Tag Archives: VVOLs

Configuring VVols with HPE Nimble Storage

esxsi.com

This post will walk through the setup of VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) with HPE Nimble Storage. The post was originally published in September 2016 and has subsequently been brought up to date, the process remains largely the same and in this example we will use the vSphere 6.7 HTML5 client and Nimble software version 5.0.4. The terminology and features of Virtual Volumes are detailed in KB 2113013 (Understanding Virtual Volumes (VVols) in VMware vSphere 6.7).

HPE_Nimble

Nimble VVol Components

Nimble software includes the vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) provider and the PE (Protocol Endpoint) built into the operating system. This means that the VASA provider and Protocol Endpoint run natively from the controller, so there is no additional installation or configuration required. This design also benefits from the highly available setup of Nimble controllers.

Virtual machines are provisioned based on the VMware Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) framework which uses the…

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Configuring VVOLs with EMC Unity

This post will walk through the setup of VMware VVOLs with EMC Unity. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of Virtual Volumes then see this KB. You can read more about the EMC Unity physical array by reviewing the EMC Unity Setup Guide, or the Unity Virtual Appliance by reviewing the Deploying EMC Unity VSA post.

EMC Unity VVOL Components

The vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) provider is built into the controller, so there is no additional installation or configuration required. This design also offers high availability of VVOLs which is native to the controller configuration of the Unity product line. Virtual machines are provisioned based on the VMware Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) framework which uses the VASA client, both features are key to VVOLs and were introduced with vSphere 6.

The Unisphere interface was rebuilt when EMC introduced Unity; the first midrange EMC product to officially support VVOLs. Unity provides both NAS and SAN connectivity for VVOLs, meaning virtual volumes can be provsioined via Fibre Channel, iSCSI, or NFS. The Protocol Endpoints are the NAS Server interfaces, iSCSI initiators, and Fibre Channel ports zoned to the ESXi hosts. VVOLs reside in VVOL datastores, known as storage containers, which are made up of storage allocations from one or more capability profiles. A capability profile is built on top of one or more underlying storage pools – a storage pool can contain different disk types.

emcvvols

Prerequisites

  • Before you can implement VVOLs you need to be running vSphere 6.
  • If you have already licensed vSphere for standard or above there is no additional cost.
  • At the time of writing all products in the EMC Unity range support VVOLs. If you are using an alternative storage provider cross check your hardware with VVOLs in the VMware compatibility checker, and check with your storage provider that they support VASA.
  • Check the license pack for your Unity array covers VVOLs, this will be listed in the feature table on the licensing email from EMC. If you are unsure check with your account manager.
  • The Unity 300 and 400 arrays support up to 9000 VVOLs. The Unity 500 supports 13500 VVOLs and the Unity 600 supports 30,000 VVOLs.

EMC Unity Configuration

First let’s add the vCenter Server to Unity so that ESXi hosts can be discovered. Log into the Unisphere web client and select VMware from the Access menu on the left hand side. Select vCenters and click the add symbol to add the vCenter Server. Enter the vCenter details to discover ESXi hosts that are connected via the Protocol Endpoints.

hosts

To deliver virtual volumes we need a storage pool. A storage pool was most likely configured during the setup of the Unity array. However if not, then select Pools from the Storage menu, create a storage pool using the create pool wizard.

If you already have a storage pool select VMware from the Storage menu and open the Capability Profiles tab. A capability profile is used to advertise the available characteristics of a storage pool, in this case virtual volumes. Click the add symbol to create a new capability profile. Give the profile a name and click Next.

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Select the storage pool the capability profile should use and click Next.

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Review the summary page and click Finish.

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The capability profile will now be created.

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Once complete we can go ahead and create a storage container fo virtual volumes, in EMC this is called a VVOL datastore. Select the Datastores tab and click the add symbol to create a new VMware datastore. Select VVOL and click Next.

vvol5

Enter a name for the virtual volume datastore and click Next.

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Select the capability profile we created earlier and click Next, multiple capability profiles can be assigned.

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Configure the hosts that should have access to the virtual volume datastore and click Next.

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Review the summary page and click Finish. Storage containers are now presented to the vCenter hosts specified during access configuration, these are thin provisioned by default. For further details see the official EMC Unity VVOLs White Paper.

vSphere Configuration

Since VVOLs are a new feature of vSphere 6 all configuration is done in the vSphere web client. The first task is to register the Unity VASA provider; from the home page in the vSphere web client click vCenter Inventory Lists, vCenter Servers, select the vCenter Server, click Manage and open the Storage Providers tab. Click the green add symbol to add a new VASA provider. Enter the URL of the Unity system and admin credentials, click Ok. The URL should be in the following format https:// :8443/vasa/version.xml where is the management IP address or FQDN of the Unity system.

storageprovider

Next we can provision VVOLs from the storage container (or VVOL datastore in EMC Unity) that we just created. From the home page in the vSphere web client click Storage, and Add Datastore. Pick the datacentre location and click Next, select VVOL as the type of datastore and click Next.

vvoldatastore

The available storage container should now be highlighted, verify the name and size, enter a name for your new datastore and click Next.

vvoldatastore2

Select the hosts that require access and click Next, review the details in the final screen and click Finish. You may need to do a rescan on the hosts but at this stage we are ready to provision a new virtual machine to the virtual volume datastore with the default storage policy. This represents VVOLs in its simplest form, the virtual machine files are now thin provisioned and stored natively in the storage container we created on the Unity array. You can create additional storage based policies using the vSphere 6.0 Documentation Centre.

