Creating a VMware Datastore on DataGravity storage

I have recently been evaluating and getting to know the initial storage offering from DataGravity. In short they offer a unique storage array that offers hybrid storage and storage analytics all in one simple and easy to use offering. As I work with the product I will probably write up a few blog posts on how to work with things. Expect a detailed review over at Data Center Zombie soon after the new year.

I’m finding the product to be very easy to work with and thought a simple walk through on how to create a new export that will be mounted as a VMware datastore would be helpful.

Step 1

Upon logging into the management page for a DataGravity array you will see the following welcome screen. I will be creating some new storage, so I will click on the storage choice to proceed.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 1

DataGravity Datastore – Step 1

 

Step 2

The storage choice displays a number of options once clicked on. These are the major functions for creating and managing storage on the array. Click on the Create Datastore to proceed with the task for this post.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 2

DataGravity Datastore – Step 2

 

Step 3

This first step of creating the Mount Point that will be a datastore is to provide a name, capacity sizing and an option description.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 3

DataGravity Datastore – Step 3

 

Step 4

This step is where you will grant access for the hosts in the clusters that will utilize this new datastore. The image shows that I have already added the first host and by clicking the blue plus button you can add the other hosts.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 4

DataGravity Datastore – Step 4

 

Step 5

The following image shows the process for adding another host. You can enter the host name or IP address for enabling access.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 5

DataGravity Datastore – Step 5

 

Step 6

The policy step is where you can select an existing Discovery Policy or create another. In short these policies govern how the data is analyzed and protected. Once ready, click the Create button at the bottom and it will then be ready to configured on the vCenter side.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 6

DataGravity Datastore – Step 6

 

Step 7

Now that the mount point is ready I have selected one of my vSphere hosts and will add NFS storage to it. I have provided the IP for the data path to the storage array. The Folder is the same as the mount point name that we created earlier. And the datastore name can be what you like, I have made it the same as the mount point name.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 7

DataGravity Datastore – Step 7

 

Step 8

Once all of the steps to create the mount point and it’s presented on the VMware side I have taken a look back in DataGravity to list the mount points on the array. From here you can see what was created along with details about capacity and protection policy.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 8

DataGravity Datastore – Step 8

 

Step 9

The last view here is looking at our new mount point created. I have moved a few VMs onto the datastore and details about them have already started to appear. DataGravity is VM-aware so you have access to more data than a legacy array would show.

DataGravity Datastore - Step 9

DataGravity Datastore – Step 9

 

By now you have an idea on how easy it was to create and presented a new datastore. The other functions on DataGravity are also very easy to use.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix 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 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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What does Converged Infrastructure mean to you?

Over the past several years I have been in countless discussion around Converged Infrastructure (CI) and what it is and the benefits that it provides. The one thing that I keep noticing is that there is a large variance in what CI means to different people. So I thought that in effort to get feedback from others and provide some of mine I would write this post to get the discussion started.

There are a number of vendors in the market today, that are selling some form of a converged infrastructure product or solution.

My definition of Converged Infrastructure

In my mind I think that for something to be considered CI it must do two things. It must converge at least two hardware or infrastructure pieces, such as compute and networking or server and storage. I think that it must also do a good job of converging the management of these converged pieces in a single place. For example Cisco UCS converged compute with network and storage networking. UCS manager is a single point of management to setup and maintain this type of CI. UCS has dramatically changed the server market over the past few years and laid the foundation for what others consider CI in the next section.

Under my definition I think that Cisco UCS, VMware EVO:RAIL, Nutanix, Simplivity and a few others are doing this effectively today. They may call it different names but it comes down to converging hardware and making it easier through software. I will attempt to explain through the image below. The following van is an elegant solution created at the factory that was purpose built and fully integrated. Each part of this vehicle was built to be one solution, there are no out of place windows, radios and tables. Everything was considered when designing it for the purpose.

