Category Archives: Pure Storage

VCSA 6.5 Fails to Boot

So one of our field engineers reached out to me because they had a power outage of some sort and their vCenter appliance failed to boot with these errors about starting up the services.

So this is a common that has happened many times as seen from these KBs and community posts:

Etc. Etc.

Simple blog post, and this is really more for my own future reference. But could help you if you don’t have the common mount problems in the forums etc.

Continue reading VCSA 6.5 Fails to Boot

FlashArray 3.0 Plugin for the vSphere Web Client

This is the start of many blog posts around the recent Purity 5.0 release. I figured I would start with one that doesn’t require an upgrade of Purity to even get!

Alongside Purity 5.0, we released the 3.0 version of theFlashArray plugin for the vSphere Web Client. This is bundled in Purity 5.0, so if you upgrade any one of your FlashArrays you can then use it to upgrade the plugin in one or all of your vCenters.

Let me be clear though–if you want to use VVols or ActiveCluster you need Purity 5.0. Without Purity 5.0, you can use the 3.0 plugin of course, but you can only use non-VVol or non-ActiveCluster features.

Continue reading FlashArray 3.0 Plugin for the vSphere Web Client

VVols: A Whole New World for SQL Server Virtualization

Ah, VVols. The VMFS Datastore killer. And very soon, the RDM killer.

Virtual Volumes (VVols) is a spec from VMware that allows storage vendors implement virtual disks as they see fit. On FlashArray, we’ve implemented VVols virtual disks as just regular volumes on the array.

Think about what that means for a second.

It means that you now get virtual disk granularity of VMs for not only data services on the array, like snapshots, and clones – but you also get virtual disk granularity for replication. You’re no longer forced to snapshot/clone/replicate entire datastores, or dealing with pesky, slow SCSI bus rescans and even more painful datastore resignature operations.

For a technical introduction to VVols, go ahead and watch this playlist with videos from my coworker and VMware extraordinaire, Cody Hosterman. Keep reading after for a discussion on running SQL Server workloads on VVols.

Done with the videos? Cool. If not, make sure you watch them later – they have the best explanation of how VVols work that I’ve seen out there. And even if you don’t use FlashArray, the explanation and concepts apply (mostly) the same.

SQL Server on VVols: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Did I scare you with the title? Sorry, that was meant to throw you off.

Repeat after me: VVOLS SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST CHOICE FOR VIRTUALIZING SQL SERVER ON TOP OF VMWARE VSPHERE, PERIOD.

With VVols, you maintain the performance of an RDM with the agility of a VMDK. No more worrying about thin vs eager zero thick or any of that nonsense!.

Moving between physical volumes, RDMs and VVols is extremely straightforward on FlashArray. A move to VVols from VMFS basically entails a simple storage vMotion, which on FlashArray is an array deferred, metadata-only operation. Since FlashArray is a data reducing array, a storage vMotion from VMFS to VVols is just a VAAI XCOPY operation. Your new “copy” will only consume a little bit of space for the metadata, and nothing else. An RDM to VVols migration is also pretty straightforward, and there’s no VMFS datastore “container” to worry about. It’s exactly the same layout on the array, whether you go physical, RDM, or VVols. And you’re not “stuck” with VVols once you make the decision to go down that route for a given virtual disk. If you need to go back to VMFS, just storage vMotion it back, simple as that.

When Can I NOT Use VVols Then?

There is only one scenario where you can’t quite use VVols for SQL Server, and that’s when you have shared storage between SQL Server instances, which is the case for Failover Cluster Instances (FCI), which you probably just call “clusters” and VMware keeps calling “MSCS” (for Microsoft Cluster Server), which is nomenclature from 2003, feels like 1989, and no one should be using anymore.

However, there’s good news on that front! VMware will support SCSI-3 reservations on VVols starting with version 6.7, which is in beta right now from VMware. Go ahead and read Eric Seibert’s blog post on VVols futures for more information on that. At that point, I don’t want any of you even mentioning VMFS to me, unless you’re running a version of vSphere prior to 6.5 (which is our requirement for VVols). But quite honestly, VVols is a pretty compelling reason to upgrade to 6.5, or 6.7 when it comes out!

So What About Cloning?

My coworker and former (should I say recovering?) Oracle DBA Somu Rajarathinam wrote a great post on Oracle database cloning with VVols and FlashArray. Rather than me just translating that post to SQL Server lingo, I’ll just link to it here and let you enjoy. The concepts on SQL Server are extremely similar so just picture in your head what that would look like.

That’s it for this post, but let’s be sure to continue the conversation on Twitter by mentioning me (@DBArgenis), Cody (@codyhosterman) or just using the hashtag #PureStorage.

