After much deliberation the Dell EMC Elect members have been elected. This year had a whole new excitement following the merger of Dell TechCenter Rockstars and EMC Elect. Founders from both programs established the program and the interaction was great from the get-go.

Congratulations to all who made the official list which can be found here. The criteria for making the list can be seen below;

Key Characteristics of an outstanding EMC Elect candidate include:

  • Engagement – Members are those engaging here on the DECN, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and in person at events.
  • Commitment – Being a part of the Dell EMC conversation day in and day out, offering thoughtful feedback and staying optimistic in your language.
  • Leadership – The kind of people who take every opportunity to engage with their peers and represent others as part of the community.

My own adaption of these characteristics can also be found in my last post.

There are some serious contributors on board now which I am certain will raise the profile of the Dell EMC Elect program to new levels and will in turn provide greater support for the wider Dell EMC community. There will be some disappointed not to make this list and all I can say is that there were nominees who made it this year who were disappointed last year. Continued demonstration of the key characteristics tipped them over the winning line!

Now the real work starts….

 

 

dell_emc_elect_form_image

After much discussion and debate the new DellEMC Social Influencers group has been established. The group combines EMCElect and Dell TechCenter Rockstars groups to represent the new world now the acquisition of EMC by Dell is complete and well behind us.

As the title of the post indicates we have a name but now we need to recruit members. Nominations are now open so please feel free to nominate yourself or other individuals who you feel are deserving of your vote. Ideal candidates will add value to the social and community engagement of the Dell EMC brand. Whether this be sharing content on the various social feeds, producing blog content, providing technical assistance on the various technical community sites, evangelising Dell EMC technology or acting as a leader for your organisation in Dell EMC technology including 360 feedback to product management on constructive feedback on areas for the betterment of your own team but others by proxy.

Nominations are open from February 27th until March 17th. Nomination form can be found here. Get busy and vote! 

As a founder of this newly established group I have the privilege to be a judge for 2017 members. The benefits are that you get to be part of a close group with privileged access to product management and roadmap info as well as pre-release presentation of major product releases in your focus area. The group itself is a great experience to collaborate with peers who are like minded but vary in role types within Customer, Partner and Dell EMC organisations.

If you are unsure what the DellEMC community is all about you can reach out to me on twitter, linkedIn or comment here. Happy to help. Also you can the check out the DellEMCElect open community page here.

vsan

Just wanted to give you the heads up on some VMware Technical webcasts coming up on vSAN. These webcasts are great to brush up on the fundamentals as well as for business benefits. Also there are deeper dives into the technology for those looking to design vSAN solutions.

Registration is free so feel free to share

vSAN Online Fundamentals – March 8th, 10AM GMT:
Hyper‐Converged Infrastructure with VMware vSAN: What Is It and Why It Matters to Your Business – Register

Getting More Out of vSAN
Session 1 – March 14th, 10AM GMT “vSAN Architecture & Tips and Tricks for 6.5” –Register
Session 2 – March 24th, 10AM GMT “Server & Network Hardware Design Guide” – Register

HCI is very topical right now so tune in to find out what all the fuss is about

Meeting the Boss

  Meeting the Boss

My first Dell EMC World is complete and wow it certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry. I was delighted to be invited as a social influencer. Dell EMC (with backing right from the top) included Social Influencers in the same category as main stream press and analyst media. This was a bold step but ultimately it meant executive level access and a custom agenda of private briefings with Dell EMC no in fact Dell Technologies leadership team and sneak peaks at technologies not yet released. The recognition that the Social media audience and reach is a powerful media stream that can educate, critique and comment on proceedings while not in the form of an IDC report or wikibon interview report but can still be as effective in amplifying the Dell EMC technology breaking news and feeding back customer/partner sentiment to this news in a frank, professional and honest manner. For this all access level access and hospitality, a sincere thank you!

The EMC Elect were designated a number of these Social Influencer invites and boy did we make it count. The keyboards and phones were smoking hot from activity and from initial feedback this commentary was hugely beneficial to the public. Please do reach out and feedback what else would help with facilitating consumption of Tech content and news. You can see below from some of the Analytics that EMC Elect made their presence felt at this conference (in the most positive sense of the word).

emcelect-top-topic

In my last post I indicated that there was going to be a number of announcements that would highlight how the joint engineering efforts are moving at a rate of knots! Dell EMC World did not disappoint in this regard and below is a summary of the announcements;

