May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

Up until now I went through a basic ViPR SRM installation, getting a basic single VM environment setup. What I want to show in this post is my favorite ViPR SRM feature – topology maps. To understand why these are useful, lets step back and give some scenarios:

You are the personal responsible for supporting the storage within your environment, you may support other things but ultimately when there is a storage related problem your name is called. An application own comes to you and says their application is slow, and that the network team said everything on their end is fine so its probably the storage. Great – now what?

  1. You come into a new organization – whether as an internal IT person or a var and you’ve inherited an environment cabled by 3 monkeys and a cat with no documentation – now what?

This is where topology maps can be very useful. The topology maps is that end-to-end visualization and monitoring component I mentioned in previous posts. I see from my virtual machine or even some applications such as SQL Server all the way through to the underlying storage, and drill down on each component. Let me shows you some examples.

To access the topology maps, click on Explore >> Hosts – small aside here – host could be any physical or virtual server in the environment discovered by ViPR SRM, not just ESXi hosts. So this could be an ESXi host, a virtual machine, or a physical host running its own OS.

vipr-srm-explore-reports-hosts

From this report, you can see a list of all the hosts in the environment, which for some could be a very extensive list. I should mention that the filter field is not a search field, so you cannot type the end of a machine name; for example maybe all your VM names end in OS type or some other identifier, you couldn’t just type W2K8 to find a server name myserver-w2k8, you would have to start with myserver, but would then see a list of all servers starting with that string. You can filter on any column that has the funnel icon, so for example I could filter on just physical hosts, or virtual machines by clicking the funnel icon in the host type column;

vipr-srm-filter

Using the example above, let’s say an application owner has complained about performance and you need to investigate to see if storage could be the problem. Filter on the host name, in this case I will pick on mhmbd078-W2K8, as you can see below I start typing that name and can select it from a the list or type it in full and hit enter to filter on that one host

vipr-srm-filter-hostname

 

Now I just see that specific host, in this case a virtual machine as you can see here with 16GB of memory and 4 vCPU:

vipr-srm-single-host-explore

This much information is available in just a few clicks, now there are many places you could get this information but as I continue to drill deeper, you will start to see just how much information we have at hand. With just what is available so far, you might be able to say to the application owner who issued the complain that there is not enough memory, for example maybe you know that this particular application needs 32GB of memory, so disk I/O could be a problem if the application and OS are constantly swapping to disk. But, maybe so far everything checks out, if I click on any of the text here, it will take me into the detail of that virtual machine.

Now, this is where it gets interesting; what you see below is the topology map for mbmbd078-w2k8, we can see the host, the datastore it is on, the host it is on, the VSANs it is connected to and the arrays connected to those VSANs. Also, notice to the right we have different reports related to the host, we can see attributes about the host which is show by default, you can also see:

  • Capacity information about the hosts local disks, in this case VMDKs and since it is a virtual machine, the datastore
  • Path details for the disks attached to the host
  • Related storage performance
  • Events related to the host

vipr-srm-topology-map

You can click on any element in the map to see details specific to that item, for example if you click on the datastore – DS_Bootcamp_D you can see reports about the datastore, or on the host – you guessed it, reports about the host. You may have also noticed the + icon next to some of the elements, this is because there are additional components, using VSAN0040 as an example, we can click on the + sign to see switches in that VSAN

vipr-srm-exapanded-element

Now I see two switches, each with their own + icon, I can keep drilling down and see ports on that switch as well. I can expand different elements and hover over different components to see how they are connected. For example I have expanded my host to see my HBAs, I can see that the particular HBA I am interested in is connected to VSAN mptb023 so I have expanded that as well and drilled down to see the switch ports. While I have some limited lab resolution available, you can see here that when I hover over the HBA from the host it highlights the path to the port on the switch – in this case fc1/6 (as shown by the blue highlighted line)

vipr-srm-show-details

This is just one specific report, and I have only skimmed the surface of the data available in this report. Imagine being able to show this to an application owner as you troubleshoot each component, and explain how/why any particular piece of the infrastructure supporting the application is, or isn’t doing what it is supposed to. For those folks who worked in a silo’d type group, I’d urge you not use this information to punt back over your wall to someone else, but rather be the person to start poking some pinholes in the silo, call up a virtualization, OS, or network person depending on what you might think the problem is and work with them, sharing knowledge and help the application owner be a happy customer. After all, even if you are “internal” IT – you are still providing a service to the business – they are you customers, treat them like it. Silos will only fall if someone starts poking holes, no reason it can’t be you.