Thanks for reading,

-A

VVol Data Mobility: Data from Virtual to Physical

One of the most strategic benefits of Virtual Volumes is how it opens up your data mobility. Because there is no more VMDK encapsulation, VVols are just block volumes with whatever file system your guest OS in the VM puts on it. So a VVol is really just a volume hosting NTFS, or XFS or whatever. So if a target can read that file system, it can use that VVol. It does not have to be a VMware VM.

Let me start out with: YES our VVols deployment will be GA VERY soon. I am sorry (but not really) for continuing to tease VVols here.

This is one of the reasons we do not treat VVols on the FlashArray any differently than any other volume–because they aren’t different! So there is no reason you can’t move the data around. So why block it??

Some possibilities this function opens us:

  1. Take a RDM and make it a VVol
  2. Take a VVol and present it to an older VMware environment as a RDM
  3. Take a VVol and present it, or a copy of it, to a physical server.
  4. On the FlashArray we are also introducing something called CloudSnap, which will let you take snapshots of volumes (aka VVols) and send them to NFS, or S3 to be brought up as a EBS volume for an EC2 instance.

Continue reading VVol Data Mobility: Data from Virtual to Physical

What is a Config VVol Anyways?

I have blogged a decent amount recently about VVols and in many of those posts I mention config VVols. When using vSphere Virtual Volumes, VMs have one, some, or all of the following VVols types:

  • Data VVols–every virtual disk you add creates a data VVol on your array
  • Swap VVol–when you power on a VVol-based VM, a swap VVol is created. When you power it off, this is deleted.
  • Memory VVol–When you create a snapshot and store the memory state or when you suspend a VM, this is created.
  • Config VVol–represents a folder on a VVol datastore.

This statement about config VVols deserves a bit more attention I think. What does that really mean? Understanding config VVols is important¬† when it comes to recovery etc. So let’s dig into this.

Continue reading What is a Config VVol Anyways?

NMP Multipathing rules for the FlashArray are now default

As you might have noticed vSphere 6.5 Update 1 just came out (7/27/2017) and there are quite a few enhancements and fixes. I will be blogging about these in subsequent posts, but there is one that I wanted to specifically and immediately call out now.

Round Robin and IO Operations Limit of 1 is now default in ESXi for the Pure Storage FlashArray! This means that you no longer need to create a custom SATP rule when provisioning a new host or adding your first FlashArray into an existing environment. Continue reading NMP Multipathing rules for the FlashArray are now default

VMware and FlashArray PowerShell GUI tool v2.7

Quick post. I updated my PowerShell GUI tool I maintain for VMware and FlashArray management and added some new features. This time mainly around protection group management. Download it from my GitHub page here:

https://github.com/codyhosterman/powercli/blob/master/PureStorageVMwareStorageTool.ps1

Continue reading VMware and FlashArray PowerShell GUI tool v2.7

Join the Pure Storage Code() Slack Team

Hey–we just launched our Pure Storage Code() Slack team at code-purestorage.slack.com. Along with code.purestorage.com, our web repository pointing to our various GitHub pages.

Join to get help or contribute help around PowerShell, Python, vRealize, REST, etc. Just getting started with all of this so hop aboard and build this community with us!

To register for the Slack channel, please check out this Pure Storage community post:

https://community.purestorage.com/discussion/9561/join-the-new-pure-code-slack-team-for-api-and-extensibility-discussions

Or check out my co-workers (Barkz)post for registration information, he has more info in his post:

http://www.purepowershellguy.com/?p=13983

Building your own Web Client Plugin with vRO

So over the past two years or so I have been talking up vRealize Orchestrator quite a bit. And a fair amount of that conversation was based on the eventual usage of vRealize Automation. While I certainly feel vRA is a GREAT use case for vRO, the usefulness of vRO does not in any way require vRA.

A common question I get is, “hey can you add this feature to the official FlashArray Plugin?”. The answer is often “maybe” or “eventually” but sometimes even “no”. The plugin is centered at the satisfying the majority and therefore sometimes does not exactly meet your requirements.

So with these two things in mind, what is the connection? Well, using vRO (which is FREE when you have vCenter) you can easily build your own. Especially when you install the FlashArray vRO plugin.

I see a couple advantages here:

  1. Start learning vRO. Using default workflows so you don’t have to “code” anything. Then start with some more customization as you become familiar.
  2. Provide tailored workflows in the vSphere Web Client
  3. Interface-agnostic workflows. As you move forward and use the HTML-5 interface, or vRA you don’t have to redo your work.

Continue reading Building your own Web Client Plugin with vRO

Hiring! Looking for a Virtualization/Automation focused Solutions Architect

Hey all! We have a new position that has opened up at Pure Storage for a Solutions Architect that will be focused on virtualization and automation. Apply here:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/purestorage/jobs/651394

So that is the job posting, but let me talk in more detail about what it entails.

Continue reading Hiring! Looking for a Virtualization/Automation focused Solutions Architect