EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client 6.1

Today EMC released the long awaited VSI Web Client (VSI WC abbreviated for this blog) that works directly with VMAX and VNX. The first version of the VSI WC (6.0) only worked with ViPR and while you could provision from VMAX or VNX, it was only possible through ViPR. With VSI WC 6.1 provisioning can be done through the SMI-S Provider for VMAX (FC only, no iSCSI) or directly for the VNX. For those of you familiar with the current VSI “Classic” thick client, the difference between that and VSI WC is that VSI Classic consists of various features delivered as individual executables and installed on a system with the vSphere Client. In other words it is a plug-in to the vSphere Client.  Therefore the VSI Classic features are only available from that system and are not integrated directly into the vCenter. Each separate system that needs access to VSI Classic features must have the executable(s) installed. VSI WC on the other hand is registered directly with the vCenter as a plug-in and is available from the vSphere Web Client by anyone (with privilege) accessing it. This greatly simplifies things and is in line with VMware’s move away from the thick client to the Web Client for future releases.

I like to think of VSI WC as VSI Lite, both because of the implementation in the Web Client and because initially it will start with the core VSI Classic capabilities and build from there. There are some features, for instance, that will remain in VSI Classic  – RecoverPoint Management and the SRA Utilities come to mind as they are used with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) which is not a plug-in in the vSphere Web Client.  Others may not be ported at all as they were designed for earlier vSphere releases like the Path Management feature.  VSI WC, however, provides the two most important features for VMAdmins – in-context storage resolution and storage provisioning. I’m going to quickly run through the basic implementation of VSI WC and its capabilities.  For detailed information the Product Guide is the best source.

VSI WC is deployed as a vApp called the Solutions Integration Service (SIS) and requires a single IP. Once deployed, the vCenter is registered in SIS and then subsequently the SIS is registered in the vCenter accessed through the vSphere Web Client. Here is what the administration page of SIS looks like after the initial login.

SIS_homepageClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

On the left-hand menu is a Register VSI Plug-in option. Enter in the required information and select Register.

SIS_registerClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Now that VSI WC is registered in the vCenter (in other words the plug-in is installed in the vCenter), we need to register SIS in the newly installed VSI WC plug-in. When you log in to the vCenter through the vSphere Web Client and navigate to the vCenter you will see the VSI plug-in on the bottom of the tree.  Note that the vSphere Web Client need not be installed on the vCenter server itself.

VSI_menu Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Navigate to Solutions Integration option which will bring you to a screen where you can register SIS.  Select Register Solutions Integration Service from the Actions menu.

VSI_registerClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

A dialog box will now appear.  As when you registered the vCenter in SIS, here input the SIS information into the vCenter.  Some fields will be inaccessible as they are pre-populated for you.  Note in particular one of these fields, the EMC SIS User Name.  This is how SIS identifies my root user for my vCenter vApp, with @<vCenter_IP>.  This is important because as I will mention below, that is the user name SIS will expect when I setup my storage access.  The other field worth pointing out is the vCenter User Name, again an inaccessible field.  In my case, the user is what I logged into the vCenter as; however, the user name may appear differently than the logged in user.  For instance you may log in as administrator@vsphere.local but the user name in this field may only say “administrator“.  This is not a cause for concern and I only mention it for that reason.

Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Once SIS is entered, the plug-in is able to facilitate adding storage systems. Since my focus is VMAX naturally let’s see that. We go back to the VSI plug-in menu but this time select Storage Systems. Using the Actions drop-down menu, select Register Storage System.

VSI_register_vmax_actionsClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

In the subsequent screen, enter in the SMI-S information and select Retrieve Arrays. Select the desired array and hit OK and it will be registered. Note that this process must be repeated for each array you wish to add as multi-selection is not possible.

register_vmaxClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Returning to the Storage Systems my array is now visible.

VSI_vmax_systemClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

An alternative way to add an array is to use the SIS.  You would first login to SIS with the EMC SIS User Name, in this case root@10.108.246.6.  Then navigate to Storage Access Control where you can add an array.  Once added the array will be available in VSI WC.  Just a word of caution about adding systems this way.  It will require the user to know the entire serial ID of the array.  As you can see below there is no ability to retrieve the arrays as in VSI WC, the ID must be manually entered.

