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Author Archives: Joe Cook

Joe Cook

About Joe Cook

Joe Cook is a Senior Technical Marketing Manager at VMware, currently focusing on automation of current and future VMware software-defined storage products, with specific emphasis on automating datacenter operations. Joe has over 20 years of industry experience in the design, implementation, and operation of complex IT environments ranging in size from Enterprise to SMB. Stay in touch with Joe via @CloudAnimal on Twitter for information on: vSphere Storage Policy Based Management Virtual Virtual SAN Monitoring and Troubleshooting VVOLs

VMware Virtual SAN 6.0 Now Generally Available

Virtual SAN 6 – you heard about it in February… thousands of you read about it in Rawlinson’s blog post… and today you can get your hands on it. Virtual SAN 6 is now generally available (GA) – download your evaluation version today! For those of you who missed Rawlinson’s blog post describing the details around what’s new with Virtual SAN 6 – you can read it here (below). But there’s a better way to get the information – register and attend this week’s webinar on “What’s New with Virtual SAN 6” hosted by Rawlinson Rivera – we’ll see you there!

VSAN-ALL-FLASH-LOGO

It is with great pleasure and joy that I like to announce the official launch of VMware Virtual SAN 6.0, one of VMware’s most innovative software-defined storage products and the best hypervisor-converged storage platform for virtual machines. Virtual SAN 6.0 delivers a vast variety of enhancements, new features to the as well as performance and scalability improvements.

Virtual SAN 6.0 introduces support for an all-flash architecture specially designed to provide virtualized applications high performance with predictably low latencies. Now with support for both hybrid and all-flash architectures Virtual SAN 6.0 is ready to meet the performance demands of just about any virtualized application by delivering consistent performance with sub-millisecond latencies.

Hybrid Architecture

  • In the hybrid architecture, server-attached magnetic disks are pooled to create a distributed shared datastore that persists the data. In this type of architecture, you can get up to 40K IOPS per server host.

All-Flash Architecture

In All-Flash architecture, the flash-based caching tier is intelligently used as a write-buffer only while another set of flash devices forms the persistence tier to store data. Since this architecture utilizes only flash devices, it delivers extremely high IOPs of up to 90K per host, with predictable low latencies.

VSAN-Archs

Virtual SAN 6.0 delivers true enterprise-level scale and performance by doubling the scalability of Virtual SAN 5.5 by scaling up to 64 nodes per cluster for both hybrid and all-flash configurations. In addition, Virtual SAN 6.0 improves the number of virtual machines per host up to 200 for both supported architectures.

VSAN-Scale

The performance enhancements delivered in Virtual SAN 6.0 are partially due to the new Virtual SAN on-disk Filesystem (VSAN FS). The new version delivers a new VMDK delta file (vsanSparse) takes advantage of the new on-disk format writing and extended caching capabilities to deliver efficient performance. This results in the delivery of performance-based snapshots, and clone that are comparable to SAN snapshots.

Virtual SAN 6.0 now enables intelligent placement of virtual machine objects across server racks for enhanced application availability even in case of complete rack failures. Virtual SAN Fault Domains provide the ability to group multiple hosts within a cluster to define failure domains to ensure replicas of virtual machines data is spread across the defined failure domains (racks).

VSAN-FD

Along with all the new added features a significant amount of improvements have been added to enhance the management user experience:

  • Disk/Disk Group Evacuation – Introduce ability to evacuate data from individual disk/disk groups before removing a disk/disk group from the Virtual SAN.
  • Disk Serviceability features – easily map the location of magnetic disks and flash devices. Ability light disk LED on failures, Turn disk LED on/off from the vSphere Web Client.
  • Storage Consumption Models – adds functionality to visualize Virtual SAN 6.0 datastore resource utilization when a VM Storage Policy is created or edited.
  • UI Resynchronization Dashboard – the vSphere Web Client UI displays virtual machine objects resynchronization status and remaining bytes to sync.
  • Proactive Rebalance – provides the ability to manually trigger a rebalance operation in order to utilize newly added cluster storage capacity.
  • Health Services – deliver troubleshooting and health reports to vSphere Administrators about Virtual SAN 6.0 subsystems and their dependencies such as cluster, network, data, limits, physical disk.

