Using the vSphere Container Storage Interface driver

This page explains how to use the vSphere Container Storage Interface (CSI) storage driver with GKE on VMware clusters.


The vSphere CSI driver is deployed automatically in GKE on 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.


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

Verifying CSI prerequisites

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

Confirm driver availability

When the vSphere CSI driver is installed in your user cluster, a StorageClass called standard-rwo is created. To check that the driver is available on all nodes, run the following command:

kubectl get csinode -o=",DRIVERS:spec.drivers[].name"

You should see the following output:


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.

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:


where DATASTORE_NAME is 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

where MY_NAMESPACE is your Kubernetes namespace.

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

  1. In vCenter, select a datastore.

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

The Kubernetes cluster name is shown in the Details section of each volume.

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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