SIS_vmax_systemClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

So now that our array is available we can provision from it. I am not going to go through the whole process here as it is akin to VSI Classic. The VSI menu is accessed the same way by right-clicking on a host or cluster and choosing New EMC Datastore (the other functions listed are for the VNX arrays).

Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

From there the wizard proceeds through selecting the storage array, thin pool to which the user has access and masking view, and finally the user specifies the size.  VSI will then create the device, present it to the host(s) and create a datastore on it.

One feature that is new in VSI WC and is not available in VSI Classic is RDM provisioning directly to the VM. With VSI Classic you can only create devices for RDMs, but they still need to be manually assigned. With VSI WC you can right-click on the VM itself and provision.  Here is the menu option you will see.

RDM_menuClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Once again the wizard will be similar to the datastore provisioning. The RDM will be created, presented to the host(s) and added to your VM automatically. This new feature is a great time-saver since the user avoids multiple steps and the potential for assigning the wrong disk to the VM.

Once you have the RDM or datastore, VSI WC has in-context storage information. Looking at the detail of our newly created datastore, I can see two panels, Storage System and Storage Device, both populated by EMC. Here I can find important information about the VMAX attributes of my device like RAID type and device ID.

VSI_storage_detailsClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Similar information is available at the VM level for RDMs and virtual disks through a new sub-tab called EMC Storage Viewer in the Monitor tab.

Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

VSI WC also has a user-access control function, much like VSI Classic. The user who first adds a storage array from within the vCenter or SIS (the logged in user) “owns” that array. That means they have control over who can access it. There also is no “shared” control – once the array is registered the user owns it and a second user cannot add it also. He has to be given access. Below I log back into SIS to assign some access control. You may note my user is root@<vCenter_IP>. I am using a vCenter appliance so normally I just use “root” to login to the vCenter, but SIS is going to require the IP as I mentioned above. I’ll just give a quick example below, explaining the process but not necessarily showing every screenshot. Once I am logged into SIS, I go into the Storage Access Control menu where I can see what storage arrays I have registered, in this case just the one. From there I can see what users are available in SIS, and if I desire I can add them to the array – the VMware_User in this example. When the user is added, then I can decide what thin pools I want to allow provisioning from by selecting Storage Pool. By default all pools will be disabled, so I have decided to enable two of them.

VSI_access_controlClick to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

While I can dictate what thin pools the user can access, unlike VSI Classic I cannot limit the masking views of the user.

Well I hope that was useful to those of you who have waited for this new product and capability.  Expect future VSI WC releases to build upon this functionality. Remember VSI WC is a free download and can be found on support.EMC.com, along with a Product Guide that will flesh-out all the details around what I have covered here. Give it a shot!

Some links:

Demo of VSI with VMAX integration:

https://community.emc.com/videos/8320

Download the VSI software:

https://support.emc.com/downloads/34010_VSI-for-VMware-vSphere-Web-Client

Documentation:

https://support.emc.com/products/34010_VSI-for-VMware-vSphere-Web-Client/Documentation/

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35 thoughts on “EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client 6.1

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  1. Where does vCenter Orchestrator fit vis-a-vis VSI 6.1? I know there are vCO workflows documented in the ViPR 1.1 release, but I didn’t see any listed for VSI 6.1. If I want to run vCO workflows to provision VNX/VMAX storage do I still need to install/configure ViPR?

    1. Hi Jim,

      There is no relationship between VSI and vCO. While VSI and ViPR both use the SMI-S Provider to provision storage, in your scenario you would still be using ViPR as VSI doesn’t have the hooks you need.

      Thanks.

  2. Hi
    Nowhere it is mentioned about SUSE. Is it important to have access to SUSE or the web console? “x.x.x.x:5480”
    Thanks

    1. It is not required, no. The web console will allow you to more easily make modifications to the IP address, host name, etc. but all that can be accomplished in the VM console also. The Product Guide includes a troubleshooting section that explains how to access the VM console, though it is deficient in the web console detail. I will have them amend it. Thanks.

  3. Hi,

    Ive just tried installing this but after I login to the webinterface and click Register VSI Plug-in – the page takes a long time to load and the green loading circle in the top right never goes away.

    If I enter the vCenter details the Register button stays grayed out.

