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There is a new beta release of Virtual SAN (VSAN) available today for those of you participating in the beta. You can download the new bits of the beta refresh by clicking here (you will need a valid MyVMware login to access it). This post covers a number of areas around the beta refresh. It will cover how to upgrade to the new release, a fix for the AHCI controller issue that we encountered in the beta testing, the new PowerCLI fling, changes to certain VSAN limits and the winners of some of our VSAN contest and surveys. Read on to learn more about the changes in the VSAN beta refresh.

Upgrading to VSAN refresh builds

Upgrading to the VSAN refresh build will require updates to both ESXi and vCenter.  The VSAN beta refresh release notes have details on how to do just that. Basically you need to do the following:

  1. Upgrade vCenter to the latest build
  2. Put ESXi host into Maintenance Mode
  3. Upgrade ESXi
  4. Reboot ESXi and exit Maintenance Mode
  5. Repeat steps 2,3 & 4 until all hosts are upgraded

The release notes points to additional documentation on this process. A few things to keep in mind around the upgrade. You won’t be able to use VMware Update Manager (VUM) to do the upgrade. However there are upgrade packages which will upgrade your VSAN environment without having to do a new installation. Again, refer to the release notes for details.

AHCI fix

Back in September, we highlighted an issue with an unsupported AHCI controller. In this beta refresh the issue has been diagnosed and fixed. For those beta tested who ran into difficulties with their AHCI controllers, please update to the beta refresh version and continue with your testing. A number of other issues have also been fixed in the refresh build. Please take a look at the Known Issues and Resolved Issues sections of the release notes.

New RVC Commands

RVC, the Ruby Virtual Console, is shipped with vCenter 5.5. It allows in depth analysis of the performance of a Virtual SAN cluster. This feature arose from direct feedback from our customers – “we do not want our storage to be a black box”. We added even more commands to RVC, including VM Storage Policy management. This can be found in the spbm (Storage Policy Based Management) namespace. Existing policies can be found under “~/storage/vmprofiles”. A very nice addition to RVC in the beta refresh.

PowerCLI fling

We know that many of our customers are interested in automating many tasks in the vCloud Suite. Virtual SAN is no different. In order to get you automation as quickly as possible, a set of VSAN PowerCLi cmdlets have been released as a fling from VMware R&D. Read more about these new cmdlets via this blog post from Alan Renouf.

Limit Changes

In the beta, a disk group could contain a single SSD and up to as many as six HDDs. However, since many servers came with 8 disk slots, we decided to change this limit. With the beta refresh, a disk group may now contain a single SSD and up to seven HDDs so that all disk slots on a server can be utilized.

Survey Winners

Many of you entered the survey for the VSAN beta. The winners of the iPAD Minis are:

  • Brian Sweeney
  • Chris Higbie

Congratulations to you both, and thanks for helping us out with the survey. For the rest of our beta participants, keep a regular check on the VSAN beta community. More contests and raffles are planned. If you are not yet registered, please sign up at vsanbeta.com

Get notification of these blogs postings and more VMware Storage information by following me on Twitter: @VMwareStorage

About the Author

Cormac Hogan is a Senior Staff Engineer in the Office of the CTO in the Storage and Availability Business Unit (SABU) at VMware. He has been with VMware since April 2005 and has previously held roles in VMware’s Technical Marketing and Technical Support organizations. He has written a number of storage related white papers and have given numerous presentations on storage best practices and vSphere storage features. He is also the co-author of the “Essential Virtual SAN” book published by VMware Press.