Archive for the ‘VMware’ Category

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

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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

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There are many many posts out there on this already but I thought by way of a blog post me sharing what I used to learn may help somebody sitting on the fence regarding certifications  or re-certifications and also skilling up on VMware vSphere 6. I just passed VCP6-DCV so thought I would capture my thoughts while it was still fresh.

The main objective for me was to re-immerse myself in vSphere. I recently after much lobbying have joined the VMware team at work now splitting my time with Data Center team (EMC/VCE/Cisco/Brocade) and the VMware team. From a post sales (PSO type role) I will focus on becoming a core vSphere, VMware SRM, vROPS and VSAN SME. For my Pre-Sales VMware SE hat a wider brief is necessary but looking forward to that as I have NSX, Automation and DevOps SME’s in house to call on while the ramp up happens there too. The point here is to say my journey is only beginning so watch this space 🙂

vSphere 6 Training Resources

Greg Shields has put together an excellent training series on vSphere 6 for Pluralsight. As an EMC Elect member Pluralsight very kindly gave a free years subscription so I could take advantage. This course (and many other related and unrelated courses) are well worth checking out!

http://blog.pluralsight.com/learning-path-vmware-vsphere-6-data-center-virtualization-vcp6-dcv

I was lucky enough to attend a classroom based training course which was pitched to align to VCP6-DCV which it will more than cover and it did give me well needed hands on with the trainer fielding my many questions. But in truth the course had so much detail it intimidated me a bit to the point that I didn’t know the manual detail cover to cover so thought I was goosed for the exam but you  will certainly not need to (for VCAP yes) so fear not. The course is excellent to learn vSphere in great detail which is better than any result in an exam. Course link and spec below

VMware vSphere: Optimize and Scale v6

At VMworld I attended sessions on Managing vSphere 6.0 deployments which were excellent. I downloaded these sessions as an education for myself and there are some nuggets there even for the more seasoned among ye. These are available free here  for viewing or download so utilise it. The particular sessions that will help with up-skilling on vSphere 6 and prepare you for VCP6-DCV are;

INF4944 – Managing vSphere 6.0 Deployments and Upgrades, Part 1
INF5123 – Managing vSphere 6.0 Deployments and Upgrades, Part 2

As I was watching this back I saw on one of the slides a resource the presenters used for demos. I didn’t utilise it for my VCP6 but I will for field work, general knowledge and as Sunny Dua mentioned in becoming a vSphere 6 Ninja. Check this free VMware resource out for product and feature walkthroughs.

https://featurewalkthrough.vmware.com

From a book perspective I kept it to one  for the moment (others ready for design and advanced admin I won’t bore you with now) and that is Mastering vSphere 6 by Nick Marshall, Grant Orchard and Josh Atwell all of whom are vRockstars in the VMware community. For anyone who has not picked up one of the previous versions this is a really good book and should be on every engineers desk or laptop for reference.

vSphere 6 Study Guides

There are many study guides out there but I focused on two. Either one would do but two gives extra coverage for blue print topics in my opinion.

First up is the Unoffficial official guide By Josh Coen and Jason Langer. Very comprehensive and VEEAM kindly sponsored them to produce it

http://virtuallanger.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/vcp6-dcv_sg.pdf

The second one I referenced was from Vladan SEGET who has an excellent blog and active blog. You will find other study guides there as well as other resources so bookmark it.

http://www.vladan.fr/vcp6-dcv/

Hands-on without your own lab

The VMware hands on labs came in handy from two perspectives. Firstly it gets you necessary face time (when you don’t have your own kit) with vSphere 6 to negotiate new features and also to review existing. Secondly the lab notes/script associated with the HOL was a very good reference as well as it documents new features all in one place as well as a refresher on common tasks. I unashamedly took “HOL-SDC-1410 – Virtualization 101 – vSphere with Operations Management (vSOM)” which can be found in the HOL catalog to find out vSphere 6 new features and walk-throughs.

Practice Questions

Paul McSharry has some excellent resources on his website but in particular I wanted to draw your attention to his practice VCP exam questions which he very kindly put together himself for the community which will quickly indicate to you whether you are ready to sit the exam or are still a bit off the pace.

http://www.elasticsky.co.uk/more-vcp6-dcv-questions/

Reflections and what’s next

This is a comprehensive list to get through and all are not necessary to pass the VCP6-DCV exam. I didn’t cover everything comprehensively as I simply didn’t have the time and eating into family time studying isn’t that fair in December so wanted to get it knocked out. I didn’t ace the exam in 20 minutes or anything I found it a fair but tough enough test of knowledge. I am going to continue to use and reference these resources now to plug any weak areas the exam identified.

I am looking forward to preparing for VCIX6-DCV which is my next target along side my other short term goal of more consultancy and hands on field work. The VCIX6-DCV will have Advanced Admin (VCAP6-DCA) and Advanced design exams (VCAP6-DCD) for one badge/cert. These v6 exams have not been released yet but more detail on the news to come can be found here. Advanced Admin (VCAP6-DCA) will be my first goal so I may be picking a few peoples brains on how best to prepare as I have never done one of the VMware advanced or lab based exams before. It will be a challenge but one that I finally need to get off the pot and go after!

Usual disclaimer folks

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Hello World

Well I’ve finally decided to take the plunge into the world of blogging! I have done some serious procrastination on this front but with some coaxing (more on that later today) I have decided now is as good a time as any to give back.

Those that know me would acknowledge that I am quite active on twitter and linkedin sharing other bloggers and vendors content as well as positively interacting on discussions but this site will be my musings from my own day job and technology passions which the IT Community at large can hopefully benefit from. This site may not be for everyone but if only a handful get use out it then it will be worthwhile!

For those that don’t know me you can read about me here.

I am a definite rookie at blogging so please feel free to provide feedback you think will benefit me. I better figure out what to post now…

Like most personal technology blogs my views are my own and not that of my employer, see disclaimer.

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