    The appliance is running on a fast/powerful server without much else running on it so I know its not the underlying hardware.

    Any ideas why it wont finish loading?

    Thanks
    Geoff

    1. Hi Geoff,

      The timeout is really long on the registration unfortunately. It should eventually come back. There are a couple known issues with registration, however, so I would check a few things. First can you ping the IP and/or vCenter FQDN that you are using in the registration from the SIS console (root/emc)? Are there any firewalls between the vCenter and SIS? Does the browser you are using have access to the Internet? Let me know about those and we can go from there.

      Thanks.

      1. Hi,

        I’ve initiated the “Register” process two days ago and its still stuck on “receiving your response…”
        Both the vCenter and the SIS are on the same sub net, so no firewalls or ping issues.

        Should there be any other access to the SIS client from outside ?
        Thanks.

      2. Hi Ori,

        The SIS may require access to the Internet to download java files. If your SIS does not have access (e.g. dark site) there is a hot fix you can obtain. If it does have access, but registration continues to fail, you still might require the hot fix (there are a couple other known issues). So here is what I would do. If the site does not have Internet access, but that can be altered, try that first; otherwise open an SR with EMC Support, state the symptoms, and tell them you have been advised by EMC Engineering to obtain a VSI hot fix that is designed to overcome registration issues. The hot fix will be a new OVA file. The fix has been included in VSI 6.2 which is being released soon.

        Thanks.

        Drew

  4. Hi Drew & team,

    I am also trying to register the EMC VSI plug-in in the VCE VBlock environment (so no direct Internet access) – current plug-in version shows as:

    Current VSI Plugin
    File Name: vsi-package-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.zip
    Version: 6.1.2

    and it hourglasses for hours but not completes registration, at least I do not see the new option for regsitering Solutions Integration Sewrvice in vcenter Web UI. I have downloaded the latest GA available OVA from EMC Powerlink site (emc_solutions_integration_service_x86_64_OVF10.ova) but it is still the case.
    The VM actually is a Linux machine but the application login “admin”/”changeMe” does not work for Linux session. What console credentials can I use, please?

    many thanks,
    Daniel

    1. Hi Daniel,

      The username for Linux is root/emc. The fixes for the Internet issue are rolled into VSI 6.2 which will GA in less than a week if you can hang tight until then; otherwise you would need to open an SR.

      Drew

      1. Hi Drew,

        Thanks for responding, the root credentials worked and it should be OK for my project needs to wait for the upcoming GA VSI 6.2 in a week time frame provided that the VSI plug-in registration process will be able to complete in an environment 9 of Vblock) w/o direct Internet access.

        I also am very much interested in accessing VSI API (not the SMI-S direct one) from vCO workflows that would implement physical provisioning of storage as a services for both VNX and VMAX arrays in the above environment. Looking at your earlier comment:

        “There is no relationship between VSI and vCO. While VSI and ViPR both use the SMI-S Provider to provision storage, in your scenario you would still be using ViPR as VSI doesn’t have the hooks you need.”

        EMC ViPR controller is not yet approved for installation into VBlock environments, that leaves me with requirements to interface with physical arrays (VNX and VMAX) for provisioning via “lower level” APIs. I was hoping that VSI 6.x would have such API, perhaps not officially published but still available for use with vCO workflows? Appreciate your comment on this as well.

        thanks,
        Daniel Zilberman,
        VMWare

    1. Hi Drew,

      Thanks – although I was secretly hoping that VSI would have some API that has at least a subset of UI based operations, specifically provisioning of a new VNX/VMAX based storage in VBlock. Unfortunately, leveraging ViPR is not (yet at least) an option, so will this leave me with CLI APIs (SYMCLI for VMAX and NAVICLI for VNX arrays) to implement physical provisioning via vCO workflows?

      I am new to storage as a service management, would appreciate your thoughts on this even though it dgoes beyond VSI plug-in itself.

      thanks,
      Daniel

      1. Some customers choose to use the Unisphere REST APIs and as you already noted the SMI-S Provider but you can certainly use SYMCLI.

