Deploying EMC Unity VSA

The EMC Unity product line is a mid-range storage platform built completely from the group up as an eventual replacement for most VNX and VNXe use cases. The Unity virtual storage appliance is a software defined storage platform bringing the software intelligence of Unity arrays to your existing storage infrastructure.

The Unity VSA is ideal for remote office and branch offices (ROBO) as well as hardware consolidation and IT staging and testing. It comes in a 4 TB free community edition and a subscription based professional edition which seamlessly scales up from 10 TB to 20 or 50 TB. The virtual storage appliance includes all the features of the Unity range such as replication, data protection snapshots, FAST VP auto-tiering and more.

See also EMC Unity Setup Guide, which covers a walkthrough on the setup of a physical Unity array.

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Key features

  • Affordable software defined solution
  • Deploy to your existing storage infrastructure
  • Quick and easy setup of CIFS, NFS and iSCSI
  • Unified block, file and VMware VVOLs support
  • Allows VMware administrators to manage storage from vCenter
  • HTML5-enabled Unisphere management
  • Manage virtual storage and physical arrays together

Requirements

  • ESXi 5.5 or later (must be ESXi 6.0 or later for VVOLs)
  • The use of VMware vCenter Server to manage ESXi is optional but recommended
  • The Unity VSA requires 2 vCPU, 12 GB RAM and 6 NICs (4 ports for I/O, 1 for Unisphere, 1 for system use)

If you are deploying the Unity VSA in a production environment then you should consider how the data is stored across your existing hardware ensuring RAID and HA are configured appropriately. If you are presenting VMware datastores or virtual volumes then contact EMC support for best practises and the VMware vStorage APIs for Storage Integration (VAAI) and vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA).

Deploying Unity VSA

Download the OVA file from https://www.emc.com/products-solutions/trial-software-download/unity-vsa.htm and deploy the OVA to vSphere. Accept the extra configuration options, this is just to disable time synchronisation of the virtual machine as it is controlled from within the appliance.

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The only customisation settings required are the system name and network settings.

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Once the appliance has been deployed right click the virtual machine and select Edit Settings. Add the virtual hard disks required for the file systems on your virtual appliance, this can be done later but you will not be able to create any storage pools until additional disks are added. Note that virtual hard disks 1 – 3 are for system use and should not be modified.

Powered on the appliance, when it has fully booted browse to the IP address configured during the OVF deployment process. Log in with the default user of admin with password Password123#.

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The Unisphere configuration wizard will auto start, click Next.

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Accept the license agreement and click Next.

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Configure the admin and service passwords, click Next.

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Obtain a license key from https://www.emc.com/auth/elmeval.htm and click Install License to upload the .lic file, click Next.

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Configure the DNS servers and click Next.

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Configure the NTP servers and click Next.

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You can create a pool now or later. To create a storage pool now click Create Pools. Unisphere scans for virtual disks available to the VM that can be used for a storage pool. Once the storage pool has been created click Next.

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Configure the SMTP server and recipients for email alerts, click Next.

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Add the network interfaces to use for iSCSI and click Next.

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Add a NAS server to store metadata, click Next.

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This concludes the Unisphere configuration wizard.

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You will be returned to the Unisphere dashboard.

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The virtual storage appliance has now been deployed and uses the same software and Unisphere interface as its hardware counterpart. From here you can go ahead and setup CIFS and NFS shares or present iSCSI targets.

EMC Networker Restore

This post explains the process of restoring a physical machine that has been backed up prior by Networker. The restore process will be a bare metal restore and is specific to environments where two NICs are used for backup, for example a private backup VLAN and a public VLAN. The Networker Bare Metal Recovery Wizard can only configure one physical NIC, therefore we need to use the CLI to configure the second NIC.

Procedure

To restore a physical server using a bare metal restore we first need to boot from the EMC Networker BMR ISO. Mount the ISO through the iLO or load the physical media into the server.

Once you have booted from the ISO you will be presented with the Networker Bare Metal Recovery Wizard. This may take 5 – 10 minutes to load after the command prompt window.

Set the current date and time, click Next.

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Select the network interface that you want to configure, for this you should select the NIC that is connected to the public VLAN (i.e. the server OS netork settings) and click Next.

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In the host and network screen enter the server name and domain if applicable. Enter the servers network settings and click Next. If the network is not configured correctly the restore will fail.

Confirm the physical disk on the server that you want to restore to and click Next. Note that the disk will be formatted and any existing data on the disk will be overwritten.

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Before selecting the restore server we need to take some additional steps. In the background you will see a command prompt, you will need to do the following:

Configure the backup VLAN IP address using:

  • netsh interface ip set address name=”Ethernet Adapter” static <IP> <Subnet Mask> replacing Ethernet Adapter with the name of the interface connected to the backup VLAN, and the IP and subnetmask accordingly.
  • Run ipconfig /all to confirm the network settings are correct for both interfaces.
  • Test network connectivity by pinging other IP addresses on the same subnet.
  • If the server does not have access to DNS then you can type notepad.exe in command prompt and then open Boot (X:) > Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Add the IP and host names of any servers you need to resolve and save the file.

Go back to the Networker Bare Metal Recovery Wizard. You should be on the Select Server page. Enter the name of the Networker server you are restoring data from and click Next.

If you entered incorrect network settings in the previous step then this lookup will fail. If the client is able to connect then you will be asked to select the backup you want to restore from.

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Confirm the partitions to be restored on the next page and click Next.

Double check the information on the summary page and start the restore. Again note the warning that data on the disk(s) will be overwritten.

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When the restore has completed the results page will appear. If the result was successful then click Reboot, the server will be restarted and boot to the recovered operating system.

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