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VMware Cloud Foundation 

Shrinking a Cluster


Welcome to this demonstration on shrinking a cluster in VMware Cloud Foundation.

Cloud Foundation makes it easy to “right-size” workload domains in the private cloud.  When previously allocated capacity is no longer needed, it’s easy to reclaim hosts by shrinking clusters.

Note: Refer to configmax.vmware.com for more information on vSAN cluster design guidance, sizing and best practices.    

We begin at the vSphere Web Client where we see two vCenter servers.


vcenter-mgmt.vcf.sddc.lab has been configured for the Management domain and contains the mgmt cluster. 


vcenter-wld01.vcf.sddc.lab has been configured for a VI workload domain and contains 2 clusters. 


wld01-clus01 contains 4 hosts: esxi-5 to esxi-8. 


wld01-clus02 contains 3 hosts esxi-9 to esxi-11


We will use the SDDC Manager to remove the host “esxi-8.vcf.sddc.lab” from wld01-clus02 and return it to the free pool where it can be repurposed


  • Click the [SDDC Manager] browser tab

On the SDDC Manager Dashboard page we see the two workload domains configure - the Management domain and a single Virtual Infrastructure workload domain.

  • Click [Workload Domains] under the Inventory menu

  • Click [wld01] to view the configuration of the VI workload domain

  • Click [Clusters]

Here we see the two vSAN clusters that make up the wld01 domain.  Note that the cluster wld01-clus01 has four hosts and wld01-clus01 has three hosts.  We will reduce the number of hosts in wld01-clus01 by one host, giving it three hosts. 


  • Click [wld01-clus01]

  • Click [Hosts]


Here we see the four hosts currently in Cluster wld01-clus01.  We will remove host “esxi-8.vcf.sddc.lab”.


  • Click the [checkbox] to select “esxi-8.vcf.sddc.lab”

  • Click [Remove Selected Host]

Removing hosts is a potentially destructive operation.  We are asked to confirm the change.


  • Click [Remove]

That’s it!  Removing hosts is that easy.  A workflow is launched that will cleanly remove the host from the cluster.  It will take approximately 10 minutes to remove the host.  Note that this time will vary based on the size of the host, the number of hosts being removed, the type of storage used, and how active the cluster is.


  • Click [Expansion Arrow] to expand the list of running tasks.

  • Click [Refresh]

We see the host has been successfully removed from the cluster.


  • Click [Scroll bar]

We see details of the 19 separate tasks that have been automated by the SDDC Manager to cleanly remove the hosts from the cluster.  These tasks include evacuating the host from the vSAN Cluster, removing it from the NSX-T Fabric, and removing it from the vCenter inventory.


  • Click [X] to close the task pane

We see that host “esxi-8.vcf.sddc.lab” has been removed from the cluster.


  • Click [Hosts]

  • Click [Scroll bar]

Note that host esxi-8 now shows a state of “Need Cleanup”.  The host is now removed from the cluster within this workload domain


  • Click the [vSphere vcenter-mgmt.vcf.sddc.lab] browser tab

From the vSphere Web Client we are able to confirm that the cluster now has just three hosts.


The host is now removed from the cluster and is ready to re-imaged.  Once re-imaged the host can then be commissioned into SDDC Manager and repurposed as part of a new or existing cluster


This concludes our demonstration on shrinking clusters in Cloud Foundation.

With Cloud Foundation it is easy to optimize private cloud resource utilization by “right-sizing” workload domains.  As excess capacity is identified, it’s easy to reclaim unused hosts and return them to the free pool where they can then be re-assigned to other workloads.

For more information on VMware Cloud Foundation, visit our website at vmware.com/go/cloudfoundation.



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