VMware is switching many of its solutions to a new HTML5 UI framework called Clarity Design System. As you might already know, this removes the dependency on Flash and provides a clean, modern look for managing a virtualized infrastructure. The user experience is the same using a modern web browser on most popular operating systems including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. We also took the time to find better ways of performing common workflows. Let’s take a look at how our excellent UI engineers in Sofia, Bulgaria applied this new framework to vSAN.
The process of turning on vSAN is performed by clicking Configure and then scrolling down to vSAN > Services. As with previous versions you have the option to enable services such as encryption, deduplication, and compression. The list of services displayed in the UI makes it easy for administrators to identify what services are enabled or disabled. One change you will notice is the Performance Service is now enabled by default.
Some configuration tasks such as Disk Management are not noticeably different. A few notable items in Disk Management are the addition of disk format information. This is also where you perform disk format upgrades.
vSAN HCL Database and Internet Connectivity
Updating the vSAN Hardware Compatibility List (HCL) database in versions of vSAN before 6.7 was done at the cluster level. The vSAN HCL database is used by all clusters managed by the same vCenter Server. Since this is a vCenter Server function, vSAN HCL database update functionality is now located in the UI at the vCenter Server level.
Also note that Internet connectivity for vSAN is managed here.
Storage Policy-Base Management
Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) is one of the key areas where improvements were made to a workflow. Creating a new vSAN storage policy consists of five steps in the new UI. The first change is in Step 2, “Policy Structure.” There are three check boxes to define the type of policy, as shown below. The workflow changes dynamically as checkboxes are selected.
The next step, defining the rules for the policy, is easier. The most commonly used rules—failures to tolerate and failure tolerance method—are shown. Clicking the drop-down menu provides simple configuration options for these rules.
The less commonly used rules such as Number of Disk Stripes Per Objects, Object Space Reservations, and IOPS Limit for Object are in the Advanced Policy Rules section of the workflow.
I created identical storage policies using the traditional vSphere Web Client and the new HTML5 vSphere Client. I counted the number of clicks required to create a basic storage policy. The new workflow reduced the number of clicks from nine down to six—a 33% improvement in operational efficiency! Ok, I know that is a bit of a stretch, but hopefully, you get the idea: The new UI makes our jobs a bit easier.
Improvements were made to the methods used to monitor vSAN health, performance, and capacity. For starters, they are all located together. Selecting a cluster and clicking the Monitor tab provides access to vSAN Health, capacity information, performance views, virtual object distribution, and so on. The vSAN Health UI uses more vertical space and prioritizes issues toward the top of the list. Clicking an issue provides quick access to more details.
Performance metrics for virtual machines, vSAN backend, and iSCSI are all located together. All of the traditional functions such as the option to customize the time range and save information are still present.
The Virtual Object view received a makeover. The top section provides a quick overview of object types and their status. This includes iSCSI Target objects. Clicking on the status or inventory object type allows quick filtering of the list—for example, to view only inaccessible VMs. Below that table is a view that provides details at the object level. It is possible to select one or more objects and click the View Placement Details link to see the physical location of the components for each object.
When viewing placement details, it is also possible to group components by host placement as shown below.
vSAN iSCSI Target Service
Managing the iSCSI target service requires fewer clicks now that configuration items are located in a single view as seen below.
A few items are missing in the HTML5 vSphere Client, but they are relatively minor. For example, there is no longer a page that validates all hosts have vmkernel adapters with the vSAN service enabled. Hopefully, you already did this when standing up the cluster. Another example is the lack of the Configuration Assist tab and Updates tab. These features are still easily accessible using the traditional vSphere Web Client, and it is likely we will see them in future versions of the HTML5 vSphere Client.
Updating the HTML5 vSphere Client to include the management and monitoring of vSAN is a significant enhancement. This new functionality not only provides a more responsive and stable user experience but also streamlines and enhances a number of workflows and views for vSAN administrators. The new UI offers consistency across a variety of operating systems and modern web browsers. It enables administrators to manage HCI environments using their choice of tools for optimal flexibility, convenience, and efficiency. If you want to see more of the new UI, there are a few click-through demos on StorageHub.