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What I did this week – EMC Integration

A crash course in EMC integration.

I did a lot of different things this week. It was one of those weeks where I did loads and loads of different things, got to the end of the week, and wondered where the hell it had gone and what I’d actually achieved. With that said, there were two stand-out events this week. I did two remote sessions with Alex Tanner of EMC. Alex appears to be Chad Sakac’s right-hand man in the UK. He is a stand-up fellow who really knows his stuff. He is the kind of guy who tells you stuff and you have sit back and think about what the implications of all this stuff are.

What prompted this delve into EMC is that I’m due to perform a User Group presentation at the beginning of October and I’ve picked the theme of Storage Integration, specifically looking at how various vendors have adopted the new vStorage API to add additional functionality to vCenter. In reality, vStorage is much bigger than just giving you a fancy icon in vCenter or some extra menus. In the longer run it’s going to allow for much more intelligent interaction between the ESX host and your array. I’ve picked on EMC and NetApp as examples of this integration,. It also helps I’ve got their kit racked up in my co-location which means I can play to my hearts content. Plus I’ve got good contacts at both companies so I can ask them additional questions.

I’m hoping I will have time to spend a couple of hours with the NetApp guy I know to do a similar crash course in additional addons. For the moment I’ve only played with NetApps RCU but I know there is more to be seen because I’ve got the software on my shared drive waiting for me to find the time to install it.

EMC Storage Views: (FREE)
First up is storage views.  It’s a vCenter4.0/vSphere4 only plug-in which gives you much better insight to your array from vSphere4 Clien. It also gives you additional information about your VM. It’s a total doddle to install. You install the Solution Enabler from EMC to your client machine, and then crank-up the Storage Views install. This should be about a 5 minute job. After this, you get a nice little EMC logo in vSphere Client like so:

When you click at this icon, you tell it of the Clarrion systems you have by IP address of SPA/B and the username/password to authenticate:

Then you're done. This will add an EMC Storage Tab to the Host & Cluster view in the vSphere Client.  So in the screen grab below I’ve select the “isos” LUN on one of my CX-3 Clarrions. Notice how EMC Storage Views allows me to map the VMFS datastore with the LUN name and storage group, as it is known in Navisphere. That’s really helpful to me because sometimes I get a little confused about the mapping of the LUN to VMware, and vice-versa.

You get a similar view on the properties of VM too

EMC PowerPath:

Something I’ve blogged about already is PowerPath for VMware. If you are looking for a step-by-step guide on setting it up, installing, and licensing it, look here. It’s dead easy to do as well:

EMC MirrorView for VMware:

Another plug-in comes with the new Site Recovery Adapter from EMC, which is compatible with SRM 4.0, which is currently in beta. The EMC MirrorView for VMware will carry out a knowledge consistency check on your set-up. This will include checking that parts of the VM aren’t orphaned. It can also automate the fail-back process.

EMC Fast Clone:

This was previewed at this year's VMworld. It’s essentially a replacement for the Vi3.5 VDI Deployment Tool. The new “Fast Clone” utility looks a bit more integrated than the previous utility.

CX4 and NaviSphere:

I was also given a sneak preview of the new version of Navisphere that runs on the CX4. From Navisphere, you get a view of the virtual machine from the storage management tools. See it like the other end of the telescope of EMC Storage Views. So with Storage Views you see your array, and from the new version of Navisphere you can see the ESX hosts and VMs. So whether you're a VMware guy, a Storage guy or both, things are much more joined up now. So you have a small (H) icon that indicates an ESX host and you can expand it to show the VMs on that ESX host:

The new version of Navisphere has a search option to locate a VM. Then you can crack it open to examine the virtual disk set-up.

There’s also a capacity to run reports specifically angled at VMs:

EMC Replication Manager:

I covered all this stuff with Alex on Wednesday and then today we spent some time setting up EMC Replication Manager. Basically, it's a windows service that serves as a proxy between your ESX hosts and your arrays. Although it's much bigger than just that because there are application specific agents for things like SQL and Exchange. Alex took me through the set-up, which didn’t take too long. We set-up, through Replication Manager, a snapshot of my “VIDEOS” VMFS volume.

Once the snapshot process is in place, you can mount the snapshot. Using vSphere’s new capability to re-signature volumes via the GUI when you run the Add Storage wizard like so:

After doing the re-signature, the ESX hosts are automatically re-scan to display the original volume and the snapshot volume. After that, it’s more or less a copy and paste process to get the data out of the snap volume and into the original volume:

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