This year, July has been a crazy month for me so far (and we are only through half of it) both personally and professionally, long off site trips with both training and customer activities (more to come on this one later on..)

This month also symbolizes the end of an era where NASA lunched their last Shuttle – ATLANTIS to space..

while I was never a true Space Fanboy, TV series such as SG1/SG Atlantis and the movie: E.T always sparked my imagination mainly because their explore new worlds, a lot of their missions actually revealed different life forms and I always enjoyed the interaction between the species, in the case of E.T, it was the special “link” E.T had with the boy…

This month also symbolized the newly announced vSphere 5 and what a release it is!

While im not going to cover all the new features, I can say that for the first time the circle is now complete, VMware can truly “talk” and “understand” the storage layer (providing your storage vendor support it)

the feature I’m talking about is VASA (vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness)

what is VASA exactly:

It is a VMware-defined API to obtain and display storage information through vCenter. VASA provides the VMware administrator with visibility into basic storage components (arrays, storage processors, LUNS, and file systems) and helps facilitate intelligent conversations between storage and VMware administrators, particularly when coupled with VMware-aware Unisphere.

•With VASA, storage vendors can publish the capabilities of their storage to vCenter.

•Through the new Storage Policy-based Service, these storage capabilities can then be displayed in vCenter to assist administrators in choosing the right storage in terms of space, performance and SLA requirements.

•This information can also be used to monitor the health & usage of the storage and report to the administrator if storage policies are not being met.

•This is an end to end story, i.e. storage array informs VASA storage provider of capabilities & then the storage provider informs vCenter, so now users can see storage array capabilities from vSphere client.

the figure below shows the newly added VASA related icons to vCenter 5

the VASA specific storage array will have to be added to vCenter using a Certificate (this version will allow a self-signed certificate)

you will also need to install EMC Solution Enabler in order to provide the VASA Provider on a VNX and the VMAX array, at a later stage, the VNX array will have a built in provider.

After you successfully added  the VASA Provider to vCenter, the VM Storage Profiles should display any storage capabilities provided to it by the VASA Provider.

This Feature in conjunction with another newly announced feature – SDRS (Storage DRS) will allow the Virtualization Administrator to place the VM in the right Data Store without worrying to much about performance., WHY? you are probably asking yourself, well, in order to understand this, we will need to understand what SRDS is:

SDRS will allow the Virtualization administrator to group different datastores from the same storage type family (SAS, NL-SAS etc`) to a big pod of a logical storage unit (Datastore Cluster), and then upon the creation of a new VM, the vSphere layer will know which is the best datastore under the datastore cluster to first place this new VM, how does it’s doing it, well, it’s done based on free capacity and I/O Utilization, so for an example in the figure below, there is a good chance that datastore 1 will be selected, but you are pointing the VM to the datastores cluster, NOT to Datastore 1



SDRS also works as an on going mechanism (think about the end of day maintenance) so it will move VM’s based on Capacity Utilization (more than 80% utilized) and I/O utilization (15 ms I/O latency), it will use sVmotion to move VM’s from one datastore to another Datastore on the same DS Cluster.

The default settings can be changed as shown in the figure below:

So, how does it all tight together, how exactly is the circle now completed, you are probably wondering, if I have SDRS would I need to use EMC FAST VP technology?

the answer to this is: ABSOLUTELY YES!

the reasoning behind this is pretty simple, say you have a 2TB Oracle VM that is now running in a SDRS Cluster, and SDRS will be smart enough to know that the I/O that is needed for this VM is more than what the current datastore that this vm reside in can offer, SDRS will need to move the entire 2TB to another datastore and even that can change in the future..on the other hand EMC FAST VP technology will know to move the Specific Blocks on this VM that needs to be moved to an higher tier (or a lower tier as well..) this will allow up to X 10-100 better / faster granularity of the block movements.

The figure below shows the EMC VMAX FAST VP Overview, however, FAST VP works across ALL of the EMC Arrays!

how do you configure SDRS and FAST VP to work in conjunction?

easy, on the VMware side you configure SDRS to work for the initial placement and to generate you Automatic recommendations to the VM moves and on the EMC side, you basically create a FAST VP enabled pool that automatically moves the blocks at the right time to the right Tier!.

in order to set SDRS for movement based on Space Utilization only you need to:

1. edit the SDRS Cluster Properties:

2. Turn On SDRS


3. in the SDRS Runtime Rules, Make sure that you DON’T select the “Enable I/O metric for SDRS recommendations”

4. That’s it!, you now have the option (like in the “old” DRS, to either let vSphere suggest the movement or do it automatically for you:

To summarize, VMware VAAI v2, VASA combined with the EMC winning technologies such as FAST VP & FAST CACHE combined with the unique VM aware storage we offer across the VNXe/ VNX/ VVMAX will provide both the storage administrator and the virtualization administrator the common language they have been lacking for quite some time..

  EMC Unisphere                                    SMC 7.3


That’s it for tonight’s Post, we can now FINALLY be able to talk to the Aliens..

1 Comment »

Leave a ReplyCancel reply