Well – with the vSphere 5 GA, of course we’re on the verge of a big wave of additional storage goodness.
For breakdowns/demos on VSI 5, VAAI support, VASA providers, PowerPath/VE including timing, releases, gotchas, support/non support, read on…
These are always tricky posts, because they need constant updating (as stuff always comes down to the wire)
1) First of all – fundamentals – making sure the storage targets are on the HCL. This a huge amount of shared work between VMware and EMC eLab, and went off without a hitch (well, hitches in the sense that lots of issues were discovered, but all resolved). You should succesfully find all the current EMC arrays on the VMware HCL day one.
2) EMC Virtual Storage Integrator 5 (vCenter plugin for EMC storage)
3) VAAI support
VAAI has been an interesting few months – both for VMware and EMC (and I think the other guys too). We’re realizing that yes, optimizing the core IO behavior can be awesome, but you are talking about changing some pretty fundamental things, and we’re learning things through that process (see here). As part of that, both VMware and EMC’s testing processes are getting a lot stricter around these use cases (testing not just that the VAAI commands are supported, but their behavior in more comprehensive use case testing).
VNX has just finished up the Beta of the code revision of the VNX Operating Environment that will bring up the VAAI support to include the vSphere 5 additional hardware assists – expect it to GA shortly (thank you Beta participants). Here’s what some of them (I picked out NFS Full Copy and Thin Provision Reclaim) look like in action.
Full Copy and Thin Provision Reclaim:
VMAX actually has support for the core new APIs back in the release that came out earlier this summer. Official support may lag a bit, again – after the experiences with the first round of VAAI, we’re REALLY beating on it.
I will update this post showing Thin Provision Reclaim working on the existing GA Enginuity code (remember – not officially supported yet, furious testing underway).
Isilon’s VAAI and VASA and SRM5 support is coming.
VNXe is killing it with extreme simplicity, and killer and unique Unisphere and VSI integration with vSphere. The VNXe is on the VMware vSphere 5 HCL day one. That said, there are a couple of important things that it needs (not stopping mass adoption – it’s flying off the shelves) when it comes to VMware – SRM5 support, VAAI (block and NAS) and VASA support. Remember – the VNXe is simplifying and merging in core VNX capabilities, but with a very, very focused target of extreme simplicity. Timing on these additional VMware capabilities:
- Q4 2011 is the target for SRM 5 support (on block and NFS), and for VAAI file support – these are right around the corner.
- H1 2011 is the target for VASA support (on block and NFS)
- 2012 is the target for VAAI block support.
4) VASA Support
EMC’s general VASA support GAs on 9/23.
A few notes on this one – we just missed the first cert test target date (believe me – we were pushing hard, but sometimes these things happen).
Initially, EMC’s support for VASA comes via Solutions Enabler. The release with VASA support is targeted for 9/23 GA date. BTW – Solutions Enabler is both available as an installable binary for EMC customers (provided at no charge) on powerlink, and also as a virtual appliance (in the VMware virtual appliance store here: http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/652143 )
- The release is actually ready well before that date, but the window of time is associated with all the things that are associated with “productizing something” (which begin when you have certified bits, not end). There will be an avenue for customers to get it on an as needed basis between VMworld and the GA if needed urgently.
What will it support?
- It will support VMAX, DMX, VNX, CX4, NS arrays using Block protocols. It’s notable that this is a very, very broad set of customers – far and away the largest number of VMware customers today are using some combinations of these platforms, so we’re talking about early VASA support for a huge set of customers.
What WILL NOT be supported in that release:
- It will not support VNX/NS arrays using NAS protocols (support is targeted to arrive for NAS with VNX early in 2012)
- It will not support VNXe (support is targeted to arrive H1 2012)
- It will not support Isilon (support is targeted arrive in 2012)
Remember that if your particular configuration doesn’t have VASA support, you can still use profile-driven storage models, but for now need to use the user-provided profile capabilities, as there won’t be system-provided capabilities.
Great news here, and great execution by the PowerPath team. vSphere 5’s stateless options really posed some solid engineering challenges, because PowerPath/VE was licensed based on the ESX host’s UUID. Now, one could argue that was a bad idea (I argued it :-) but regardless – it was a problem.
The team took advantage of the challenge to not only solve the challenges of vSphere 5 support, but to overhaul the licensing model – making it much simpler. Now if ONLY there was a way to programmatically integrate it with vCenter’s license management (I know that would rock – but right now you can’t). There are a couple easy ways to install – use VUM after the fact, build it into your build, or make it part of the auto-deploy depot.
Want to give PowerPath/VE a shot? Here you go!
I’ll try to keep this post current and updated as bits and pieces land and are completely GA – but a great example of the amount of work that goes on, without glory, to hit the fundamentals when it comes to VMware/EMC integration. A big THANK YOU to all the engineering teams (both VMware and EMC) and eLab.