Migrate a VCF Hybrid vSAN Cluster to an All-Flash vSAN Cluster

Two weeks ago I published an article describing how to Migrate a Hybrid vSAN Cluster to an All-Flash vSAN Cluster. I received many positive comments on the article, thanks for that! And a few good questions too, one of those questions stood out because it was asked multiple times. The question was “How does this process look like if we want to migrate a VCF Hybrid vSAN Cluster to an All-Flash vSAN Cluster?”.

Migrate a VCF Hybrid vSAN Cluster to an All-Flash vSAN Cluster

Well that’s a good question and just like in the previous article I had no experience with this myself. And the VMware Cloud Foundation documentation (link) only describes the commissioning (link) and decommissioning of hosts (link). But it does not describe the procedure for replacing the Hybrid vSAN hosts in a, VCF managed, vSAN enabled cluster by All-Flash vSAN hosts. But even if the procedure would have been described in the documentation, I want to gain experience with this myself as well. Not from a theoretical standpoint (as it should work) but more from a practical standpoint as I also want to understand what the impact would be for the running workloads when you perform this action. Especially because we might need to perform this procedure on a VCF Hybrid vSAN Cluster in the Management Workload Domain of a VMware Cloud Foundation deployment. So, this article isn’t only to check the procedure. But also to check if there isn’t any impact on the workloads running on the VCF Hybrid vSAN Cluster where we want to perform the life cycle of the hosts!

So here we go again, TO THE LAB!

Lab Setup

  • Software used
    • VCF 4.1
    • vCenter 7.0 u1
    • vSphere 7.0 u1
    • vSAN 7.0 u1
  • Hosts – Hybrid – 1x 48GB Cache SSD 3x 48GB Capacity HDD
    • esxi-1.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-2.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-3.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-4.vrack.vsphere.local
  • Hosts – All-Flash – 1x 48GB Cache SSD 3x 48GB Capacity SSD
    • esxi-5.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-6.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-7.vrack.vsphere.local
    • esxi-8.vrack.vsphere.local

Let’s get started

I’ve prepared VCF Management Workload Domain Cluster “SDDC-Cluster1” with the 4 Hybrid hosts and made sure the vSphere and vSAN Cluster status was in a healthy state.

Within the vSphere Client under Configure -> vSAN -> Disk Management the vSAN Disk Groups are shown. Also in the column “Type” you can see that the vSAN Disk Groups of the VCF Management vSAN Cluster are of the type Hybrid.

Next step is to check the SDDC Manager UI and check the overall status if everything is healthy.

Within the SDDC Manager UI under Inventory -> Hosts you can see in the column “Storage Type” that the vSAN hosts are of type “Hybrid“.
Now it is time to commission the new All-Flash vSAN Hosts, select Commission Hosts.

Follow the Checklist.

Check all the boxes if they are compliant and select Proceed.

Fill in the required fields and select Add

After all the hosts are added successfully, select the check icon in the column Confirm Fingerprint.

And select Validate All.

After all the hosts are validated select Next.

Review the host configuration and select Commission.

The hosts are now being commissioned, this could take a while. Good time to grab a coffee.

After some time you can see that the Commissioning host(s) task is completed, and the hosts are visible under the Unassigned Hosts tab.

Under All hosts you can clearly see that the different Hybrid and All-Flash hosts in the column Storage Type.

Next step is to add the commissioned hosts to the Management Workload Domain Cluster, select Inventory -> Workload Domains.

Select Clusters.

Select the kebab icon in front of the cluster and select Add Host.

Select all the All-Flash vSAN hosts that must be added to the VCF Management Workload Domain Cluster.

And select Next.

Select the VMware vSphere License.

Review the host configuration, and select Finish.

Within the vSphere Client you can now monitor the progress of the All-Flash hosts being added to the cluster.

Back in the SDDC Manager UI you still see the task Adding new host(s) to cluster running.

After all the subtasks have been completed, the status of the task is now Successful

Under the item hosts all the host are now active under the column Configuration Status.

Within the vSphere Client all hosts (Hybrid and All-Flash) are now participating in the vSAN cluster as shown in the vSAN -> Disk Management.

Next up, removing the Hybrid vSAN hosts. Within the SDDC Manager UI go to Inventory -> Workload Domains -> Cluster -> Hosts, select the Hybrid vSAN hosts that must be removed and select Remove Selected Hosts.

Confirm the removal of the hosts from the cluster by selecting Remove.

The Removing host(s) from cluster task is now running.

And the progress can be followed in the vSphere Client, the status of the vSphere Cluster has now a vSAN Health alarm “Host Maintenance Mode and Decommission State”.

After a coffee and browsing through Twitter, the task has been completed.

And the Hybrid vSAN hosts are removed from the SDDC Manager UI.

And removed from the vSphere UI and vSAN Cluster, only All-Flash vSAN hosts are now participating in the vSAN Cluster.


Again a super simple and straight forward process similar to the vSphere procedure from previous article. And as mentioned before, the reason why I wanted to go through this whole procedure myself was to see what the impact was for the workloads running on the VCF Management Domain Cluster. And I can tell you that there wasn’t any, the vCenter, NSX-T Manager and NSX-T Edge VMs were migrated with vMotion to the other hosts. And the hosts were removed correctly from the vSAN cluster leaving a clean All-Flash vSAN Cluster behind.

I hope this article helped you, leave a comment below if you have any further questions.

Marco van Baggum

Marco works as a Staff Consulting Architect at VMware. Want to learn more about Marco? Check out Marco's About page.

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