VSAN-health

With all the major enhancements and features of this release, Virtual SAN is now enterprise-ready, and customers can use it for a broad range of use cases, including business-critical and tier-1 production applications.  Stay tune, there is a lot more to come from the world’s greatest software-defined storage platform. For more information visit the Virtual SAN product page.

– Enjoy

For future updates on Virtual SAN (VSAN), vSphere Virtual Volumes (VVOLs) and other Software-defined Storage technologies as well as vSphere + OpenStack be sure to follow me on Twitter: @PunchingClouds

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

 

 

 

 

What’s All the Buzz About Software-Defined Storage?

By now, you’ve more than likely heard something about Software-Defined Storage. With every mention of the term, you may be wondering, “What does it mean for me?”

Wonder no longer!

The VMware Software-Defined Storage approach enables a fundamentally more efficient operational model, driving transformation through the hypervisor, bring to storage the same operational efficiency that server virtualization brought to compute. Software-Defined Storage will enable you to better handle some of the most pressing challenges storage systems face today.

During this webcast, Mauricio Barra, Senior Product Marketing Manager at VMware, will discuss the VMware Software-Defined Storage vision, the role of the hypervisor in transforming storage, as well as key architectural components of VMware Software-Defined Storage.

If you are looking to understand how Software-Defined Storage, along with the enhanced VMware Virtual SAN 6 and new VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes, can benefit your organization, now is your chance.

Register today and take the next step toward making Software-Defined Storage a reality.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

Discover Software-Defined Storage & VMware Virtual SAN at PEX 2015!

Are you a VMware partner? Come learn more about VMware Virtual SAN — our software-defined storage solution designed for vSphere environments — at VMware Partner Exchange (PEX) 2015.

The sessions, like the rest of PEX 2015, will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, February 3 – 5th. Depending on your needs, there will be several important Software-Defined Storage and VMware Virtual SAN sessions you won’t want to miss.

If your organization is concerned about enterprise-level storage and availability, add these Software-Defined Storage and VMware Virtual SAN sessions to your calendar. (Log on and register to view session abstracts, speakers, and locations.)

Tuesday 2/3

  • STO4280: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, VMware Software-Defined Storage Overview
  • STO4278: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Virtual Volumes Technical Overview
  • STO4273: 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, What’s New with VMware Virtual SAN and How to be Successful Selling It
  • STO4289: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Conducting a Successful Proof of Concept for Virtual SAN

Wednesday 2/4

  • STO4295: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, SRM & Business Continuity Overview
  • STO4275: 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM, Virtual SAN Technical Walkthrough
  • STO4290: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Delivering SDS to SAN/NAS with Virtual Volumes
  • STO4464: 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM, Virtual SAN Panel: View from the Sales Trenches
  • STO4465: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Performance and Best Practices for Business Critical Applications leveraging Virtual SAN

Thursday 2/5

  • STO4293: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM, SRM & VR6 Technical Deep Dive
  • STO4276: 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM, Virtual SAN Hardware Guidance & Best Practices
  • STO4279: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Software-Defined Storage: the Key to Agility with Control

Be sure to follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

Operationalizing VMware Virtual SAN: Automating vCenter Alarm Configuration Using PowerCLI

powercli 5.8 icon

Welcome to the next installment in our Operationalizing VMware Virtual SAN series. In our previous article we detailed “How to configure vCenter alarms for Virtual SAN”. In today’s article we will demonstrate how to automate that configuration workflow leveraging PowerCLI.

(Many thanks to VMware genius Alan Renouf (@alanrenouf) for his contributions to this topic) [Joe Cook: @CloudAnimal]

The PowerCLI code required to automate the configuration of vCenter Alarms for Virtual SAN is considerably straightforward.

1. Connect to vCenter

Connect-VIServer -Server 192.168.100.1 -User Administrator@vsphere.local -Password vmware

2. Define the the Virtual SAN cluster where you would like the rules to be created

$Cluster = "Cluster Site A"

3. Next we create a hash table with the desired VMware ESXi Observeration IDs (VOB IDs) for Virtual SAN and include a description for each VOB ID.

If you are not used to programming, the concept of arrays and hash tables may be a bit confusing. Using variables is generally much easier to understand. One way of understanding variables is to think of them simply as a short amount of text used to represent a larger amount of text in your program or script ($x=”larger amount of text”). Instead of typing “larger amount of text” continually, you can simply type $x and the language interpreter (in our case PowerShell), will substitute the string “larger amount of text” wherever it finds $x in your script. Variables can be used to greatly reduce the amount of code you have to type, make your scripts much easier to read, and have many other uses as well.

