VSI 6.3 releases with new VMAX enhancements

VSI 6.3 released today and contains some new VMAX features I have been requesting (along with many customers).  When VSI moved from its Classic form into the Web Client, the initial VMAX integration was extremely basic.  Over the past many months I have worked closely with development to re-incorporate many of the features I saw as critical from the Classic VSI.  I’m going to give you a high-level view of these below and then leave you to explore them, along with letting you know what you can expect in a future release for the VMAX.

Since we just released the VMAX3, I should start by noting that the new platform is not yet supported in the VSI Web Client, nor is SMI-S 8.0, part of Solutions Enabler 8.0.  Support for all those will come together in a future release.

So here are the three additions to the VMAX world in 6.3:

  1. Read-only user
  2. Device size and total size restrictions
  3. iSCSI support

Our first item, the read-only user, is tied closely with the second item so let’s look at both. The third item speaks for itself so no need to cover it in detail.  I’m going to assume a general knowledge of the VSI Web Client going forward.  I have a couple blog posts on the previous versions which are listed at the end if you need a refresher.

The device size restriction will be the first thing you come across.  When you add a new VMAX array in the vSphere Client there is a new field for a max device size in GB:

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

Setting this to something other than ‘0’ (unlimited) will restrict ANY user, even the owner of the array, from creating a device larger than the value.  If you need to adjust it, for any reason, it can be done in SIS.  It cannot be done in the vSphere Client without removing the array and adding it back.  In SIS the field will be listed with the array:

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

A user provisioning from that array will see in the “More Info” column if the array has a max device size.  If they ignore that, rest assured VSI will not allow them to provision a device over the set limit.

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

Now that we have added our array with our device limit, can we do some further restricting?  Yes, yes we can.  It starts with the read-only user.  This feature was inherent in VSI Classic Storage Viewer since it was by design a read-only feature. Since we have rolled the features together in the VSI Web Client it makes sense to call out R/O.  The way we handle it is to make R/O the default position.  To use an example, I own array 000198700046.  I have a user vsi@vsphere.local on the team who initially needs to see VMAX device IDs for the datastores but not provision.  The user is highlighted here:

RO_1Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Once I choose to add that user and save the action in the screen, vsi@vsphere.local is automatically a read-only user to the array with no ability to provision – all thin pools R only.

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

If at a later time I wish to provide some provisioning capability, I can add a secondary restriction.  Adding thin pool access works the same way it currently does.  The user is added to the pool and then has the ability to provision from that thin pool (under the device limit if set).  What we can limit beyond that is a total size restriction on the array.  This setting is available regardless of the number of thin pools from which the user can provision.  There is a new button called “Usage” for each user who has access to the array.  Selecting that button will bring up the Usage dialog where the owner of the array can place a quota against that user.  In the example below, the vsi@vsphere.local user is given a 1 TB quota.  This means he cannot provision more than that total amount, regardless from which thin pool the device is provisioned.  Note that the way VSI keeps track is to have a table of all devices that user created.  Only devices created through VSI are cataloged.  In addition, the owner may choose to exclude a device (highlighted in blue) which will reduce the total usage by that amount.  Excluding devices or increasing the quota are the ONLY ways to change the total amount permitted to the user.  VSI cannot keep track of deleted devices.

RO_4Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

Essentially those are our VMAX enhancements.  I should also point out, however, that there has been additional changes to the GUI interface making it even cleaner than before.  You can also change coloring with a new light/dark button on the bottom of the screen as seen animated here:

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

What’s in store for the future?  We’ll start with the disclaimer that anything I mention here could change tomorrow so don’t build a plan around it yet.  I’m looking to see a significant increase in the fields available for each device identification.  This would include what thin pool(s), storage group, FAST VP Policy, the device is part of.  Think of VSI Classic Storage Viewer.  How about multiple, simultaneous RDM creation to make presenting Gatekeepers to VMs a breeze?  Enhanced quotas at the thin pool level.  Restrict provisioning by masking view – again thin VSI Classic security.  A bunch of things on the way (I hope) along with VMAX3 support, but in the meantime I hope these additions are beneficial.  Here are the links to the software and documentation and a video:

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client Version 6.3
https://download.emc.com/downloads/DL55691_VSI-for-VMWare-vSphere-Web-Client-6.3.ova

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client Version 6.3 Release Notes
https://support.emc.com/docu55735_VSI-for-VMware-vSphere-Web-Client-6.3-Release-Notes.pdf

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client Version 6.3 Product Guide
https://support.emc.com/docu55736_VSI_for_VMware_vSphere_Web_Client_6.3_Product_Guide.pdf

EMC VSI for VMware vSphere Web Client Version 6.3 Demo
http://youtu.be/-QiamPYEfLQ

Previous VSI posts:

https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/emc-vsi-for-vmware-vsphere-web-client-6-1/

https://drewtonnesen.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/vsi-6-2-web-client-ga/

I will close noting that one of the features I have been asked about more than once is the performance option available in VSI Classic which allows the storage monitoring of a datastore or RDM from the array’s perspective.  The question of course is when will this feature be available in the VSI Web Client?  Well, this is one that will not be ported over.  The reason for this is that we have another excellent product called EMC Storage Analytics for VMAX which provides extensive storage analytics while at the same time showing the relationships with the VMware objects all in the vCenter Operations Manager interface.  We continue to improve and enhance this product (see my blog post ) and see it as a far superior solution than what was available in VSI Classic.

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