Current assumptions:
– You followed the Part 1 and Part 2 walkthrough.
– – Part 1 >
– – Part 2 >
– You have all of your NUCs powered on, fully booted into the ESXi hypervisor and configured with a valid IP address. Throw out a few Pings just to make sure.
– You have your (flash based) vCenter Web Client launched and ready.
Hopefully you see a screen like this: (if not, click the house icon at the top)


Let’s start by loading up our inventory.

Click the “Host and Clusters” icon and then {right click} on the vCenter object that loads in the left menu. Select “New Datacenter,” wait for the popup to load, give it a name like Rambo or GIJoe and click OK. When your new “Rambo” cluster is created you should see it pop into the left window. {Right click} on your new datacenter object and select “New Cluster.” When the popup loads, enter a name like CaddyShack or ShopSMart, check the box marked “Turn On” for DRS, HA, and Virtual SAN and click OK. As you click the check boxes, lots of settings will load in.  We shouldn’t need to change these for a fully functional vSAN cluster so the defaults will work for now.|

Now it’s time to add our ESXi hosts to the cluster object. If you do not see the cluster you created above, click on the little arrow to the left of your Rambo datacenter object. {Right click} on your CaddyShack cluster object and select “Add Host.” When the wizard starts, enter the IP address (or Fully Qualified DNS Name) of your first NUC (the one you created your vSAN datastore on) and click Next. Enter the user and password you configured, (the default username is root and the its the password you created during the install,) click Next. You may get prompted about a Cert error, click Yes to move on and Next, Next, Next, Next, Next, Finish. Give it a minute to install some bits on the host and load it into your cluster object. If you don’t see it load into the listing on the left, be sure to click the arrow to the left of your CaddyShack cluster object to show the host. If you selected to add the host where you created your vCenter Server VM, you should see that VM listed under your host.  Let’s add the other two NUCs (hosts) to our vcenter. It’s the same steps as above but with the other IP addresses or DNS names. {Right click} on your CaddyShack cluster, select “New Host,” enter the IP or DNS, and Next, type the username (root by default) and password, then Next, Click Yes, Next, Next, Next, Finish. Then again for your third NUC (host.)

Here is our Inventory ready to go!

Now it’s time to create our “VSAN” Virtual Distributed Switch and assign some Virtual Kernel Nics from each host to the vDS. We will need this for the VSAN replication traffic.  I’m going to go quick here so you may want to copy and paste this part into notepad and break it up.
In your vSphere Web Client, click on the home (house icon) at the top and select “Networking” below.  {Right click} your datacenter object (Rambo) and select “New Distributed Switch.” In the wizard, type a name for your Distributed Switch, (“vds-VSAN” for example) and Next, Next, Next, Finish. Once your Distributed Switch is created, {right click} on it and select “Add and Manage Hosts.” In the wizard, select the bullet for “Add host and manage host networking” and click Next. Click “New Hosts” next to the big green plus sign, click the checkbox next to all three of your ESXi hosts and click Next. Make sure that “Manage physical adapters” and “manage VMKernel adapters” are checked and click Next. Click on “vmnic1,” click “assign uplink” at the top, and click “ok” in the popup. You will need to do this for each of the three hosts in the list then click Next when done.

It should look something like this when all three hosts have vmnic1 assigned to the vDSwitch.

The next window we will create and assign VMKnic interfaces for each host. Click on each hosts name and click the “New Adapter” button at the top. A new wizard will pop up and ask you for IP settings. At the first window click Browse next to “Select an existing distributed port group” and select your lonely vds-VSAN default port group, then click OK. When you are back to the main wizard click Next. Check the checkbox for “Virtual SAN Traffic” and click Next. Here, we need to enter our VMKernel IP information. If you are using DHCP you can leave it “as-is” and click Next but I suggest clicking “Use static ipv4” and enter an IP address. I used IPs from the same class C as my management network and just plugged all of the NICs into the same vlan/switch. All of the IP addresses you used for your host management and the following vmknic interfaces will need to be unique.  Enter your IP and subnet mask then click Next and Finish to take you back to the main wizard. Do this same step for the remaining two hosts to create a VMKnic for each one. Click host, click new adapter, browse, click, ok, next, select VSAN traffic checkbox and next. Enter the IP address and click OK. Once back at the main wizard and all three hosts have a “VMK1” created, click Next, Next, Finish.

Example of the wizard window with a vmk1 interface on each host:

There is one last thing to do before we are done configuring our vSphere cluster. Let’s configure vMotion on our management network so VMs can float around as needed. Click on the house icon at the top to get the main menu and select Host and clusters. Click on an ESXi host to the left and select the Manage tab at the top. Then, select Networking, the “Vmkernel adapters” submenu and click on vmk0 (vmkzero – management network.) Click the Pencil icon above it (edit settings), check the checkbox for “vMotion traffic” and click OK. Be sure to do this on all three of your hosts. Click host, manage, networking, vmkernel adapters, vmk0, edit settings, checkbox, OK.

You are now configured! You can select each host and see the “vsanDatastore” we created in part 2 via CLI commands. As a test, to make sure everything is working, you can select the vCenter Appliance VM you created and “migrate/vmotion” it to another host in the cluster. To do this, {right click} on your vCenter VM and select Migrate. In the Wizard, click Next, check the checkbox for “Allow Host selection within cluster” at the bottom and click Next, select a host that your VM “is not” running on (second or third in the list maybe), and click Next, Next, Finish. You should see a task start on the right hand side. If it completes successfully then you are set! You can even migrate it to the third host just to make sure that host is happy too. If it fails, throw the error message into Google and you will find a ton of information on what happened and how to fix it.

Congrats on your new VSAN cluster!
Here is a quick snip of the resources you can expect for each host in this cluster (keep in mind total available storage will depend on how you configure your vSAN cluster)
If you have any questions or run into any issues while running through this three part walkthrough, feel free to send me a message on Twitter.

My next write-up will be about the performance we can expect from our Intel NUC vSAN cluster.  This will include some storage IO, network throughput and over all latency metrics for our Virtual Machines.