If we think of variables as ways to store one value to reference, we can think of arrays as a way to store multiple values to reference. In our example today, we would have to create at least 32 variables to perform the same work that we can with one hash table.

A hash table is a type of array that is also known as a dictionary. It is a collection of name-value pairs (e.g. “name”=”value”) that can be used . Here we have an example of a basic hash table:

$HashTableName = @{
VOB_ID_A="VOB Description";
VOB_ID_B="VOB Description";
VOB_ID_C="VOB Description";
}

In the table below we have a breakdown of the components of the code used to create a hash table:

Syntax Component Description
$HashTableName = Replace “HashTableName” with the text you wish to use to reference this list of key-values pairs.
@{ Indicates the start of the hash table or array
VOB_ID_A=”VOB Description”; Key-Value pair to store within the hash table. VOB_ID_A will be the VOB ID from the VMware ESXi Observation Log (VOBD) (e.g. “esx.audit.vsan.clustering.enabled”). “VOB Description” will be the description of the associated “VOB ID” (e.g. “Virtual SAN clustering service had been enabled”). Make sure to use quotation marks whenever spaces are used and to separate each key-value pair with a semicolon (;).Examine /var/log/vobd.log on your vSphere host to obtain possible VOB IDs. See here for a list of VMware ESXi Observation IDs for Virtual SAN.
} Indicates the end of the hash table or array

Here is an example of a hash table with a single key-value pair representing a single vCenter Alarm for Virtual SAN:

$VSANAlerts = @{
"esx.audit.vsan.clustering.enabled" = "Virtual SAN clustering service had been enabled";
}

Below is the actual hash table that we will use in our example Virtual SAN Alarm Configuration script. It is fully populated with all of the recommended VOB IDs for Virtual SAN along with the description for each. We have labeled this hash table as “$VSANAlerts”. You will see $VSANAlerts referenced further along in the script as we reference the items within our hash table.

$VSANAlerts = @{
 "esx.audit.vsan.clustering.enabled" = "Virtual SAN clustering service had been enabled";
 "esx.clear.vob.vsan.pdl.online" = "Virtual SAN device has come online.";
 "esx.clear.vsan.clustering.enabled" = "Virtual SAN clustering services have now been enabled.";
 "esx.clear.vsan.vsan.network.available" = "Virtual SAN now has at least one active network configuration.";
 "esx.clear.vsan.vsan.vmknic.ready" = "A previously reported vmknic now has a valid IP.";
 "esx.problem.vob.vsan.lsom.componentthreshold" = "Virtual SAN Node: Near node component count limit.";
 "esx.problem.vob.vsan.lsom.diskerror" = "Virtual SAN device is under permanent error.";
 "esx.problem.vob.vsan.lsom.diskgrouplimit" = "Failed to create a new disk group.";
 "esx.problem.vob.vsan.lsom.disklimit" = "Failed to add disk to disk group.";
 "esx.problem.vob.vsan.pdl.offline" = "Virtual SAN device has gone offline.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.clustering.disabled" = "Virtual SAN clustering services have been disabled.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.lsom.congestionthreshold" = "Virtual SAN device Memory/SSD congestion has changed.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.net.not.ready" = "A vmknic added to Virtual SAN network config doesn't have valid IP.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.net.redundancy.lost" = "Virtual SAN doesn't haven any redundancy in its network configuration.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.net.redundancy.reduced" = "Virtual SAN is operating on reduced network redundancy.";
 "esx.problem.vsan.no.network.connectivity" = "Virtual SAN doesn't have any networking configuration for use."
 }

(For more information on working with PowerShell hash tables, see this handy Microsoft TechNet article)

4. Next we use the Get-View cmdlet to query the vCenter Alarm Manager for each VOB ID listed in step 3.

The Get-View cmdlet returns the vSphere inventory objects (VIObject) that correspond to the specified search criteria.

