The first step prior to provisioning storage on the FlashArray is to actually create the host records on the array itself. These records, in their most basic form, are just names of hosts with associated WWNs or IQNs. Pretty simple process in general, but as these VMware clusters get larger and larger (vSphere 6.0 now allows 64 hosts per cluster) scripting this configuration becomes a bit more appealing. Granted, this is a one-off operation, but still saves you from a tedious task. So I wrote one. This script also integrates setting the best practices on the ESXi hosts in the cluster and in the case of iSCSI adds the FlashArray iSCSI ports as a target on the host software iSCSI adapters.
I recently posted the process of configuring iSCSI on ESXi with the Pure Storage FlashArray. One of the things I left out is (optional) CHAP security configuration. It is a pretty straight forward process but worth writing down to save anyone who wants to configure it a few document cross-reference checks.
I’ve have been working with VMware’s vCenter Site Recovery Manager since the tail end of the 1.x release and I have to say this is the most excited I have been about a Storage Replication Adapter release that I can remember. Since I started with Pure in late April 2014 I have been working with our development team and product management to design and shape this initial release of the Pure Storage SRA. I have to say it has been a blast–a really great team that does some really amazing work! It is now officially approved and posted on VMware’s compatibility guide and SRA download site:
The vSphere Web Client Plugin for the Pure Storage FlashArray has been updated and released and it is the largest update to the plugin since, well, it was first released. A lot of feature enhancements–the majority focused on integrating local and remote replication management into the plugin. Our long term goal is to offer feature parity of FlashArray management with the plugin as compared to our own GUI. It is getting close. Let’s take a look at the new features.
Pure Storage announced last week our very first converged architecture offering appropriately named FlashStack. The initial release of FlashStack is built off of Cisco hardware (UCS of course) and the FlashArray. We have two reference architectures presently, one for VMware Horizon View and one for general purpose VMware vSphere environments (choose your own guest OSes). My colleague Ravi Venkat (@ravivenk) architected the View ref arch, while I focused on the general vSphere one. In this blog post I am going to overview what we did with the vSphere ref arch. For more information on either, refer to the respective reference architecture white papers at the usual place:
UPDATE: In-guest UNMAP is now supported in a VM and sDelete and such is no longer required. Please refer to these posts:
Direct Guest OS UNMAP in vSphere 6.0
Reclaiming “dirty” or “dead” space is a topic that goes by my desk quite often these days–since the FlashArray is a data reduction array it is especially important that space is not wasted on the array–throws off the economics etc. Therefore UNMAP is an important VAAI feature to leverage in any AFA environment. Supporting UNMAP is definitely table stakes for AFAs.
Note–I am doing to use the terms “dead”, “dirty” and “stranded” to define space that needs to be reclaimed interchangeably. So anyways…
Unfortunately UNMAP in its current form does not satisfy all of the reclamation use cases. UNMAP will only reclaim space on any array when capacity is cleared from the VMFS volume–so when a VM (or virtual disk) is deleted or migrated elsewhere. It does not have the ability to reclaim space when data is “deleted” inside a virtual machine by the guest OS when using virtual disks. VMware does not know this capacity has been cleared and neither can the array. So until this virtual disk is deleted or moved the capacity cannot be reclaimed with UNMAP. So to be clear, UNMAP with vmkfstools (in ESXi 5.0/5.1) or esxcli (in ESXi 5.5) does not allow you to reclaim space that remains stranded inside of virtual disks.
The other day I stumbled upon a new VMware labs “Fling” called PowerActions. Basically it allows you to run in-context PowerShell/PowerCLI scripts right from within the vSphere Web Client. My mouth drooled at the promise of what this could deliver–and it really delivered! This is my new favorite tool by a landslide. See the announcement here from @alanrenouf http://www.virtu-al.net/2014/09/16/powercli-vsphere-web-clientannouncing-poweractions/. I’d recommend readin this first before you continue down with my post.
I have done a few posts on here that involve the Pure Storage Plugin for the vSphere Web Client (here and here) since I joined. Well here is another. We just released a new version of the Web Client Plugin (I am going to refer to it as WCP for the rest of this post because I am a lazy typist). We bundle the WCP into Purity and therefore the WCP is installed, updated and uninstalled from our GUI/CLI to vCenter (yes we do also offer a mechanism to update it outside of upgrading Purity itself). Our latest release of Purity, 4.0.12, includes WCP version 1.1.13–while there is no new functionality there are two important fixes.
The Pure Storage Content Pack for VMware vCenter Log Insight is now live on the VMware Solution Exchange! Download it today for free. As past posts have shown I have done a decent amount of work with Log Insight here at Pure and in my previous job. A product I have really liked from VMware for a variety of reasons, a big one being that it is so very easy to use. We really improved our syslog feature on the FlashArray in the 4.0 Purity release, so it was the perfect time to create our first content pack!
As people are probably aware, VMware just released the slew of new product updates that was announced at VMworld. vSphere 5.5 U2 at the core, but essentially all of the major products had updates–the one in particular interest to me was vCenter Site Recovery Manager. This latest release, numbered 5.8 is probably the biggest update to SRM since probably 5.0 moving to 5.1, arguably bigger. I am still playing around with it, but I wanted to share some of the things I found of interest in it.