Using the vSphere Container Storage Interface driver

This document explains how to use the vSphere Container Storage Interface (CSI) driver with Google Distributed Cloud.


The vSphere CSI driver is deployed automatically when you install Google Distributed Cloud (software only) for VMware. For information about using other CSI drivers, see Installing a CSI driver.

vSphere requirements

To use the vSphere CSI driver, you must have:

Volume expansion

  • Offline volume expansion requires both vCenter Server and ESXi to be version 7.0 Update 1 or later

  • Online volume expansion requires both vCenter Server and ESXi to be version 7.0 Update 2 or later.

Volume snapshot

Volume snapshot requires both vCenter Server and ESXi to be version 7.0 Update 3 or later.


Your vCenter user account must have the Cns.Searchable privilege on the root vCenter object.

If you are unsure whether your account meets the CSI prerequisites, run gkectl diagnose cluster before deploying any CSI workloads.

Verify that the driver is installed

When the vSphere CSI driver is installed in your user cluster, a StorageClass called standard-rwo is created.

List the StorageClass objects:

kubectl --kubeconfig CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG get storageclass

Replace CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG with the path of your cluster kubeconfig file.

Verify that standard-rwo appears in the output. For example:

standard         Delete   Immediate     false      33m
standard-rwo (default)    Delete   Immediate     true       32m

Verify that the vSphere CSI driver is installed:

kubectl --kubeconfig CLUSTER_KUBECONFIG get csinode \

The output should indicate that the driver is available on all of your cluster nodes. For example:


Provisioning volumes

To provision volumes with the vSphere CSI driver, set the storageClassName field of your PersistentVolumeClaim to standard-rwo.

Setting the default storage class

To set standard-rwo as the default storage class, see Default storage class.

Using a snapshot to restore a volume

See Restore a volume from a snapshot.

Creating additional StorageClasses

You can create additional vSphere CSI StorageClasses in your cluster using the datastoreurl or storagepolicyname parameters.

The following example uses the storagepolicyname parameter:

kind: StorageClass
  name: gold
parameters: ext4
  storagepolicyname: "Gold Policy"

To find the correct value for the datastoreurl parameter, run the following command:


Replace DATASTORE_NAME with the name of your vSphere datastore.

Use the value for URL from the output for datastoreurl. An example output looks like the following:

  Type:      VMFS
  URL:       ds:///vmfs/volumes/5d864fa0-7f2184d4-8eb4-3cfdfe0ce9a0/
  Capacity:  20479.8 GB
  Free:      10066.9 GB

Volume cleanup

Volumes provisioned by the vSphere CSI driver are not deleted when you delete a user cluster. You should delete all PVCs and StatefulSets before deleting the cluster. To delete your volumes, run the following command:

kubectl delete statefulsets,persistentvolumeclaims --namespace=MY_NAMESPACE --all

Replace MY_NAMESPACE with your Kubernetes namespace.

If you deleted a user cluster without deleting its volumes, you can find the volumes in vSphere user interface:

  1. Select a datastore.

  2. Navigate to Monitor > Cloud Native Storage > Container Volumes.

  3. In the Details section of each volume, you can see the Kubernetes cluster name.

Disabling vSphere CSI driver

To remove vSphere CSI support, add the following to your user cluster configuration:

# (Optional) Storage specification for the cluster storage:
# To disable the vSphere CSI driver, set this to true. The value is set to false by default and 
# the vSphere CSI driver is enabled by default on vSphere version >= 6.7U3.
  vSphereCSIDisabled: true

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