ESA 3.1 – VMAX3 arrives

ESA 3.1 (will show as 3.1.1 – just a version thing) is available starting today bringing the VMAX3 into the world of storage analytics.  In general this means we get the topology, metrics and support for VMAX3 objects within the VMAX dashboards, but also alerting and capacity planning.   ESA has the ability to show the entire topology of the VMAX3 down to the Storage Resource Pool (SRP).  Here is an image which displays the parent-child storage group relationship that is common with the VMAX3 SLO paradigm along with a drill-down to the SLO itself and all the groups that are part of that SLO (in this case Gold).

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

On the dashboard front, there have not been any changes.  I had thought about adding a widget to the VMAX Overview dashboard but in the end I decided I would post a new dashboard to the Dashboard Xchange instead so it would be an optional one.  The image here is the default dashboard and displays an environment with only VMAX3s.  You can see I call out the thin pool widget since the VMAX3 does not allow the manipulation of thin pools and as such will not display any information.

VMAX_overview_3.1.1 Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

The VMAX3 Overview dashboard (pull from the Dashboard Xchange at https://community.emc.com/docs/DOC-44002) I mentioned  includes a widget for SRP capacity details and SLO widget which just shows the SLOs available on the array – boxed in red.  In addition I deleted the thin pool widget.

VMAX3_overview Click to enlarge – use browser back button to return to post

The most anticipated feature in 3.1 for VMAX/VMAX3 has to be the capacity planning.  I’ve had many customers ask me about this functionality.  The easiest way to access it is to click on the object detail icon for the object in question:

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

Here is what the implementation of this feature looks like for a storage group (VM_SLO_sg), though you can look at the device level or even the SRP:

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

and the detail (when you click on the arrow next to Capacity in the gray box)…

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

Using the Capacity/Time Remaining screens you will be able to see into the future where your capacity needs are going and how long it will take to get there.  Clearly this will be a very useful tool for our customers.

On the alerts side, there are some for VMAX and VMAX3:

  • Device full – 95 and 98% generate alerts (both)
  • SRP full – 95 and 98% generate alerts (VMAX3)
  • Thin pool  – 95 and 98% generate alerts (VMAX)
  • Front-end ports – various conditions will generate alert (both)

The navigation for alerts from the Home page is Content -> Alert Definitions:

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

If you edit an alert (pencil icon in image above) you can get the details, like this one for the SRP, and change the conditions if you want.  Note that alerts are gathered like metrics, they are NOT real-time.  You would need to use Unisphere for VMAX or forward logs to something like Log Insight and integrate that with vROps/ESA to get them real-time:

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

And I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the other support in ESA 3.1.  In addition to the VMAX3 platform, ESA 3.1  includes support for RecoverPoint for VMs (RP4VMs).  The first release of RP4VMs in ESA has a more limited topology than expected because of the underlying API’s capability which will be enhanced in the next RPM4VM release.  It should also be noted that RP4VMs does not support vSphere 6.

Other enhancements in ESA 3.1 are:

  • Alerting and capacity planning for VPLEX and XIO
  • Additional alerts for VNX, and VNXe.

Anything else to know?  Like ESA 3.0, this version of the adapter requires vROps, not vCOPs, and in addition needs the first patched version of vROps 6.0.1. We also support vSphere 6 now so upgrade away.  The developer also got in an enhancement I was asking for concerning the dashboards.  Since every platform we support has at least 4 custom dashboards, the Home screen starts to get very crowded; and with VMware’s default dashboards you can end up scrolling right for a long time to get the one you are looking for.  For ESA what he did is present a check box for each platform that you can either check or uncheck based on what you have configured.  If you uncheck a platform it hides all the dashboards associated with that array.  Here is a visual of that selection.

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

 It does make things much cleaner, particularly when you only have a single array type configured.  Also note that ESA 3.1 does not support eNAS on the VMAX3 yet so those devices will be unavailable.

ESA 3.1.software and documentation is now available for download at the following locations:

EMC Storage Analytics (ESA) Adapter 3.1.1

EMC Storage Analytics 3.1.1 Installation and User Guide

 

Be sure to read the known issues in the Release Notes as some impact VMAX/VMAX3.

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