In a Virtual Volumes environment, the VASA provider is a component that sits between the array and vCenter server/ESXi hosts. It provides the out-of-band communication path between the ESXi host and the storage array for VM/vVols tasks, as well as surfacing up the array capabilities to the vCenter Server. These capabilities allow administrators to create VM storage policies, which are then selected during the virtual machine provisioning process.
On-box or vApp?
One of the ongoing discussions around vVols is whether the VASA Provider (VP) belongs embedded in the array software or in a virtual appliance. No matter which you choose, the VASA provider should ideally be stateless. In other words, if it goes away for some reason, this should have no impact on your VM I/O. Yes, it will impact the ability to do certain operations (such as the creation of new VMs, creation of snapshots, etc) since the communication path between the ESXi hosts and the array has been impacted, but losing the VASA provider should not impact the current running VMs.
Disaster Recovery using ONTAP VP 6.2
For NetApp customers the ONTAP VASA Provider 6.2 is the first version that is truly stateless. Now, vVols metadata is stored with the vVols objects on the array resident in Data ONTAP. This means that if for whatever reason the VP has been lost, rendered inaccessible, or otherwise non-functional, you can perform a VP Disaster Recovery. The recovery commands below allow the VASA Provider to reload the vVols metadata into its database. For detailed information on this process be sure to reference NetApp KB article 1015727
- Delete the VP and VSC plugin folders from the vCenter
- Unregister VP from the vCenter UI.
- Remove all NetApp VASA VP files from vSphere
- # service vsphere-client stop
- # rm -rf com.netapp*
- # service vsphere-client start
- Remove the VP from the datastore (delete from disk)
- Fresh install the VASA Provider and configure hostname, IP, and other configuration details
- After the VASA Provider VM is online, go to the VP Control panel (https://<VP_IP>:9083) and add all the clusters that were previously used for vVols
- Cluster add -cluster_ip=<IP Address> -username=<username> -password=<password>
- After the cluster addition run the VP database recovery command
- vp dr_recoverdb
- Register the VP with vCenter
- vcenter register -vcenter_ip=<IP Address>-username=<username> -password=<password>
- Logout and back into vSphere web client.
The following video demonstrates the VP disaster recovery operation.
As you can see from the demo, the entire VP DR process can be automated with just a few commands, making the ONTAP VP 6.2 truly stateless. For detailed information on this release be sure to the NetApp VASA Provider 6.2 User’s Guide.