If you haven’t done so, chat with your EMC rep (they can likey get you in touch with an SE who can help if you have any setup questions) and head over to support.emc.com to sign up for an account and download ViPR SRM which comes with a 30 day license.

ViPR SRM Explore Reports and Topology Maps

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May 7th, 2015 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

**Disclaimer: I am an EMC employee, this post was not sponsored or in any way required by my employer, it is my experience getting to know this particular product.**

There were two software related announcements at EMC World this week which I found very exciting. Building on the free for no production use of RecoverPoint for Virtual Machines from VMworld 2014, EMC announced the same for ScaleIO. ScaleIO allows you build your own Hyperconverged Infrastructure solution (HCI). This is the same software used in the new VxRack from VCE which was also announced at EMC World.

CoprHDIn addition to ScaleIO, EMC also announced CoprHD which is an open source version of EMC ViPR (@coprhd). ViPR (which is also free for non production use) is a solution that allows you to manage multiple arrays and present those as virtual volumes to hosts. In addition to managing the arrays, it also provides a self-service and automation at the storage layer. EMC ViPR also supports ScaleIO, assuming this carries over to CoprHD you could deploy a fully managed, and automated storage solution on commodity hardware for test/dev or QA (I hope they publish more specific guidelines on just what they mean by “non-production”).

Last, but not least, the community version of the VNXe which you can use to provide full block and file servers on commodity hardware. The vVNX will later come in a supported ROBO and cloud edition.

My hope is that CoprHD, ScaleIO, and the community edition of the vVNX will lead to more solutions being open sourced and offered in a free to use model. CoprHD should be available on GitHub by June, ScaleIO by the end of May, whereas the vVNX is available now for download.

 

New free software from EMC to build your own SDS solution

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November 15th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

I was going to do a post on NFS versus iSCSI, to be honest that is such old hat in my opinion it doesn’t really matter.  Whether you use iSCSI or NFS is up to you, your application and business requirements along with any constraints in your infrastructure that may force you to lean one way or another.  Since I am an NFS networking ninja, clearly I am going to go the NFS route.  Let’s get started on setting up NFS, if you are not already log into your Synology DSM.

  • Click on the main menu button on the upper left and open Control Panel
  • Click on the File Services icon
  • I have no need for CIFS or AFP at this time so I am going to disable those; expand the Windows File Service section and uncheck Enable Windows File Service; repeat for Mac File Service
  • Expand NFS service and check enable NFS
  • Click the Apply button
  • In the left navigation window click on Shared Folder
  • Click the create button
  • Provide the necessary details for your folder I am naming my folder vxprt-silver01-ds01 which will be on the SATA drives; click OK
  • Click on the NFS permissions tab and click the Create button
  • In the hostname/IP field enter the range for your ESXi hosts, in my case its all the same network so 192.168.0.0/16
  • Click OK twice
  • Make note of the mount path value, we’ll need that later
  • Repeat for the folder on the SSD volume, I am naming htis folder vxprt-gold01-ds01
  • You should now have two folders created
Synology NFS shares created in DSM

Synology NFS shares created in DSM

Next I need to connect to my NFS share from the ESXi hosts.  Typically I’d have NFS on its on VLAN, but sans a switch in my home lab to VLANs it will be riding with all my other network traffic.

  • Log into the vCenter Web Client
  • Click on vCenter >> Hosts and Clusters
  • Select your cluster, click on the Related Objects tab >> Datastores
  • Click the icon to add a new datastore, click Next
  • Select next NFS and click Next
  • Enter the datastore name, in my case vxprt-silver01-ds01
  • Enter the server IP address and the path you note in the previous section, in my case /volume1/vxprt-silver01-ds01 – click next
  • Select both/all hosts in the cluster you want to have access and click next then finish

The datastore should now be available on both hosts (Click on the host >> related objects >> datastores) as seen below.  Repeat for the gold datastore.

synology-nfs-datastore

Now that the datastores are created, I am going to create an “ISO” folder on the silver datastore to hold my linux ISOs and build virtual machines in vCenter.

