software-defined data center (SDDC) stack. It is designed to provide distributed, shared storage for virtual machines (VMs) in a vSphere environment.

Here are some of the key aspects of VMware vSAN:

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI): VMware vSAN is a core component of hyper-converged infrastructure, where computing, storage, and networking resources are integrated into a single, software-defined platform. This integration simplifies management, improves scalability, and enhances resource utilization.

Distributed Storage Architecture: vSAN eliminates the need for external storage arrays by using the local storage of each ESXi host within a cluster. This distributed architecture contributes to improved performance and simplified storage management.

Software-Defined Storage: As a software-defined storage solution, vSAN abstracts and pools the storage resources across multiple ESXi hosts. This abstraction enables dynamic allocation and efficient use of storage resources.

Policy-Driven Management: vSAN allows administrators to define storage policies that dictate the level of performance, availability, and other attributes for VMs. These policies are applied at the VM level, providing a flexible and granular approach to storage management.

Automatic Scaling: The storage capacity and performance scale automatically when adding more hosts to a vSAN cluster. This aspect makes it easy to adapt to changing workloads and storage requirements without manual intervention.

High Availability and Fault Tolerance: vSAN enhances the availability of virtualized workloads by mirroring data across multiple hosts. In the event of a host failure, VMs can continue to operate using the replicated data on other hosts, ensuring high availability.

Performance Optimization:  It leverages flash storage for caching and provides a performance tier for frequently accessed data. This aspect helps optimize storage performance, particularly for I/O-intensive workloads.

Integration with vSphere: vSAN seamlessly integrates with VMware’s vSphere, making it easy to manage and monitor storage alongside other virtualization features. The vSphere Web Client provides a centralized interface for vSAN configuration and monitoring.

Support for All-Flash and Hybrid Configurations: vSAN supports all-flash and hybrid configurations, allowing organizations to choose the best storage solution for their performance and cost requirements.

Stretch Clusters: It supports stretch clusters, enabling the deployment of a single vSAN cluster across geographically separate locations. This aspect enhances disaster recovery capabilities by maintaining copies of data on multiple sites.


What is the vSAN Direct Feature?

With vSAN Direct, users can augment the storage capacity of their vSAN hosts by incorporating additional disks, specifically for data persistence in platform applications. This feature empowers businesses to operate cloud-native applications seamlessly within their vSAN-based clusters.

VMware’s vSAN Direct intelligently utilizes disks that are currently unused and not associated with any existing vSAN disk group. These unused disks are repurposed to form vSAN Direct disks, establishing a dedicated storage resource that caters to cloud-native applications’ direct storage access requirements seeking stateful storage solutions.

In this DIY blog, we’ll guide you through setting up vSAN Direct, a powerful feature in VMware vSAN that allows direct-attached storage devices to contribute to the vSAN storage pool.

Follow this step-by-step demonstration to harness the benefits of vSAN Direct for your virtualized environment.


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  1. VMware vSphere and vSAN licenses
  2. Compatible hardware with Direct-Attached Storage (DAS)
  3. vSphere environment already set up
  4. Make sure you verify Hardware Compatibility. Ensure that your hardware is on the VMware Compatibility Guide for vSAN.
  5. Verify that your servers and storage devices are compatible and meet the vSAN Direct requirements.
  6. Update vSphere Environment. Ensure your vSphere environment, including ESXi hosts and vCenter Server, is updated to the latest version. Check the VMware compatibility matrix for vSAN to ensure your environment is supported.


Demonstration - Enable vSAN Direct Feature

Step 1: Log in to the vSphere Web Client.

Step 2: Navigate to the vSAN cluster where you want to enable vSAN Direct. Click on the ‘Configure’ tab.

Step 3: Under ‘vSAN,’ select ‘Services.’ And Click on Configure.

Step 4: Click NEXT and Don’t enable vSAN ESA if you don’t have eligible h/w that supports ESA architecture.

Step 5: Click on NEXT.

Step 6: Claim the DAS of each host for vSAN directly.

Alternatively, you can claim vSAN direct disks after creating a vSAN cluster from the Disk Management utility. Navigate to the ‘Configure’ tab of your vSAN cluster. Under ‘vSAN,’ select ‘Disk Management.’ Click ‘Add Disk Group.’

Step 7: Monitor and Validate vSAN Direct Configuration. Go to the ‘Monitor’ tab in the vSphere Web Client. Under ‘vSAN,’ select ‘Health.’

Step 8: Ensure no issues are reported related to vSAN Direct. Validate the configuration by checking the capacity and performance metrics in the ‘vSAN’ tab.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up vSAN Direct in your vSphere environment, enhancing your storage capabilities by leveraging direct-attached storage.

Monitor the vSAN’s health and performance to ensure a smooth and optimized virtualized infrastructure.


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1. What is the primary benefit of using vSAN Direct in a virtualized environment?

ANS: – vSAN Direct allows you to incorporate direct-attached storage devices into your vSAN storage pool, enhancing storage capacity and potentially improving performance for specific workloads.

2. How does vSAN Direct differ from traditional vSAN configurations?

ANS: – vSAN Direct utilizes locally attached storage devices (Direct-Attached Storage or DAS) directly within the vSAN cluster, offering a more distributed storage architecture than traditional configurations relying solely on shared storage.

3. What are the prerequisites for implementing vSAN Direct in a vSphere environment?

ANS: – Prerequisites include having compatible hardware with DAS, a vSphere environment set up, and ensuring the hardware is listed on the VMware Compatibility Guide for vSAN.

4. Can vSAN Direct disks be used for cloud-native applications?

ANS: – Yes, vSAN Direct creates dedicated disks from unused DAS devices, making them suitable for direct access from cloud-native applications that require stateful storage.

5. How does vSAN Direct contribute to performance optimization in a virtualized infrastructure?

ANS: – By incorporating local storage resources, vSAN Direct can potentially enhance storage performance, particularly for workloads that benefit from low-latency access to local storage.

6. Is it possible to monitor the health and performance of vSAN Direct configurations?

ANS: – VSAN Direct configurations can be monitored through the vSphere Web Client under the ‘Monitor’ tab, providing insights into the health and performance of the integrated local storage resources within the vSAN cluster.

7. Know More about vSAN

ANS: – vSAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) | VMware

WRITTEN BY Rahulkumar Shrimali



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