How to configure EMC PowerPath to work with HP EVA storage arrays

On one of the projects that I have been working on lately we have been replacing all of the existing EMC storage with HP Storage. I’m not going to go into which one I think is better or worse. I am just going to cover how PowerPath is able to work with other storage arrays also. So in my search to determine if I would be able to continue to use the existing PowerPath licenses that exist at the client or if they would need to use the base MPIO software that HP provides. To those that have used PowerPath in the past you would probably agree that it is a great MPIO application and has a lot of other features available also.

For system admins it can make things like monitoring the health of your SAN connections and identifying which LUN correlates to the disk that you need expanded so much easier. So for these reasons it would be best for them to continue to use PowerPath. I searched the web for feedback to see what others have been doing and was surprised to see nothing. There was really no feedback out there. I did find some details about using PowerPath/VE with HP arrays but this version is for Hypervisors not Windows servers.

So after some further digging I was able to determine that I could use PowerPath version 5.5 with Windows servers to manage MPIO with HP Storage arrays. It will work with both EVA and XP class storage from HP. There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions available and I was able to test on both Windows Server 2003 and 2008 so far.

The install of PowerPath is pretty straight forward, the only thing that you must do special is to select the custom install option. You can see from the image below that you will have a few options to choose from for 3rd party Array support. I selected both the HP XP and Hitachi support since they will be using both EVA and HP XP’s which are made by Hitachi in the environment. After a reboot and a quick vDisk assignment on the EVA the storage was showing up properly in Windows.

The only part that was left was to get used to how the storage details would be showing up in PowerPath. Now when your using EMC storage the LUN ID with show up in the LUN column and is nice and clear. But when using it with the HP EVA the only way to match up the windows disk to the vDisk on the EVA was to use the Device details listed for the disk within PowerPath. I took a snapshot of the screen below.

You then need to match up the Device details that you found in PowerPath with the vDisk on the EVA that you can see by using the Command View EVA console. You can see that the WW LUN Name for the vDisk matches up with the Device column inside of PowerPath and this will help you match up your vDisks with the Windows disks. This makes disk expansions and assigning disks with different Raid levels to the proper drive letter in Windows much easier.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Microsoft updates Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 Beta

This tool continues to interest me for one main reason, the ability to patch offline virtual machines. That feature is something that has come up in a couple of projects recently. I look forward to this technology evolving into a final product. The latest Beta version of VMST is out and available here.

If you’ve used version 2.1, you know that it offers free, tested guidance and automated tools that let you safely service offline virtual machines in your SCVMM library. VMST 3.0 builds on this functionality, adding powerful new features designed to streamline the process of keeping your offline virtual machines, templates and VHDs up-to-date with the latest operating system and application updates, without introducing vulnerabilities into your IT infrastructure.  VMST 3.0 helps you effectively manage the workflow of updating your offline virtual machines according to their individual needs. One feature that will not be included in this beta refresh is the servicing of Hyper-V host failover clusters.

Using new features in VMST 3.0, customers can now service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

VMST 3.0 works seamlessly with other Microsoft technologies.

VMST 3.0 is designed to work with Microsoft® System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2008 or SCVMM 2008 R2, and with the following technologies:

  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 SP1 or WSUS 3.0 SP2.
  • System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 SP1, SCCM 2007 R2, or SCCM 2007 SP2.
  • VMST 3.0 also provides the option to manually copy updates to service offline VHDs.
  • The tool works with Windows Task Scheduler to enable scheduling the servicing job.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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VKernel announces Chargeback 2.0 for vSphere and Hyper-V shops

The team at VKernel have announced the release of Chargeback 2.0. The new release extends chargeback support to both Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 and VMware ESX environments. While I don’t know of many mixed environment shops yet, but I know that people will continue to move this direction. It’s nice to see vendors begin to update tools to support multiple vendors. I have not had a chance to look at this product yet but plan to test it in the future and will write up something about my experience. You can read more at their site http://www.vkernel.com/products/chargeback
Some text from their press release

The release also adds support for mixed chargeback models. VKernel Chargeback 2.0 now supports both allocated and actual resource consumption models. By reporting on both measures, infrastructure teams can chargeback for actual resource consumption, allocated resources, or simply show application teams the difference in real dollars between their allocated capacity and actual usage. This cost visibility is critical to capacity management, reducing VM spral and supporting private cloud initiatives.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Announcing the launch of The Virtual News – Get your Virtualization fix

I’ve been building a list of blogs and news sites that I read on a regular basis for sometime now. To this point I have been using a RSS reader that sync’s with Google reader to keep things centralized and backed up in case I have an issue. This works pretty well for myself but in talking with peers about what I’ve been reading lately there seemed to be a need for something the community could use as a central point to find good articles. There are obviously other sites like this for different topics but to my knowledge nothing for the Virtualization segment existed.

So today I would like to introduce The Virtual News to the public. Its in a public Beta phase I would say for now. My dream for the site is to become a central location where the community can share good articles with others interested in Virtualization related information. I look forward to the day that others are sharing great links via the site and I will discover bloggers and others writing content that I am interested in.

I welcome any suggestions or comments on the function, look and idea of the site.

http://www.thevirtualnews.com

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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How to view Cisco CDP information from a Windows server

By now most of you should be familiar with how to view CDP details from your VMware ESX server. This can be very helpful when working with your network team to identify what port and VLAN you are connected to. I use this commonly when setting up new ports or troubleshooting a possible network issue. It saves the time of going into the datacenter and trying to trace back the cables.

So this is a pretty easy thing to do on Windows also. You will need to download and install WinPcap and Windump tools. Both of these tools are free and small installs. There are many other uses for these tools, today I will just be covering how to user for CDP captures. One last note before starting is that if CDP is turned off on your Cisco switches you will not get any information when trying this.

The first thing you want to do is to install WinPcap and Windump is just a .exe and requires no install. Not to get a list of all network interfaces in your machine use the following command. You can use this information to choose a certain interface to capture details for. I typically like to capture the information for all interfaces so I do them one by one.

windump -D

Next we can run the actual command to capture the details. Use the command string listed below with the only bit that you will need to change is the -i part. This will allow you to select the different network interfaces that you listed in the previous command.

windump -i 1 -nn -v -s 1500 -c 1 ether[20:2] == 0x2000

Once you run the command above you should see an output similar to image below. I have highlighted the important sections that show the Address of the switches mgmt port, Port ID is the port your connected to and VLAN ID shows you the current VLAN setting for the port.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Memory over commit or Dynamic Memory coming to Hyper-V soon

In typical Microsoft fashion they are changing their stance on a very popular feature that Hyper-V could not support yet. Dynamic memory or memory over commit will be coming soon to Hyper-V. You can read the MS release here. It talks about the requests from clients to be able to achieve higher density of VM’s on servers.

  1. Use physical memory as efficiently and dynamically as possible without impacting performance. Customers investing in virtualization hosts are purchasing systems with larger memory configurations (32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB and more) and want to fully utilize this system asset. At the same time, they’re purchasing this memory to provide superior performance and to avoid paging.
  2. Provide consistent performance and scalability. One frequent comment from virtualization users is that they don’t want a feature with a performance cliff or inconsistent, variable performance. That’s makes it more difficult to manage and increases TCO.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Solutions Architect for a VMware partner and owner of this website. He is active in the VMware community and helps lead the Chicago VMUG group. Specializing in VDI and Cloud project designs. Awarded VMware vExpert status for 2013, 2012 & 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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