Tag Archives: Storage

#VFD5 Preview–DataGravity

DataGravity_392x652-wpcf_100x17Let’s set the stage here!  We got Paula Long – yes, the same Paula Long that co-founded EqualLogic  – yes the same EqualLogic that Dell purchased in 2008 for 1.4 billion.  We have John Joseph – another long time (as long as  you can get in startups) EqualLogic member!  These two get together to execute on an idea, hire David Siles, a long term member of the senior leadership team at Veeam to be their CTO and then, on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at approximately 12:01 am, weighing in at 85 lbs and 26.75” tall DataGravity was born.

Disclaimer: As a Virtualization Field Day 5 delegate all of my flight, travel, accommodations, eats, and drinks are paid for. However I do not receive any compensation nor am I required to write anything in regards to the event or the sponsors. This is done at my own discretion.

DataGravity will present at Virtualization Field Day 5 in Boston on June 25th and I cannot be more excited to hear what they have to say.  I’ve spoke with them before, briefly at the craziness that is VMworld – and honestly, the booth was so busy with people wanting to get into to see the new baby that I couldn’t stay long – so having a couple hours with them will be long overdue.

Just another storage startup?

Technically yes and technically no!  So in terms of technically yes what I mean is DataGravity is a storage array!  They are your primary storage!  They can provide storage to your ESXi hosts not only through the traditional NFS mounts and iSCSI targets, but also have a built-in VM-Aware storage provider – allowing you to skip the whole LUN provisioning and treat your VMs as a first class citizen in terms of living on the array!  VM-Aware of course makes it easier for us to perform things like monitoring, data protection and provisioning.  That said, haven’t we seen all this before?  Isn’t the market full of this?

Those questions lead me to the “technically no” part of my answer!  Sure, they do the primary storage, they have their flash piece!  If this blog post ended here then they would certainly be just another storage startup – but it doesn’t!  DataGravity’s differentiator in my opinion is the way they split their nodes of storage, and the unique functionality those nodes provide!

Not just another storage startup!

I’m not going to go too deep into how DataGravity works, partly because they are going to jam 2 hours of awesomeness into my brain at the end of the month so I’ll save it for then, and partly because I don’t really know how it all works…yet.

The main thing I get is that they “optimize, protect, track, and analyze data as its stored” – their words.  My words – it does more than just primary storage with the sweet spot being the “analysis”.   Basically the primary storage is just that, primary storage – but as data comes in it’s stored on a secondary node – this node can be used for the obvious, data protection, but also for analysis.  So think of it this way – it’s easy now to see who created a certain file, but do we have visibility into who has modified that file over time, who else has read that file, where else that file might be stored, what other files this person has created!  DataGravity gives us this functionality – and not just on a per VM level, on a complete array level!   And all of this analysis and querying being run on a secondary storage node, leaving production to do production like things.   Essentially it’s like Google for your storage array!

For now that’s all I have to give you but expect a bit of a deeper post to come the end of June, early July on DataGravity as I hear what they have to say at VFD5.  Don’t forget if you want to join in on the Virtualization Field Day 5 action you can do so by watching the live stream and follow along with the #VFD5 hashtag on Twitter!  And just a reminder – I’ll try to have the live stream and any event related content on my VFD5 landing page here as well!

Disclaimer: As a Virtualization Field Day 5 delegate all of my flight, travel, accommodations, eats, and drinks are paid for. However I do not receive any compensation nor am I required to write anything in regards to the event or the sponsors. This is done at my own discretion.

Dell VRTX upgraded to the supported version of ESXi 5.5 – Once again, No Storage!

waldoLast month I published a post in regards to the Dell VRTX, ESXi 5.5, and storage – or the lack thereof.  Well shortly after publishing that article Dell announced full support for ESXi 5.5 and released an ESXi 5.5 image on their website for those looking to upgrade or install.  In the chance that my little driver work around might affect support I decided I’d better pull the image down and get it installed on the few VRTX’s I had already deployed.

That said, looking at the build numbers and attempting to not have to redo all of the configuration I had already applied, I decided to take the upgrade route – even though the only difference was most likely the storage driver.  The upgrade process itself went smooth – no issues, no problems.  But after it was complete guess what was missing?  Yup, the datastore was gone again!

Where’s Waldo?

Now this wasn’t the same issue of missing storage that I described the last post.  Previously I couldn’t see the storage at all, this time, when looking at my Storage Adapters I could actually see the device that hosted my datastore listed.  So it was off to the CLI to see if I could get a little more information about what was going on.

To the CLI Batman!

After doing some poking around I discovered that the volume was being detected as a snapshot/replica.  Why did this happen?  I have no idea – maybe its the fact that I was messing around with the storage drivers 🙂  I guess that’s why they say things are supported and unsupported 🙂  Either way, how I found this out was with the following command.

esxcli storage vmfs snapshot list

snapvol

This command actually displayed the volume that I was looking for, and more specifically showed that it was mountable.  So my next step was to actually mount that volume again.  Take caution here if you are doing the same.  I know for sure that this volume is the actual volume I’m looking for – but if you have an environment with lots of lun snapshots/replica’s you will want to ensure that you never mount duplicate volumes with the same signature – strange things can happen.  Anyways, to mount the volume, take note of the VMFS UUID and we can use the following command.

esxcli storage vmfs snapshot mount -5315e865-0263a58f-413a-18a99b8c1ace

And with that you should now have your Dell VRTX storage back online – everyone is happy and getting along once again – Thanks for reading!