Setting up NFS on the Synology Diskstation 1513+ for ESXi

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November 14th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

In order to provide shared storage to my home lab, I am going to use a Synology DS1513+.  In my lab I have my DS1513+ connected to a switch, which is connected to my home router, this allows me to use http://find.synology.com to start configuring my DS1513+.

Synology DS1513+

Synology DS1513+

My Synolog is configured with 2x 120GB SSD Corsair Neutron drives and 3x 2TB Seagate SATA drives.  On the https://find.synology.com page, click on the Connect button to get started.

  • Log in as admin with no password
  • Click on the Main Menu button in the upper left corner and start Control Panel
  • The Synology used DHCP to find an address on your network so we could connect and set it up.  We do not want DHCP to continue providing the address, especially since we will be using this for ESXi host storage (at least I will)
  • In Control Panel click on Network >> Network Interface, selected the connected port and click the Edit button
  • With the networking configuration done, time to start configuring storage!

My Corsair drives do not seem to be compatible with Synology SSD cache, I don’t have the option to create it even though I should have enough memory for at least a portion of the SSDs to be used as cache.  In any case, give what I had for parts I’ll just use the 2x SSDs as an all flash volume for my hosts and the 3x SATA drives as another.

  • Chose manual configuration, enter an IP address outside the scope of your DHCP server (or home router) and click the OK button
  • Click on the Main Menu button in the upper left corner and start Storage Manager
  • When storage manager opens click on volumes (depending on your SSDs you could poke around and see if you can do SSD cache or not)

If your Synology ships with drives already, it likely had a volume created which is now unavailable because you removed two of the drives.  In that scenario remove any existing volumes.  If it was ordered with no drives, then I believe as older models did for me you can just create the new volumes and do not need to delete anything.

Synology Storage Manager

Synology Storage Manager

  • Click on the Volume menu and then click the create button
  • For general purpose use I put my trust in Synology SHR volumes, in my case here I want a bit more control and am not so concerned over data loss since its just a lab.  I am going to chose Custom in the wizard to select my own RAID type
  • Chose either single or multiple volume on RAID (I’ve selected single)
  • Select the 3x 2TB drives, click OK when prompted about erasing the disk
  • On the RAID selection screen, chose the RAID type you are most comfortable with given what you are running…for me – RAID0 across all 3 drives
  • In most cases chose yes to check the disks, these shipped with the Synology and are new so I’ve selected No here for times sake
  • Click Apply – your volume will be created
  • If like me you still have drives in your Synology to use, repeat for the remaining drives.  Once the volume is created for the SSD, click on the SSD Trim button to enable.

And there you have it, Synology volumes are created.  Up next, iSCSi or NFS? (Hint I passed the Chris Wahl NFS Ninja training at the Boston VMUG)

Setting Up the Synology DS1513+

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November 14th, 2014 by JFrappier

Jonathan Frappier Virtxpert

I just got a Synology DS1513+ and wanted to try out the SSD cache.  Having never powered it on I pulled two of the 2TB Seagate drives and installed 2x Corsair SSDs.  Once I powered on the device, it started beeping and wouldn’t stop.  Turns out that when shipped with drives there is an existing volume already created.  The beeping was an error because I basically broke the volume removing the two 2TB drives.  To turn off the beeping, do the following:

  • Log into DSM, since I am assuming this is a new deployment you can find the IP at https://find.synology.com
  • Log in as admin with no password
  • The control panel window will open
  • Click on Beep off, take aspirin to fix the headache
  • Close the control panel window
  • In storage manager you will see Volume 1 in a crashed state, highlight it and click remove
  • Click OK then yes to confirm deleting the volume
  • You should now see no volumes in storage manager and the disk station health change to good
  • You can now go about creating volumes as you see fit

Having purchased other Synology’s with no drives in them I didn’t expect the volume to already exist.  If your Synology is beeping, log in and check it out!

Synology DS1513+ beeping after installing SSDs (New deployment)

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