Roadtrek_Introduces_SS-Agile_on_New_Style_Sprinter_Van_50

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix 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 6 years for 2016 - 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 expand a Nutanix cluster

I’ve been spending time getting to know the Nutanix platform in greater detail. I’ve heard a lot about the product and seen countless demos. But I wanted to get seat time with the product and find out how things really work. As I complete these tasks I will be writing up a detailed review that will be made available on Data Center Zombie.

The Nutanix product is built as a scale-out platform and I wanted to find out exactly how easy it would be to scale things out. So I setup a lab experiment and documented the steps to add a host to an existing Nutanix cluster.

 

Nutanix hardware inventory

Once logged into the Nutanix management page for the storage cluster, select Hardware from the drop down menu shown in the image below. This will show you a high level detail about the nodes and hosts in your cluster. This lab has one Nutanix Block and currently 3 hosts are configured into the cluster. The system has discovered another host and this is what I will be adding to the cluster.

nutanix-expand02

 

From the same hardware menu look for the Expand Cluster button shown by the #2 in the image below. Click this to get the process started.

nutanix-expand03

 

This is a small popup window that will show you any blocks or hosts that have been discovered. My lab example here is showing the existing block with host D being discovered. I check the boxes and the system shows the IP configuration for the host that I am asking to be added to the cluster. Click Save to get the process started.

nutanix-expand04

 

The following confirmation screen is shown and you can close when you verify the details.

nutanix-expand05

 

Once back at any of the menus with the Nutanix management page you will seen a blue circle on the top menu. This represents the task that it’s working on. I have clicked on it and you can see the process is shown and the progress it has made already.

nutanix-expand06

 

Once you see the process has completed I have navigated back to the hardware menu. We can now see that I have 4 hosts configured as part of my cluster. Also I now see in the host based stats we see all four hosts represented.

nutanix-expand07

 

If you have not already done then you need to make sure the new host is part of your vSphere cluster in vCenter. This process was extremely simple and completed in a short amount of time.

 

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix 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 6 years for 2016 - 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 initialize a new HP EVA storage array

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while and finally got around to doing it. This is something that needs to be done to a new EVA array when they are first installed. I have found that sometimes this work is done by the installing Engineer or you can do it yourself if your setup was not ready when the device was installed.

Before you can start you need to have a few things setup and ready before you can initialize the array. The first thing that must be done is to install HP Command View EVA on a server that is SAN connected and has been zoned in to see the EVA array. This is essential because Command View EVA is used to manage the array.

You can see from the image below that I have logged into Command View EVA and it’s showing my new EVA and from the lower part of the screen in Red that the System is Uninitialized. So the first thing that I like to do is look over the EVA and make sure things match up to what was ordered. Once I am comfortable that everything is as expected I am ready to Initialize the array. To get this started just click on the Initialize button located at the top of the main screen.

After clicking on the Initialize button you will be presented with the following confirmation screen. The system is warning you that any data on drives will be lost. This is not a concern in this situation since this is a new Storage Array.

After clicking OK on the warning screen you will be presented with the following screen that allows you to set several features that will affect how your Array will function. I will not cover them all but the main ones. The first and most obvious is setting the System Name this will be what you want the EVA system name to be. Next is to select the Disk Failure Protection settings, this allows you to select the number of Hot Spare disks that will protect your Disk Groups. The options for this setting are None, Single or Double. This is a setting that should be selected carefully based on your needs. The next setting is the Disk group type setting, depending on your choice here will determine which Raid selections are available for use. With the Standard option you can use Raid 0, 1 and 5, and by selecting the Enhanced option you get the same Raid levels with the addition of Raid 6 to use.

In the section just below the name field you can set the number of disks that will be placed in the Default Disk group that will be created in this process. In the image below it’s showing us there are 74 disks online. In the field I have selected to have 8 place in the group, the remaining 62 disks would be place in the ungrouped disks section. If you know all of the disks are of the same size and class you could just dump them all into the initial group and save time.

