ESXCLI updates in PowerCLI 6.3 R1

One of the changes in VMware vSphere PowerCLI 6.3 R1 was a much needed one: how the arguments are managed with esxcli commands. This was always a bit of a pain, especially for commands that have a lot of arguments. I won’t go into the detail on all of why/what of the changes here, as Alan Renouf already did that quite well here. So if you are unsure of the previous ugliness of esxcli in PowerCLI read that post before reading more here. Otherwise, continue on. I want to talk about some specific examples for storage-related commands that I use and many of our customers use quite commonly.


FlashArray Deprecation of TLS 1.0 Support and the vSphere Web Client Plugin

In the recent release of the Purity Operating Environment on the FlashArray we deprecated TLS 1.0 support due to the ever growing list of vulnerabilities in it. Communication will be restricted to TLS 1.1 and later. Unfortunately, this affects some plugins/integrations. This is not an exhaustive list, but related to the ones VMware customers probably touch the most. If something is not listed ping the relevant support organization for more information.

The following plugins are NOT affected and will continue to work with Purity 4.7:

  • vRealize Operations Management Pack
  • vRealize Orchestrator Workflow Package
  • vRealize Log Insight Content Pack

The following are affected and will need to be upgraded to a specific version to work with Purity 4.7:

  • Site Recovery Manager Storage Replication Adapter (this needs to be version 1.5, which will be out soon)
  • vSphere Web Client Plugin (this needs to be version 2.0.10)
  • VSS Provider (this needs to be version 1.0.2)
  • PowerShell SDK (this needs to be version 1.5)


VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part V: How to snapshot a VMFS on the FlashArray

This is part 5 of this 8 part series. Questions around managing VMFS snapshots have been cropping up a lot lately and I realized I didn’t have a lot of specific Pure Storage and VMware resignaturing information out there. Especially around scripting all of this and the various options to do this. So I put a long series out here about how to do all of this.

The series being:

  1. Mounting an unresolved VMFS
  2. Why not force mount?
  3. Why might a VMFS resignature operation fail?
  4. How to correlate a VMFS and a FlashArray volume
  5. How to snapshot a VMFS on the FlashArray
  6. How to connect a local VMFS FlashArray snapshot (to be posted)
  7. How to connect a remotely replicated VMFS FlashArray snapshot (to be posted)
  8. Recovering/restoring a single VM from a FlashArray snapshot (to be posted)


Automatic protection during a FlashArray Snapshot Restore

Just a quick tip here, I’ve noticed a fair amount of people do not know what happens when we restore a volume concerning the special “hidden” operation we take in case you make a mistake. So I thought it worth a quick post.


Using CLI and REST API to perform a FlashArray Protection Group Recovery

In Purity 4.6 a new CLI and REST API function has been released called protection group recovery. This feature allows you to take a protection group that has replicated snapshots and quickly provision its data to a host or cluster for DR or test/dev purposes or whatever.

A continuation of my 4.6 overview post.



Introducing FlashArray Purity Release 4.6

It has been awhile since I have done a solely Purity operating environment post and with the recent release of our Purity 4.6 operating environment I thought it was a good opportunity to do one. I will overview some new features and changes, some big some small.

4.6 has been in Directed Availability (DA) for some time, so many of you might already have this, but I decided to wait until it was closer to GA (this is imminent) to post. Not a gigantic release, but I think there is some cool stuff in it regardless.

Here is a brief listing of some of the new stuff:


  • VLAN tagging Introduces support for VLAN tagging for iSCSI connections to the FlashArray. VLAN tagging allows multiple VLAN interfaces to be configured on physical iSCSI ports.
  • Replication network bandwidth throttling Introduces the ability to set a maximum network bandwidth utilization for replication between two connected arrays. Allows configuration of a default maximum bandwidth and/or a time window during which a different maximum bandwidth is enforced.
  • Deduplication-preserving replication Introduces the ability for Purity to preserve inline deduplication savings when transferring replication data to a target array, to reduce the network bandwidth utilization.
  • Protection group copy Introduces the ability to copy protection groups, including their member hosts, volumes, and snapshots. Protection group copy is supported in the CLI and REST API.
  • The Pure Storage SMI-S Provider Release 1.0.0 of the Pure Storage SMI-S provider is embedded in Purity 4.6.0 release. SMI-S enables both hardware and software interoperability between different vendors’ enterprise storage products and allows vendors to develop to a single standard interface. For more information, please see the SMIS-S release notes.
  • Improved readability of graphs in the Purity GUI In the GUI Dashboard and Analysis tabs, changes the color of the write graph to orange to distinguish it from the blue read graph.
  • CLI Changes This is mostly to cover the new features above
  • REST API version 1.5 Some new REST calls for new features and general enhancements and fixes for our REST API service.