The release of vSphere 6.5 included VVOLs 2 built on VASA 3.0 which features support for array based replication. You can read more about what’s new here.

Configuring VVols with HPE Nimble Storage

This post will walk through the setup of VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) with HPE Nimble Storage. The post was originally published in September 2016 and has subsequently been brought up to date, the process remains largely the same and in this example we will use the vSphere 6.7 HTML5 client and Nimble software version 5.0.4. The terminology and features of Virtual Volumes are detailed in KB 2113013 (Understanding Virtual Volumes (VVols) in VMware vSphere 6.7).

HPE_Nimble

Nimble VVol Components

Nimble software includes the vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) provider and the PE (Protocol Endpoint) built into the operating system. This means that the VASA provider and Protocol Endpoint run natively from the controller, so there is no additional installation or configuration required. This design also benefits from the highly available setup of Nimble controllers.

Virtual machines are provisioned based on the VMware Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) framework which uses the VASA client, both features are key to VVols and were introduced with vSphere 6. Nimble folders were added in v3 of the OS and represent a logical allocation of capacity, vSphere sees the folders as containers where virtual volumes can reside.

Prerequisites

  • Before you can implement VVols you need to be running vSphere 6 or above.
  • If you have already licensed vSphere for standard or above there is no additional cost.
  • Nimble arrays must be running OS v3.x or above.
  • There are no additional licensing requirements or costs to use VVols with Nimble.
  • Nimble have included the vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) in the software. Check with your storage provider that they support VASA 2.0 (vSphere 6.0) or VASA 3.0 (vSphere 6.5).
  • At the time of writing all Nimble storage support VVols. If you are using an alternative storage provider cross check your hardware with VVols in the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Nimble Configuration

Log into the web interface of the Nimble device.

Nimble_VVols_1

The first thing we need to do is integrate the VASA provider with vSphere. From the drop down Administration menu select VMware Integration. Add the vCenter Server or edit an existing vCenter integration to select the VASA Provider (VVols) check box and click Save.

Nimble_VVols_2

The next task is to setup a folder for VMware to use as a storage container. From the drop down Manage menu select Data Storage, change the view to Folder and click the Add button.

Enter a name and description for the new folder. If you have setup multiple pools of storage then select the pool to use, otherwise leave at default. If required you can set a usage limit on the folder, this does not create a reservation but puts a cap on the amount of storage VMware can use for Virtual Volumes. From the Management Type drop down menu select VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols), and select the vCenter server that will be managing the Virtual Volumes, click Create.

Nimble_VVols_3

The new folder should now be visible in the folder tree on the left hand pane, once vCenter starts using this container for Virtual Volumes you will see VMDK and other files stored natively within the folder

The final step is to examine the existing performance policies, from the Manage drop down menu select Performance Policies. There are multiple pre-configured performance policies, if required you can create your own. These policies can later be defined in vCenter as part of a Virtual Machine (VM) Storage policy.

Nimble_VVols_4

vCenter Configuration

Configuring Virtual Volumes can be done in either the vSphere web client or HTML5 client. The first task is to add the folder we just created as a VVol storage container; from the home page click Storage, expand the vCenter and right click the data center, select Storage, and New Datastore. Set the datastore type to VVol and click Next.

Nimble_VVols_5

The available Nimble folder should now be highlighted, verify the name and size, enter a name for your new datastore and click Next.

Nimble_VVols_6

Select the hosts that require access and click Next, review the details in the final screen and click Finish.

Nimble_VVols_8

You may need to do a rescan on the hosts but at this stage we are ready to provision a new virtual machine to the Virtual Volume datastore with the default storage policy.

Nimble_VVols_12

This represents VVols in its simplest form, the virtual machine files are now thin provisioned and stored natively in the folder we created on the Nimble array.

Nimble_VVols_13

The final phase is to configure VM Storage Policies to meet your own requirements, there are a number of policies built into the Nimble software which we examined earlier, or you can create your own. To map a VM Storage Policy through to a Nimble Performance Policy browse to the vSphere client and click Policies and Profiles, select VM Storage Policies, the default policies are listed.

Click Create New VM Storage Policy, enter a name and description for the policy and click Next.

Nimble_VVols_9

Under Policy Structure select Enable rules for “NimbleStorage” storage and click Next. Under NimbleStorage Rules add the desired rule that exists upon the Nimble, click Next. From the Storage Compatibility table select the datastore we added for Virtual Volumes, click Next. Review the Storage Policy details and click Finish.

Nimble_VVols_10

The policy can now be selected from the drop-down VM Storage Policy menu when provisioning a virtual machine.