The lower part of the screen from above is allowing you to set how the system time will be managed. I have selected to use the Management server which is the Command View server. Once all of your settings are done click the Initialize button at the top of the screen.

You will be presented with the warning shown below that confirms the disk group settings selected in the previous stage.

After confirming the warning listed above the system will start to initialize. You will seen a screen like the one below. This task can take from a few minutes to more than an hour.

Once the Initialize process completes you will get a confirmation screen like the one below and from the tree view on the left the array now reflects the system name that was assigned to it.

You can see from the image below that I have now expanded the tree to show the disk groups. In the default disk group that was created you can see the 8 disks that I choose to have placed in there. The remaining disks in the array were placed in the Ungrouped Disks section. I will change the name of the Default Disk group and continue to add more disks to the group.

From the image below you can now see the new disk group name. I will next start to add the Ungrouped disks into the group that I created. I won’t go into HP’s strategy to managing EVA arrays I’ll leave that for another post. But the short version is HP recommends creating large disk groups with like sized disks and add them in multiples of 8 disks. Also from the image below when clicking on a disk you can see the firmware version on the disk and its capacity size. You can use a Code Load when you finish grouping the disks to make sure they are all up to date on Firmware.

To add the disk to the group I created you just need to click on the disk and then click the Group button. You will then be asked to confirm the selection.

In this image you are asked to confirm the selection to group the disk. You must type YES and it does have to be in capital letters.

After passing the confirmation screen it will ask you what Disk Group you would like to add the disk to. You can see from the image below that you just choose the correct Group from the drop down list and then click Add Disk button.

And the final step shows that the Operation succeeded and the disk is now in the Disk Group that we selected. Now click OK and continue adding more disks to the group. Unfortunately using the Command View EVA console the disks can only be grouped one by one, so the process  can take awhile. If your a scripting person you may be able to use the SSSU command line that HP provides to add disks to a group.

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix 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 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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Which storage array vendors support VMware VAAI today

I’ve been waiting for someone to put something like this together for awhile now. If you wanted to know which Storage vendors are supporting VMware VAAI today or when they will be this list should help out. For myself it was clear that EMC and Equalogic had plugins out but only heard that others were coming soon. I would like to give big thanks to Tomi Hakala for pulling this list together. Watch his blog v-reality.info for updates.

I have to say that I’m a bit skeptical of the HP release dates for VAAI support. I have inquired about this internally with Product Managers and all I could get was sometime in calendar year 2011. That makes me think that it wont be Q1. I guess time will tell.

Update 12/22/2010 – I have been hearing the VAAI support for HP EVA and XP series will be in second half of 2011. Looks like they are saying that next major release of vSphere will be supporting a SCSI T10 standards based support for VAAI functions and they are waiting on this to release support. They will develop based on the standards support vs proprietary support.

Array When Good Firmware
3PAR Now 2.3.1 MU2
Compellent Q4/2010
EMC CLARiiON CX4 Now 30.5
EMC Symmetrix V-Max Q4/2010
EMC VPLEX Q1/2011
EqualLogic Now 5.0.2
HDS AMS 2000 Now 0893/E
HDS USP & VSP Q3 or Q4/2011
HP Lefthand P4000 Q4/2010
HP StorageWorks EVA Unknown
HP StorageWorks P9000 Q1/2011
HP StorageWorks XP Q3 or Q4/2011
IBM SVC Code 6.2
IBM XIV Code 10.2.4a
NetApp Q4/2010 8.0.1

About Brian Suhr

Brian is a VCDX5-DCV and a Sr. Tech Marketing Engineer at Nutanix 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 6 years for 2016 - 2011. VCP3, VCP5, VCP5-Iaas, VCP-Cloud, VCAP-DTD, VCAP5-DCD, VCAP5-DCA, VCA-DT, VCP5-DT, Cisco UCS Design

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