ESXi 5.5, Dell VRTX and Storage – or the lack there of!

8306.VRTX.jpg-1024x0Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on some vCO workflows to setup and configure a Dell VRTX as we are on the verge of deploying a handful of them.  Now this isn’t going to be a big post about what VRTX can do nor is it how to use vCO to set it up – I’ll save them for later – this is simply one small quirk that I’ve found when installing ESXi 5.5 onto the blades inside of the VRTX.

 

Small is the new big.

I shouldn’t have said small quirk – it’s somewhat of a show stopper.  If you simply throw on the vanilla ESXi 5.5 image, or even the Dell released image of ESXi 5.5 you will quickly notice that you have absolutely no storage available to you from the shared PERC controller that sits inside the VRTX.  Kind of hard to use the box with no storage 🙂

Before I go into my Dell rant if you are just looking for the solution, just scroll down to the “Driver thang” section of this post.  For the rest of us…

Since writing this Dell has released a supported version of ESXi 5.5 for the Dell VRTX blades.  Head over to Dell.com and punch in your service tags to get the image.  I’ve used and tested this and it work flawlessly 🙂  Thanks Dell!

Start-Rant -Type ‘Mini’

ESXi 5.5 is not certified on a Dell VRTX, so ultimately, you could say, it isn’t supported – not by Dell or not by VMware.  What I don’t understand here is that how Dell can release a “converged” solution, promote the crap out of it stating how great it is to run VMware on, and not support the latest release of ESXi!?!?!  I mean, this thing was released in the summer of 2014.  ESXi 5.5 was announced at VMworld in August 2013!  You would think that Dell would have the drive to hit the market with this thing supporting the latest and greatest software – but no – either way, I’m sure it will all be updated soon, and I’m sure they have their reasons – but for the meantime, here’s how to get it going…

Stop-Rant

Ain’t nuttin but a driver thang.

The fact that you don’t see storage isn’t the result of any major issue or complex problem.  It’s simply a driver.  The driver that the shared PERC uses included with the ESXi 5.5 image is just too new (?!?!?!).   However the version you need, or the version that I’ve found to work is labelled megaraid_sas version 06.801.52.00.  What the difference is between these two versions I have no idea, i just know you need 6.801.52 to make it work.  You can grab that here.

Once you have the file you are just a vib install away from VRTXing all night long.  Pick your poison when it comes to vib installs; update manager, vMA or esxcli – for the sake of not having to put too much effort into anything I’ll go over the esxcli way of installing the vib.  First things, upload that VIB to one of your datastores or an accessible area on the host.  From there, ssh in and install the vib using the following command.

esxcli software vib install -d /tmp/megaraid/megaraid_sas-06.801.52.00-offline_bundle.zip

The only thing that stands in between you and your VRTX storage now is a reboot, so go ahead and do that.

There you have it – storage!

This is only the way I’ve found to make storage work with the VRTX and 5.5 and hey, I could be crazy by doing all of this – so if you have any other suggestions, concerns, or comments I encourage them below or send me a message on Twitter – Like I said, I have a handful of these to configure so I’d rather not roll them out in some kind of crazy state 🙂

New StarWind Whitepaper – Why Is 3-Way Synchronous Mirroring Better Than 2-Way?

StarWind Software, a global leader in storage management and SAN software for small and midsize companies (or in the community terms – the company with the iSCSI SAN) has released a new whitepaper titled ;’Why Is 3-Way Synchronous Mirroring Better Than 2-Way?’

This white paper describes the difference between 3-and 2-way synchronous mirroring – capabilities that are both available in the StarWind iSCSI SAN & NAS solution. The document outlines the advantages of the 3-node high availability storage cluster that provides cost efficiency, increased reliability, and higher performance compared to 2-node HA.  You can go and grab a copy of it here.  While your there, you might as well grab yourself a copy of their FREE iSCSI SAN and try it out to see if it has a fit for you.

More StarWind News – and more free lisenses!!!!

Are you a VMware vExpert, VMware Certified Instructor (VCI), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) or a Citrix Certified Instructor (CCI)?  If so you are in luck!!!  StarWind Software, the makers of the innovative iSCSI SAN software announced that they are now giving away NFR license keys of their High Availability SAN solutions to the groups listed above.  No way you say, yes way, you can head on over to this form to claim your copy of the StarWind iSCSI SAN, StarWind Native SAN for Hyper-V as well as the new VM Backup solution that they have.

It's great to see companies like this recognize the time that individuals from those communities put into 'spreading the word' and make it easier for all of us to gain access to the technologies that we need access to.  It makes everything so much easier when you arn't dealing with multiple trial licenses and expirey dates.  You can check out the official press release here.

One note, you only have until the end of September to get over there and get your keys, so go sign up, and if the form is too tricky for you simply send a message over to Roman Shovkun roman.shovkun@starwindsoftware.com (CSO of StarWind).