After documenting the process for bootstrapping vSAN Express Storage Architecture (ESA) using my Intel NUC 12 Pro, I was looking for an easier way to share my physical vSAN storage, which is powered by a single Supermicro E200-8D, to other physical ESXi hosts for testing purposes.
I had recently been playing with the vSAN HCI Mesh feature, which was launched back in 2020, as I was running out of spare NVMe devices when needing to test different physical hardware kits. While my use case for the storage is typically short lived, it means I do not have to play musical chairs with the limited number of NVMe devices I have installed in the various kits I have.
The vSphere UI in vCenter Server already provides a very simple workflow to mount a remote vSAN storage on an ESXi compute-only node, but I was also looking at this from a bootstrapping point of view and what if vCenter Server was not deployed or even available? Could I still make this work? After a bit of trial and error, I was able to figure out this can be accomplished by using a series of ESXCLI commands!