Removing a VMware host from a VSAN cluster without putting it into maintenance mode

This post explains the steps you could take to remove a VSAN-enabled host from a VSAN cluster without putting it into maintenance mode. You could also use this method to remove an VSAN-less ESXi host from a cluster without putting it into maintenance mode.

In my testlab, I have put both my nested ESXi hosts and the physical ESXi box they are running on in the same VSAN cluster. I needed this setup to be able to vMotion my VMs from the physical box to the nested ESXi hosts.

Afterwards, I wanted to remove my physical ESXi host from the VSAN cluster, as it is not actively participating in the disk capacity. To remove a host from a VSAN cluster, you should put it into maintenance mode and move it away from the cluster. vCenter Server will reconfigure the host and disable VSAN services.

As my physical host cannot be put into maintenance mode without shutting down my domain controllers, vCenter Server and the nested ESXi servers, I had to find another way.

What I did was:

  • Create a temporary cluster with VSAN enabled
  • Disconnect the ESXi host you want to forcefully remove from the cluster
  • Move the ESXi host object to the temporary cluster
  • Reconnect the host
  • Disable VSAN on the cluster, wait for reconfiguration
  • Disconnect the host again
  • Move the host object to wherever you want it to be
  • Reconnect the host

Done! =)

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