    2. Hi Drew,
      Still looking at the upcoming EMC VSI release, although you commented that there will be no “public API” for integration with VMware vCO for implementation of physical provisioning of EMC VNX and VMAX arrays (inlcuding bootLUNs), the alternative of NAVICLI and SYMCLI command line scripting ios very labor intensive and the logic will always have to be “forked” depending of array type (that is VBlock model). Please let us know when 6.2 is our, cheers.

      Dan Zilberman
      VMWare

      1. It should be this week Dan, though I have not been given a definite date. I’ll have a blog post on it as soon as it is GA.

  5. Hi Drew,

    I’ve successfully registed the EMC VSI plug-in in the vCenter. You can find the screenshot of the registration and the state of VSI plug-in in vCenter in http://victor-yu.info/vsphere-5-5-web-client-and-emc-vsi-problem/

    The problem is when i relogin the vCenter as a administrator after the registration of VSI plugin, i navigate to Storage System and SIS and find that the both number of them display 0. It’s unusual and i can’t select Register Solutions Integration Service from the Actions menu to register SIS in vCenter. I’ve tried to restart vCneter and the VM of VSI, unregister the plug-in then register it again, but the problem persist. I’ve also checked the MD5 of OVA file that i downloaded from EMC and it matched the checksum provided by EMC.
    Then i read the troubleshooting of docu52909_VSI-for-VMware-vSphere-Web-Client-6.1-Product-Guide and checked the log file of VSI,but i didn’t find obvious problems.The log is also in http://victor-yu.info/vsphere-5-5-web-client-and-emc-vsi-problem.
    Do you have any idea why i can’t register SIS in vCenter?

    Thanks in advance!
    Victor Yu

    1. Hi Victor,

      Do you try stopping and restarting the vSphere Web Client or when you say you restarted the vCenter you actually rebooted the VM? The Web Client service restart can solve many of these issues. If that fails to help let me know and I can provide a more detailed way to clean-up the VSI install on the vCenter after unregistering it which should work.

      Thanks.

      Drew

      1. Hi Drew,

        This morning i tried to manually stop the vSphere Web Client service, waited for a while then restarted it, but unfortunately it didn’t work and i still can’t register SIS in Web Client. Now i need your more detailed way to clean-up the VSI installed on the vCenter please. Should i unregister it, then manually restart the Web Client service and register it again before trying to clean it up? The UI of web client is nice but there is too many strange bugs since vSphere 5.1, why would VMware replace windows client by web client? At least,i can still manage my sorage pool in VNX5300 with Soragte Viewer and Unified Storage Management in windows client.

        Thanks.

        Victor

  6. Any idea where I can find PowerPath path monitoring like what was available in the thick client? I added an XtremIO array which broke VSI in the thick client, and the web client seems to have none of that functionality yet, leaving me high and dry.

    1. It’s slated for a future release of the VSI Web Client – potentially by the end of March but don’t hold me to it.

  7. Hi

    I am running vCenter 6.0 with trusted certificates from MS CA and the vCenter VMCA providing the necessary certificates to the clients.

    I get the below error when i try to join the VSI to the vCenters. There are no firewalls in between. It complains about Certificates does not conform to algorithm constraints.

    ERROR BELOW:

