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October 05, 2011


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Josh Coen

Hi Chad, thanks for the post, VPLEX is definitely an awesome technology! The information out there is a bit confusing...

The VMware KB states the configuration was tested on ESXi 4.1 and without a VPLEX Witness, yet the KB then goes on talk about the witness, its shown in the solutions diagram and discussed in the failure scenarios.

The HCL lists VPLEX as supported, but only with ESXi 5, even though the KB states it was tested with ESXi 4.1

So my question(s) are:

What versions of ESXi support VPLEX Metro, is the witness supported?

What zoning configurations are supported, cross-connected fabrics, isolated fabrics (I know EMC supports both, but what does VMware support)?


Nice article. I'm sure you have seen this, but did you know that metro/stretched clusters are not part of EMC's focus, like no focus at all?!?

http://media.netapp.com/documents/ar-midrange-storage-q32011.pdf. (page 7)

Thought that was kinda funny :)

Chad Sakac

@Josh - VMware only explicitly supports the configuration noted in the vMSC - vSphere 5, with a witness, with a non-uniform access model (isolated fabrics). It's notable that other solutions obviously work (as noted, stuff people are using like NetApp Metrocluster, HP lefthand and VPLEX cross-connected fabrics), obviously WORK, but for various reasons aren't on the vMSC. They very well may be in the future. That means that VMware will point to the vendor on support cases - which may be perfectly OK for a given customer - it's just important for customers to understand that.

@winter - that's EXACTLY why I tell my team (and as many EMCers as I can) try your DARNEST to not speak negatively about the other guy - and MAN those "check box lists" (which everyone can't seem to resist) are the worst of the worst. It's darn hard to stay on top of what YOU do, and anyone has a ZERO percent chance of knowing someone else better than themselves.

It's worth pointing out: EMC can support async stretched storage clsuters configurations (in some use cases). EMC can support scale-out stretched storage clusters. EMC has a ton of resiliency both locally and remotely. While there's more we need to do - I feel we're pretty "all over" the stretched storage use case.

Pretty funny!


Nice article, and I also were at the presentation in Copenhagen.

I was one of those bastards rasing my hand when you asked about Lefthand customers :-) You said that HP Lefthand was Non-uniform storage, but I think it really depends on which level of redundancy you configure it for. In our case, we use Network RAID10 wich makes all the nodes active in our case, and the ESX-hosts can access storage boxes on each site.

We implemented this solution in January using vSphere 4.1 Update 1, and it has been working great the entire time. Didn't know it was an unsupported setup until I attended your session, so now we will speed up the 4.1u1->5.0 process so we have a (more) supported setup.

Basically, we have three datacenters in this setup, they are all connected with redundant dedicated black fiber links (lit up with 10Gbit links).

In Site A, we have ESX-hosts 1,3,5,7,9 and storage boxes 600-1, 600-3, 1000-1, 1000-3. In Site B, we have ESX-hosts 2,4,6,8,10 and storage box 600-2, 600-4, 1000-2, 1000-3. In site C, we have our vCenter and our FOM (Fail Over Manager, which would be the witness server). We have lost the storage in Site A without any problems (we pulled the plug on all the storage boxes in Site A to test), and we have done planned maintenance on Site B without anything going down (maint.mode on esx hosts, migrate VMs to Site A with vMotion). Affinity rules for the VMs make sure they are in the right DRS cluster.

I hope this setup will be supported in the future by VMware as well, but since we are using best practice from HP we don't see any problems at the moment.

I like the VPLEX concept, I think we might look in to it in the future.

Thanks for a great session! :)

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