$alarmMgr = Get-View AlarmManager
 $entity = Get-Cluster $Cluster | Get-View
 $VSANAlerts.Keys | Foreach {
 $Name = $VSANAlerts.Get_Item($_)
 $Value = $_

5. Create the vCenter Alarm specification object

 $alarm = New-Object VMware.Vim.AlarmSpec
 $alarm.Name = $Name
 $alarm.Description = $Name
 $alarm.Enabled = $TRUE
 $expression = New-Object VMware.Vim.EventAlarmExpression
 $expression.EventType = Vim.Event.EventEx
 $expression.eventTypeId = $Value
 $expression.objectType = "HostSystem"
 $expression.status = "red"
 $alarm.expression = New-Object VMware.Vim.OrAlarmExpression
 $alarm.expression.expression += $expression
 $alarm.setting = New-Object VMware.Vim.AlarmSetting
 $alarm.setting.reportingFrequency = 0
 $alarm.setting.toleranceRange = 0

6. Create the vCenter Alarm in vCenter

 Write-Host "Creating Alarm on $Cluster for $Name"
 $CreatedAlarm = $alarmMgr.CreateAlarm($entity.MoRef, $alarm)
 }
 Write-Host "All Alarms Added to $Cluster"

As you can see, the steps to create vCenter Alarms for Virtual SAN are actually pretty straightforward. If you have not yet began monitoring your Virtual SAN environment, these steps can accelerate the process quite rapidly and you really do not have to be an expert in PowerCLI to do so.

VMware Hands on Labs

Here is a great tip brought to you by our friends at the VMware Hands on Labs. If you would like an excellent shortcut to getting “hands on” creating vCenter Alarms for Virtual SAN, using PowerCLI cmdlets, try out the lab below:

HOL-SDC-1427 – VMware Software Defined Storage: Module 5: Advanced Software Defined Storage With SPBM and PowerCLI (30 minutes)

 

We have many more articles on there way so share, re-tweet, or whatever your favorite social media method is. You will not want to miss these!

(Thanks to @millardjk for his keen eye)


Resources

 

Gartner Predictions: Storage Integration Leading the Way in 2015

Rowing crews move in sync to keep their craft moving at a steady pace – but that synchronous movement would not exist without an investment in the right hardware and the right training. For businesses, that means not only investing in the right rowers, but also in the right tools to enable athletes. And for a long time those tools, namely storage for midmarket organizations, have either been too expensive, too resource heavy or too complex.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Midmarket teams should be able to afford the right equipment without worry so they can focus on more important tasks. That’s why we’re thrilled to discover Gartner Research included VMware Virtual SAN in their recent report, “Predicts 2015: Midmarket CIOs Must Shed IT Debt to Invest in Strategic IT Initiatives.”

The report investigates how CIOs can best invest resources to give IT teams the simplified tools they need while staying on budget. Often, this excludes “best of breed” solutions. Gartner suggests midsize businesses seek out integrated systems that combine server, storage and network components in a package suitable for their needs instead.

For many, Virtual SAN, VMware’s policy-driven storage product design for vSphere environments, is that solution. Its ease of use, performance, scalability and low total cost of ownership helps to avoid significant upfront investments. And, with its VM-level storage policies, Virtual SAN automatically and dynamically matches requirements with underlying storage resources. Meaning less time manually managing storage tasks and more time focusing on important tasks.

According to Gartner’s predictions, roughly 40% of midsize enterprises will replace all data center services and storage with integrated systems by 2018. We certainly would like to see, and be at the forefront, of that transition.

VMware Virtual SAN stands apart from the competition not just because of its ability to deliver simple software defined shared storage, but also because of its integrated partner ecosystem. More than 40 Virtual SAN Ready Nodes can be purchased from our system vendor partners.

We’re thrilled to have been a part of software defined storage in 2014, and we can’t wait to push the envelope further in 2015.

Be sure to subscribe to the Virtual SAN blog or follow our social channels at @vmwarevsan and Facebook.com/vmwarevsan for the latest updates.

For more information about VMware Virtual SAN, visit http://www.vmware.com/products/virtual-san.

VMware Configuration Guide for Virtual SAN HCL Component Updates

The Virtual SAN Configuration Guide has been updated with new components. We recently certified 12 SSDs, updated 4 existing SSD certifications, and updated firmware information for 2 HDDs. Make sure to visit the VMware Configuration Guide for Virtual SAN for more details!

