Configuring VMware VASA for EMC VNX

vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) are one of several VMware vSphere Storage APIs.  VASA, new in vSphere 5.0, provides vCenter with a way of interrogating storage array LUNs and associated datastores to gain visibility into the underlying hardware and configuration of the storage layer.  Storage capabilities, such as RAID level, thin or thick LUN provisioning, replication state, caching mechanisms, and auto-tiering are presented through VASA to vCenter (a unidirectional read operation by vCenter against the array).  With VASA, vCenter can identify which datastores possess … [Read more...]

EMC Releases VNXe Update with SRM, Writeable Snapshots, Encryption and More!

EMC released VNXe Operating Environment MR4 (version 2.4.20932) on January 7th.  The upgrade brings a few significant enhancements to the VNXe platform.  Before I cover the new features, let’s have a quick look at the VNXe series for those not familiar with it.   The EMC VNXe Series, a part of EMC’s VNX family, is an affordable unified storage platform designed for smaller businesses.  The unified platform provides both file and block services – iSCSI on block, and CIFS and NFS on file, with a nice base feature set including File Dedupe, Block Compression, Thin Provisioning, and Snapshots, … [Read more...]

EMC Elect 2013 Awardees Announced

EMC announced today the inaugural 2013 class of EMC Elect.  The EMC Elect program, announced in November, recognizes EMC community including customers, partners, EMC employees, analysts and independent voices for going above and beyond to share their knowledge, collaborate, communicate (on social media, the EMC Community Network, at events like EMC World, etc.), and for being generally awesome in their EMC area of expertise. A panel of highly respected foundering members of the EMC Elect were chosen for their extensive participation with EMC as a brand. Their leadership, commitment and … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part IX: Alternate IOPS Formula

It's been a long time since I published an article in my Storage Basics series - the series has been some of the top content on my site to date.  I sat for a beta version of the VMware Certified Advanced Professional - Desktop Design (VCAP-DTD) test today and was reminded by the test of a post I had in waiting about an alternate way to calculate IOPS (hint hint - memorize these formulas).  I have several more articles sitting in draft form, but a new job, crazy kids, home improvement projects, and a wife with chronic cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leaks (it sounds bad - and it is - but look on … [Read more...]

Announcing EMC Elect

EMC announced today a new community recognition program called EMC Elect.  Much like the VMware vExpert program or the Microsoft MVP program, EMC Elect provides individuals recognition for their contributions to the EMC community.  Programs like this are incredibly beneficial - for the honoree as well as for the sponsoring company and the wider technology community.  I've certainly benefited from being selected as a VMware vExpert, and I hope that VMware has benefited from my feedback as a result of my participation in the vExpert program.  More importantly, the positive feedback from the … [Read more...]

VMworld Europe News and Announcements

I wanted to let you all know about some announcements that have come out at VMworld Europe over the past couple days.  These announcements help round out some of the new products and features announced at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco.  These new and updated features are a big deal for customers who want to take a wholistic approach to deploying and managing a hybrid cloud across different service providers.  If you're thinking about upgrading your vSphere license to a vCloud Suite license (you have until December 15th to claim the free upgrade to the vCloud Suite Standard Edition, along with … [Read more...]

ESXi 5 Won’t Boot From USB

I've been upgrading my home VMware lab to vSphere 5.1 today and ran into an issue that I thought I would share.  I had previously written about my home lab environment - I run HP xw8600 workstations, and because I'm using SATA disks behind a SAS controller they are being seen as 'remote' disks to the ESXi installer.  This means that I need another type of disk that will be seen as a 'local' disk so ESXi can create a scratch partition.  A USB thumb drive was the answer, but not without issues. When I installed ESXi 5.0 on the thumb drive, the install completed without problem, but after the … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part VIII – The Difference in Consumer vs. Enterprise Class Disks and Storage Arrays; or ‘Why is the SAN you are proposing so darn expensive?’

As both an IT Manager and storage & virtualization consultant, I have shepherded SMB's through SAN purchases in support of VMware environments.  This may not hold true for the bigger IT shops, but as I take these smaller companies through the SAN purchase process, a common set of questions is often asked - Do we really need a SAN, and why is it so darn expensive!?!? I quickly learned that my (cheeky) answer "because it's enterprise class, baby" just didn't cut it.  So how do you move beyond "I can get a 2TB hard drive for $100 at Best Buy, why are you selling me on 300GB hard drives for … [Read more...]

EMC Virtual Storage Integrator Update

I upgraded my in-house VMware vSphere environment to 4.0 Update 2 last week.  After upgrading my vSphere Client to the Update 2 version I was greeted with a series of 7 ugly error messages stating: Method not found: 'VMware.CustomControls.LabelEx VpxClient.Common.Util.Helper.AddLabel(System.Windows.Froms.Control,Int32, int32, System.String, System.Drawing.FontStyle, Boolean)".I assumed a plug-in had caused the error message.  I started my troubleshooting by disabling the 3rd-party plug-ins in the environment, beginning with the free EMC Storage Viewer.  Upon disabling the EMC Storage Viewer … [Read more...]

Storage Basics – Part VII: Storage Alignment

At the risk of beating a dead horse, it's time to resurrect my Storage Basics series.  I've recently had some great feedback on the series and figured I should round out a few of the concepts before I wrap it up.  I want to cover a topic often discussed amongst virtualization professionals, but one I often find general practitioners and server admins not understanding: storage alignment.  Storage alignment, or the lack of alignment, is not a new issue and is not unique to VMware or virtualization in general.  However, the effects of misaligned storage can be more greatly felt in terms of … [Read more...]