VMware vSAN ESA – Book review

In the ever-evolving landscape of virtualization and storage technologies, VMware’s vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) emerges as a revolutionary solution, promising a unique approach to storage that combines efficiency, simplicity, and scalability.

However, vSAN ESA is different from the traditional vSAN (OSA)which we have become familiar with since 2014. Since the original version of vSAN was launched, I’ve always enjoyed Duncan Epping and Cormac Hogan books on vSAN.

Fortunately, Duncan and Cormac have alongside Pete Koehler have recently released their new book VMware vSAN 8.0 U1 Express Storage Architecture Deep Dive

VMware vSAN 8.0 U1 Express Storage Architecture Deep Dive

This excellent book opens by giving a short history lesson of the SDDC and where vSAN came into place. It then expands onto all the features released, in which versions and when.

vSAN ESA Requirements

The book does an excellent deep dive into all the possible pre-requisites and requirements for vSAN ESA. If you’re a storage architect, or looking to adopt vSAN ESA, this section is crucial. With over 30 pages dedicated to the requirements, you can see just how through this book is.

vSAN ESA Installation

While vSAN ESA can be installed in just a few clicks, this book is of course a deep dive which means you’ll find out what’s happening behind the scenes and more importantly, why something is happening.


A whole chapter of the book is dedicated to vSAN ESA Architecture. Some of the most important details regarding vSAN ESA are in this section. I particularly enjoyed reading about the various software components within vSAN and what they all do.

There is an excellent section called “Anatomy of a vSAN Read” and the same for writes, complete with diagrams. This really gets you involved in how vSAN works.

vSAN Operations

As with any storage system, there are a number of “Day 2” operations required to keep everything healthy and also knowledge needed to know how to manage and provision storage for your workloads. Everything from health, testing, host management, shutdown, upgrades and a whole lot more is covered in this chapter.

Advanced Learning

The book covers a few more advanced concepts which are a bit more niche but are seemingly rising in adoption. These include Stretched Clustering, Two node clusters and Cloud Native.

Command Line

Finally, the book goes into detail around the CLI options to manage vSAN ESA with plenty of examples. Other commands are also discussed to help with troubleshooting such as then osfs-ls and cmmds-tool, both of which I had not used before.

The book is available now on Amazon in physical and kindle format. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and that it helps your planning while considering vSAN ESA for your project or to manage your existing deployments.

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