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.

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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. Continue reading “Recent ESXi 6 Storage Bugs and the FlashArray”

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.

Continue reading “Semi-transparent failover with VMFS and Active/Passive Replication”

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:

https://boards.greenhouse.io/purestorage/jobs/150163

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.

Continue reading “Pure Storage is hiring! Looking for a VMware Solutions Architect”

ZeroedThick or EagerZeroedThick? That is the question.

Having a best practices conversation the other day with a customer and the usual topic came up about any recommendations when it comes to virtual disk type. We had the usual conversation thin or thick, the ins and outs of those two. In the end it doesn’t matter too much, especially with some recent improvements in ESXi 6.0. The further question came up, well what about between zeroedthick and eagerzeroedthick? My initial reaction was that it doesn’t matter for the most part. But we had just had a conversation about Space Reclamation (UNMAP) and I realized, actually, I did have a big preference and it was EZT. Let me explain why.

Continue reading “ZeroedThick or EagerZeroedThick? That is the question.”

FlashArray Workflow Package for vRealize Orchestrator

I just put the finishing touches on my workflow packages for the Pure Storage FlashArray for VMware vRealize Orchestrator! Download it here:

https://github.com/codyhosterman/orchestrator

Three important notes on this package:

  1. This is not officially supported by Pure Storage yet, I made this, not our engineering. Treat this like a VMware Fling. We support the underlying REST calls of course, but cannot guarantee support directly on the package (I will supply best effort). We will analyze demand for this though hopefully release a fully supported one in the future. If you like it, or want more, or more frequent updates, please let us know!
  2. This is open source, when you import it, you can edit it all you want, this is not locked down. Though I advise copying a given workflow to a new one so you can edit it and keeping the originals unchanged. This makes troubleshooting easier.
  3. Contribute! Please post your own additions and changes on Github or our community. Let’s see what everyone can do.

The workflow has been tested with vRealize Orchestrator 6.0.3 and 7.0. It should work with older versions as long as they have the REST plugin. From the FlashArray perspective, it requires any Purity version that runs the REST API 1.4 or later. Nothing else really matters, it supports both the 400 series and FlashArray//m.

intro Continue reading “FlashArray Workflow Package for vRealize Orchestrator”

VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part IV: How to correlate a VMFS to a FlashArray volume

This is part 4 of this 7 part series.

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 mount a VMFS FlashArray snapshot
  7. Restoring a single VM from a FlashArray snapshot

Continue reading “VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part IV: How to correlate a VMFS to a FlashArray volume”

VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part III: Why might a resignature fail?

This is part 3 of this 7 part series. 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 mount a VMFS FlashArray snapshot
  7. Restoring a single VM from a FlashArray snapshot

Continue reading “VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part III: Why might a resignature fail?”

VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part II: Why not Force Mount?

This is part 2 of this 7 part series. 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 mount a VMFS FlashArray snapshot
  7. Restoring a single VM from a FlashArray snapshot

This is a topic that I have looked into years ago, mainly in ESX 4.0 when they changed how it handled unresolved VMFS volumes by allowing it to be done selectively. I have had some customers working with array-based snapshots recently and have run into issues that prevent them from mounting them, or mounting them in the way they want. The problem is that I forgot most of the caveats from that testing because it was way before I started this blog. And as that quote popularized by Mythbusters’ Adam Savage says:

83986-83931-05-mythbusters-expressions

So let’s write it down to so I can’t forget it all again. That show is on its last season right now. I will certainly miss it! But anyways, I digress. Force mounting. Don’t do it and here is why.

Continue reading “VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part II: Why not Force Mount?”

VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part I: Mounting an unresolved VMFS

This is part 1 of this 7 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. Let’s start with what an unresolved VMFS is and how to mount it.

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 mount a VMFS FlashArray snapshot
  7. Restoring a single VM from a FlashArray snapshot

Continue reading “VMFS Snapshots and the FlashArray Part I: Mounting an unresolved VMFS”