    2015-09-14 18:47:45,050 [nio-8443-exec-1] INFO VsiService – English
    2015-09-14 18:47:45,160 [nio-8443-exec-1] INFO VsiService – admin: attempting to connect to vCenter 172.31.253.72 …
    2015-09-14 18:47:45,846 [nio-8443-exec-1] ERROR GrailsExceptionResolver – RemoteException occurred when processing request: [POST] /vsi_usm/api/instances/vsi/register
    VI SDK invoke exception:javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: java.security.cert.CertificateException: Certificates does not conform to algorithm constraints. Stacktrace follows:
    java.rmi.RemoteException: VI SDK invoke exception:javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: java.security.cert.CertificateException: Certificates does not conform to algorithm constraints
    at com.vmware.vim25.ws.WSClient.invoke(WSClient.java:122)
    at com.vmware.vim25.ws.VimStub.retrieveServiceContent(VimStub.java:1433)
    at com.emc.solutions.vijava.engine.ViJavaAdapterImp.create(ViJavaAdapterImp.java:109)
    at com.emc.solutions.vijava.engine.VmwareAdapterCache.getAdapter(VmwareAdapterCache.java:32)
    at com.emc.solutions.vsi.usm.vmware.VCenterServer.connection(VCenterServer.groovy:48)
    at com.emc.solutions.vsi.usm.VsiService.registerVsi(VsiService.groovy:338)
    at com.emc.solutions.vsi.usm.file.VsiController.doRegistrationAction(VsiController.groovy:81)
    at com.emc.solutions.vsi.usm.file.VsiController.handleRegistrationRequest(VsiController.groovy:58)
    at com.emc.solutions.vsi.usm.file.VsiController.apiRegisterVsi(VsiController.groovy:36)
    at grails.plugin.cache.web.filter.PageFragmentCachingFilter.doFilter(PageFragmentCachingFilter.java:198)
    at grails.plugin.cache.web.filter.AbstractFilter.doFilter(AbstractFilter.java:63)
    at grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.filter.GrailsAnonymousAuthenticationFilter.doFilter(GrailsAnonymousAuthenticationFilter.java:53)
    at grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.authentication.RequestHolderAuthenticationFilter.doFilter(RequestHolderAuthenticationFilter.java:49)
    at grails.plugin.springsecurity.web.authentication.logout.MutableLogoutFilter.doFilter(MutableLogoutFilter.java:82)
    at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:1142)
    at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$Worker.run(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:617)
    at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:745)
    2015-09-14 18:47:48,353 [nio-8443-exec-7] INFO LogGetService – admin: getting get log request …
    2015-09-14 18:47:48,388 [nio-8443-exec-7] INFO LogGetService$LogFileHelper – admin: open log file: /var/log/vsi_usm.log as read only
    2015-09-14 18:47:48,389 [nio-8443-exec-7] INFO LogGetService$LogFileHelper – admin: processing log file /var/log/vsi_usm.log …
    2015-09-14 18:47:48,436 [nio-8443-exec-7] INFO LogGetService$LogFileHelper – admin: number of lines in the log file: 1985

    1. Hi Mervin,

      Let me run it through one of our developers. You may need to open an SR if it isn’t something immediately recognizable because at that point they would need more detailed logs.

      Thanks.

    2. Mervin,

      Development indicates that as far as they are aware this is not a known issue. Please open a Service Request with EMC Support supplying the logs so they can look into it further.

      Thanks.

      1. I used the latest OVA : emc_solutions_integration_service_v70_x86_64_OVF10.ova installed and registered with vcenter 6.0 U2A latest build , unable find the plugin on the webclient . The plugin is registered and can be seen under registered plugin , however webclient is not loading the plugin . went thru the virgo logs of webclient didnot see any crash .

        Any reason why I will see this issue. Do you want me to clean the registration on the vcenter mob page and re-register from 8443 page ?

      2. I assume this is a new vCenter. If not be sure the version under the registered plug-ins is the 7.x one and not the previous version. Before unregistering the plug-in restart the web client if you have not already. If that fails to resolve you should first unregister the vCenter in SIS before removing the extension from the mob page, restarting the web client, and then attempting to register again in SIS. There are situations where I’ve had to clean the VSI files from the vCenter even after unregistering the extension in mob but start with the above steps first.

  8. Hello Drew,

    We are having issues removing the VSI plugin from vCenter after the VSI appliance has been gone for some time. We disable it and it re-enables for some reason and we tried to remove it using VMware’s recommended method and were unsuccessful. We were told by support (both EMC and VMware) to redeploy the appliance and then try to re-install/uninstall the plugin. We are trying to do so but are now stuck at trying to register with the “receiving your response …” message.

    Filename used to re-deploy: emc_solutions_integration_service_v70_x86_64_OVF10.ova
    Current VSI Plug-in File Name: vsi-package-1.0.0-SNAPSHOT.zip
    Version: 7.0.1.80

    I am able to ping the vCenter IP and FQDN from the SIS console. Not sure what else is stopping us from registering. Any input or suggestions would really be appreciated.

    1. Removing plug-ins from vCenter is a frustrating process. Let’s focus on the current status. In vCenter if you navigate to Administration/Client Plug-Ins, does the EMC VSI Plugin show up? It shouldn’t, of course, but if it does we should remove it first. Communicating over comments is going to be too hard so send me your response at drew.tonnesen@dell.com and we’ll take it from there.

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