  • VXRAIL 4.0: Dell PowerEdge servers now included, 3 node entry point, 5 VXRAIL series announced all quotable by November 12th. Chad Sakac has gone into good detail in this post. When this combines with vSAN 6.5 it will be very hard to beat in the HCI Appliance market.
  • Data Domain: Software/Virtual Edition version qualified on Poweredge servers now flash optimised is Cloud Enabled to Tier to cloud storage.
  • Isilon All-Flash: With twice the cluster capacity as well as much higher performance improvements of than that of hybrid solutions, Sam Shouse does a good summary of the product release here.
  • SC Midrange Storage: It’s not going away and in fact is being added to ViPR Controller support, powerpath support, VPLEX support and plans underway to have a Recoverpoint splitter.
  • ECS 3.0: Made up of 5 parts, Enterprise Features update (monitoring, retention and platform lockdown), ECS Dedicated Cloud Storage (off-premises to Virtustream housed ECS units), New D-Series hardware (for dense configurations 64% improvement), ECS Software certified on Dell poweredge servers and Integration with Data Domain as a supported cloud tier target.
  • XtremIO: This system just goes from strength to strength! Scale out File announced utilising Dell’s Fluidfs. I was lucky to attend a sneak peek of this technology (release due H22017) in a private session put on for the media (including Social media) and press.

There was so many good briefings and presentation sessions that one could not fit them all in. If anyone is looking for the publicly available session decks you can find them all here for viewing or download.

There was some very interesting Partner sessions too but one I made a point of attending was Positioning the Dell EMC Storage portfolio. There was some really hot debates going on here (yip I was no shrinking violet for those that know me LOL) and if it showed anything it was that the Partner/Channel are a passionate bunch who care about their customers and the Dell EMC Solutions we jointly bring to the market.

There is so much more to report but if I delay any longer with this it will never get out.

Above all I am really glad my goal of connecting with new people (re-establishing old connections) and making new friends came to fruition. Oh an Austin Salt Lick BBQ has to be experienced at least once in you life 🙂

 

I’m delighted to announce that I will be attending Dell EMC World event starting next Tuesday October 18th in Austin Texas. Courtesy of EMC Elect and under the umbrella of a Dell Social Influencer. Thanks to Mark Browne for the invite.

Since the acquisition of EMC finally closed on September 7th (and before) there has been an accelerated collaboration across the combined Dell Technologies portfolio to bring new solutions to the market. Tuesday will be a launch pad for a number of these announcements 🙂 I am really looking forward to meeting some familiar faces as well as building some new relationships. If you are attending don’t be shy in reaching out to me I am very happy to meet up.

The general session on Tuesday will take centre stage but there are some great sessions laid on for us to see;

Tuesday October 18th

Solution showcase

Wednesday October 19th

Converged Infrastructure: Your path to a simplified and more cost effective IT – MT20

Thursday October 20th

I was at two customer sites recently deploying VNXe Gen1 (VNXe3150) and VNXe Gen2 (VNXe3200) systems. On both occasions there was an element of surprise from the customer about provisioning capabilities of these systems to create NFS File Systems on the VNXe systems and then automatically add the VMware NFS datastores to appropriate ESXi hosts. The surprise was the tight integration with EMC VNXe and VMware vSphere making the provisioning process a quick, easy and painless process. Particularly the conversation around the VNXe3200 led me to identify some other great integrations between VMware VNXe3200 and VMware vSphere. This post will identify these integration points and outline how to configure them. Without further ado…

VMware Array Integration (VAI)

VAI is an end to end discovery of VMware environments from within the VNXe system console. VNXe3200 uses VAI to import and view VMware Virtual Centers, ESXi servers, virtual machines, and VM disks. Related ESXi hosts can be automatically registered by adding the vCenter or by entering IP address of individual ESXi hosts.

ESXi hosts

As indicated above the polling process to ESXi information  is done in the background and you can also poll a host or all hosts at any time upon user request. As seen below all relevant VM info can be viewed which can be very useful indeed.

VM Info

The VNXe3200 system can also create and monitor VMware NFS/VMFS datastores from within Unisphere for VNXe and VNXe CLI using VAI. Below is an example ESXi command that can be executed to achieve creating a 2TB NFS Datastore.

uemcli -d 10.244.221.76 -u admin -p Password123# /stor/prov/vmware/nfs create -name NFSSQLData01 -descr “SQL VMs” -server Nas01 -pool performance -size 2TB

The Datastore creation can be verified as follows;

uemcli -d 10.244.221.76 -u admin -p Password123# /stor/prov/vmware/nfs -id NFSSQLData01 show

The screenshots above were taken utilising the VNXe3200 demo tool which is freely available to download from ECN (EMC Community Network) site.