vRealize Automation and the FlashArray

I want to say this is the culmination of my last almost two years of creating vRealize integration for Pure Storage, but that isn’t the right word. It is a milestone, because there is still so much more cool stuff to be done. Especially with vRealize Automation. In many ways it is just the beginning! But I can now demonstrate Pure Storage FlashArray integration with the whole vRealize stack: Log Insight, Operations, Orchestrator and Automation.

Log Insight has a Content Pack. Operations has the Management Pack. Orchestrator has the Workflow Package. Automation also uses that Workflow Package. Let’s talk about how.



Recent ESXi 6 Storage Bugs and the FlashArray

As you might be aware, there have been a few storage-related issues with ESXi 6.0 as of late:

Accidental PDL during dropped paths:

Storage PDL responses may not trigger path failover in vSphere 6.0 (2144657)

Host issues during smartd inquiries:

Issuing a 0x85 SCSI Command from a VMware ESXi 6.0 host results in a PDL error (2133286)

The question that comes up for the Pure Storage FlashArray is are we susceptible? The short answer is no. Let’s explain why. (more…)

Semi-transparent failover with VMFS and Active/Passive Replication

So in a blog series that I started a few weeks back (still working on finishing it), I wrote about managing snapshots and resignaturing of VMFS volumes. One of the posts was dedicated to why I would choose resignaturing over force mounting almost all of the time.

An obvious question after that post is, well when would I want to force mount? There is a situation where i think it is a decent option. A failover situation where the recovery site is the same site as the production site, in terms of compute/vCenter. The storage is what fails over to another array. This is a situation I see increasingly common as network pipes are getting bigger.


Pure Storage is hiring! Looking for a VMware Solutions Architect

We are hiring! The VMware-related work is rocking at Pure Storage and I need your help! We have a new position opened up for a counterpart to me, a VMware-focused Solutions Architect. Apply here:

A Solutions Architect means a lot of different things, depending on where you are, so let me outline what it means at Pure Storage.

  • Responsible for figuring out best practices, this means settings, recommendations, features to use or not use etc. This requires knowledge of the whole IT stack and the ability to test and defend these decisions
  • Working with engineering and product management to scope, design and test integration. This could be anything from scripting modules to plugins to SCSI support
  • Working with customers to understand requirements and the general needs of your focus area, this is REALLY important. Our SA team has a lot of input on direction when it comes to partner work at Pure Storage, so this input and the ability to define it accurately is paramount
  • Presenting skills. This might be executive briefings, trade shows, customer events, internal events, webcasts anything. You will present PPTs, video demos, live demos etc.
  • Scripting. Often scripting help is asked by our customers and SAs often help step in to assist with fundamentals
  • Blogging, social media. We want our SAs to be active online and seen as resources for information. YouTube videos, GitHub. You name it.
  • Writing. Like blogging, documentation is important. White papers and reference architectures come up a lot. Good technical writing skills is required.
  • Investigation. We want you playing with new software and hardware, finding helpful features, figuring out how things work, helping identify issues. A lot of projects are, hey here is software A and software B. See what can be done to combine the two. Curiosity is a must.
  • Work independently and be a leader. A SA here is very rarely told what to do at Pure Storage, it is often up to them to decide what they need to be doing. This is a nice freedom, but a big responsibility. Certainly plenty of tasks are assigned, but a big portion of your work is self-defined.
  • Travel. How much is somewhat up to you. Major tradeshows, Pure User Groups are a semi-requirement. Everything else is up to you.
  • Support. We have an amazing support organization, but every so often you will help with troubleshooting or implementation.
  • Pre-sales and post-sales support. Presenting once again, WebEx demos, etc. A solid amount of this.


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