Here is a list of changes:

New SSDs
•  HGST HUSML4040ASS600
•  HGST HUSML4020ASS600
•  HGST HUSML4040ASS601
•  HGST HUSML4020ASS601
•  HGST HUSSL4040BSS600
•  HGST HUSSL4020BSS600
•  HGST HUSSL4010BSS600
•  HGST HUSSL4040BSS601
•  HGST HUSSL4020BSS601
•  HGST HUSSL4010BSS601
•  NEC S3700 400GB SATA 2.5 MLC RPQ
•  NEC N8150-712

Updated SSD Certifications
• Samsung SM1625 800GB SAS SSD1
• Cisco UCS-SD800G0KS2-EP
• EMC XtremSF1400 PCIEHHM-1400M
• EMC XtremSF700 PCIEHHM-700M

Updated Diskful Writes per Day (DWPD) for Samsung and Cisco drives
A new firmware, B210.06.04, was certified for EMC PCI-E SSDs

HDD Firmware Information Updates
•  Fujitsu HD SAS 6G 1.2TB 10K HOT PL 2.5” EP
•  Hitachi 6Gbps,900GB,10000r/min,2.5in.

 

Operationalizing VMware Virtual SAN: Configuring vCenter Alarms

VMware Virtual SAN has received amazing response from the virtualization community. Now as more and more customers are completing the acquisition and implementation processes, we are receiving more requests for operational guidance. Day 2 operations is perhaps my favorite topic to explore. Essentially the questions asked can be summed up as “Ok, I have done the research, proved the concept, and now have this great new product. Help me know the recommended practices to monitor, manage, and troubleshoot the inevitable issues that pop up with any software”. This question is the driver behind our new blog series, “Operationalizing VMware Virtual SAN“.

In this series, our aim is to take your most frequently asked questions around Virtual SAN Operations and provide detailed recommendations and guidance. In our first article in this series we look to answer the question “How do I configure vCenter Alarms for Virtual SAN?

(Many thanks to William Lam (@vGhetto), Christian Dickmann (@cdickmann), Rawlinson Rivera (@PunchingClouds), and Ken Werneburg (@vmKen) for their much appreciated interest and contribution to this series): [Joe Cook: @CloudAnimal]

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Hear the Complete Software-Defined Hyper-Convergence Storage Story with VMware and Nexenta on 11/19

Get your notepads and pens ready, because we’re co-hosting a webinar with Nexenta, on November 19, at 8 a.m. PST detailing our complete, software-defined, hyper-convergence infrastructure offering. Join this webinar to learn how Virtual SAN and file services will fit in your environment, what Software-Defined Storage has to offer your organization and how your business can benefit. Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 2.10.35 PM

VMware’s own Rawlinson Rivera, Senior Technical Marketing Architect, will co-host the webinar with Nexenta’s Michael Letschin, Director, Product Management, Solutions. During this webinar, we’ll discuss:

  • Storage provisioning and management of VMware Virtual SAN’s hypervisor-converged storage
  • Merging VMware Virtual SAN with VMware EVO: RAIL into a hyper-converged infrastructure that combines compute, networking and storage resources
  • How NexentaConnect for VMware Virtual SAN enables better file services, snapshot and self-service file recovery
  • How Nexenta can support a variety of workloads and business-critical situations through its Software-Defined Storage solutions

Register for this webinar and learn how to build on your VMware Virtual SAN instance with Nexenta!

For more updates on VMware Virtual SAN and Software-Defined Storage, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @VMwareVSAN and ‘like’ us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/vmwarevsan!

vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 SPBM Walkthrough (Part4): Provisioning a new VM

powercli 5.8 iconWelcome to the next installment of our vSphere PowerCLI 5.8 walkthrough series of the new cmdlets for vSphere Storage Policy Based Management. So far we have seen:

Introduction to vSphere Storage Policies
Creating vSphere Storage Policies
Associating vSphere Storage Policies

In this article we will take the next step and illustrate how to leverage vSphere Storage Policies to enhance the provisioning of New VMs. We will have a few provisioning examples involving a virtual machine with a single traditional storage array backed datastore, a vsanDatastore, and a multi-vendor mixed datastore environment.

PowerCLI cmdlets referenced in this blog article:

New-VM
Get-SpbmCompatibleStorage
Get-SpbmEntityConfiguration
Set-SpbmEntityConfiguration

Follow these links for more information on creating vSphere Storage Policies for Virtual SAN:

Using the vSphere Web Client
Using PowerCLI

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