Quick Tip - Steps to shutdown/startup VSAN Cluster w/vCenter running on VSAN Datastore

Document created by eric.senunas on Jul 9, 2014
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I know Cormac Hogan already wrote about this topic awhile ago, but there was a question that was recently brought up that included a slight twist which I thought it would be useful to share some additional details. The question that was raised: How do you properly shutdown an entire VSAN Cluster when vCenter Server itself is also running on the VSAN Datastore? One great use case for VSAN in my opinion is a vSphere Management Cluster that would contain all your basic infrastructure VMs including vCenter Server which can be bootstrapped onto a VSAN Datastore. In the event that you need to shutdown the entire VSAN Cluster which may also include your vCenter Server, what is the exact procedure?

To help answer this question, I decided to perform this operation in my own lab which contains a 3-Node (physical) VSAN Cluster that had several VMs running on the VSAN Datastore including the vCenter Server VM that was managing the VSAN Cluster.

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Below are the steps that I took to properly shutdown down a VSAN Cluster as well as powering everything back on.

Shutdown VSAN Cluster

Step 1 - Shutdown all Virtual Machines running on the VSAN Cluster except for the vCenter Server VM.

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Step 2 - To help simplify the startup process, I recommend migrating the vCenter Server VM to the first ESXi host so you can easily find the VM when powering back on your VSAN Cluster.

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Step 3 - Place all ESXi hosts into Maintenance Mode except for the ESXi host that is currently running the vCenter Server. Ensure you de-select “Move powered-off and suspend virtual machines to other hosts in the Cluster” as well as selecting the “No Data Migration” option since we do not want any data to be migrated as we are shutting down the entire VSAN Cluster.

Note: Make sure you do not shutdown any of the ESXi hosts during this step because the vCenter Server VSAN Components are distributed across multiple hosts. If you do this, you will be unable to properly shutdown the vCenter Server VM because its VSAN components will not available.

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Step 4 - Shutdown the vCenter Server VM which will now make the vSphere Web Client unavailable.

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Step 6 - Finally, you can now shutdown all ESXi hosts. You can login to each ESXi hosts using either the vSphere C# Client / ESXi Shell or you can also perform this operation remotely using the vSphere API such as leveraging PowerCLI as an example.

Startup VSAN Cluster

Step 1 - Power on all the ESXi hosts that is part of the VSAN Cluster.

Step 2 - Once all the ESXi hosts have been powered on, you can then login to the ESXi host that contains your vCenter Server. If you took my advice earlier from the shutdown procedure, then you can login to the first ESXi host and power on your vCenter Server VM.

Note: You can perform steps 2-4 using the vSphere C# Client but you can also do this using either the API or simply calling vim-cmd from the ESXi Shell. To use vim-cmd, you need to first search for the vCenter Server VM by running the following command:

vim-cmd vmsvc/getallvms

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You will need to make a note of the Vmid and in this example, our vCenter Server has Vmid of 6

Step 3 - To power on the VM, you can run the following command and specify the Vmid:

vim-cmd vmsvc/power.on [VMID]

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Step 4 - If you would like to know when the vCenter Server is ready, you can check the status of VMware Tools as that should give you an indication that system is up and running. To do so, you can run the following command and look for the VMware Tools status:

vim-cmd vmsvc/get.guest [VMID]

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Step 5 - At this point, you can now login to the vSphere Web Client and take all of your ESXi hosts out of Maintenance Mode and then power on the rest of your VMs.

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As you can see the process to shutdown an entire VSAN Cluster even with vCenter Server running on the VSAN Datastore is fairly straight forward. Once you are comfortable with the procedure, you can even automate this entire process using the vSphere API/CLI, so you do not even need a GUI to perform these steps. This might even be a good idea if you are monitoring a UPS and have an automated way of sending remote commands to shutdown your infrastructure.

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