VMware vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI)

VAAI was brought about to improve host utilisation by offloading storage related tasks that would be more efficiently managed by the storage system than the ESXi host. The ESXi host hands off to the Storage Processor to complete the tasks which in turn acknowledges to the host when the task is complete. The following tasks (which are referred to as VAAI primitives) can be offloaded;

Block

  • Fully Copy or Hardware-Assisted Move
  • Block Zero or Hardware-Assisted Zeroing
  • Atomic Test and Set (ATS) or Hardware-Assisted Locking
  • Thin Provisioning (Dead Space Reclamation)

NAS

  • Fast Copy
  • Snap-of-Snap
  • Extended Statistics
  • Reserve Space

For VNXe3200 block the VAAI primitives are available by default on the ESXi host and no plug-in is required. You can verify VAAI is enabled as seen below

vSphere Client:
1. In the vSphere Client inventory panel, click the host.
2. Click the Configuration tab, then click Advanced Settings under Software.
3. Check that these options are set to 1 (enabled):
DataMover.HardwareAcceleratedMove
DataMover.HardwareAcceleratedInit
VMFS3.HardwareAcceleratedLocking

ESXi vCLI:

Use commands listed below and check if the Int Value is set to 1 (enabled):
# esxcli system settings advanced list -o /DataMover/HardwareAcceleratedMove
# esxcli system settings advanced list -o /DataMover/HardwareAcceleratedInit
# esxcli system settings advanced list -o /VMFS3/HardwareAcceleratedLocking

 

On the other hand the VAAI Plugin for file is not installed by default. It must be downloaded from EMC Support and then installed.

———–

Download

———–

https://download.emc.com/downloads/DL36290_vStorage_APIs_for_Array_Integration_(VAAI)_Plug-in_2.0.zip?source=OLS

 

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Installing

———–

After you uncompress the zip file, the VAAI Plug-in is available for installation.

  1. On the Virtual Center host, import the EMCNasVAAI plugin.zip bundle by using VMware Update Manager (VUM) 6.0 or 5.5 release.
  2. Create and attach the baseline on VUM by selecting the baseline type as Host Extension.
  3. Proceed to remediate the bundle on ESXi 6.0 or ESXi 5.5 host.
  4. Run esxcli software vib list | grep “EMC” command on the ESXi 6.0 or ESXi 5.5 host to ensure the EMCNasPlugin is installed after the reboot.

VMware Storage Integrator (VSI)

VSI enables the VMware vSphere admin from within the Web Client to manage and maintain the VNXe3200 for the following funtions

  • Viewing VNXe3200 Storage Property details
  • Provisioning of VNXe3200 storage for associated NFS Datastores, VMFS Datastores or RDMs

From  high level

  • Download the Storage Integration service vApp ovf file
  • Deploy the VSI vAPP
  • Register the VSI Plug-In
  • Registering the Storage Integration service in order to use VSI Plugin
  • Login into Storage Integration service as a storage admin and configure storage access for VNXe
  • Using VSI Plugin  in vSphere Web Client register VNXe storage system

VSI at this stage can be used to view and manage VNXe3200 Storage provisioning.

Full details of VSI (which covers not just the VNXe3200 storage system) Product can be found below    https://support.emc.com/docu62318_VSI_for_VMware_vSphere_Web_Client_Version_6.7_Product_Guide.pdf?language=en_US

VMware vStorage for Storage Awareness (VASA)

This VMware API enables storage vendors (EMC and it’s VNXe3200 in this instance) to present storage capabilities, topologies and state to vCenter via Storage Provider implementation. These exposed capabilities enables users to create storage policy based management.The VNXe3200 has native VASA support which means no plugin is required. The high level steps for utilising VASA with the VNXe can be summarised as follows;

  • Create VNXe3200 VASA Storage Provider
    • VASA URL and login credentials are all that is required
  • Create a VM Storage Profile based on known storage capabilities
    • e.g. Select a capability (Auto Tier Storage; Fast Cache; Thin) for a Fast Cache and Thin Enabled Pool with Tiered Storage
  • Create a new VM and when assigning storage select VM Storage profile created to identify compatible data store.

Note: VASA 2.0 released with vSphere 6 has undergone significant development in support of vVols but that could be the subject of a whole other post. 

A great demo of the VNXe3200 VASA implementation from EMC Corporate Engineering is included below for further reference

I hope people find this blog post covering the VNXe Integration points with VMware of benefit and can utilise this in their environments. Please feel free to share it about 🙂

Usual disclaimer folks

It’s that time of the year again when the new crew that have been selected to represent the EMC Elect are announced. Please find the definitive list here.

I was delighted to be asked to be part of the judging committee this year. An experience I will cherish. There was plenty of debate between judges in the run up to Christmas and in January. The criteria was very tough indeed and some folk lost out this year that did  surprise me. I can honestly say that all the members selected will be great for the EMC community at large and will turn up as great active contributors.

Slack was the tool we used to collaborate and it worked fantastically well. Great idea Mark Browne and Tommy Drogden!

For the disappointed nominees not selected this year, please do not be disheartened as a badge is not the measure of the person so keep interacting, keep sharing knowledge, keep informing EMC from the front lines what is not working and what is working.

As a judge I was automatically elected to the 2016 EMC Elect. Thanks to the folk who nominated me (anyway) I plan to make a difference this year and bring my A game. It will be a year of change and certain element of politics I am sure too as the merge with Dell concludes but the Elect will continue to connect people to technology and connecting people with a great community despite any distractions the merger brings 🙂

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