VSI 6.8 – VMAX AFA and eNAS

It’s a busy end to our Q1 this year with a deluge of releases.  Like our other quarterly released product ESA (3.5), the latest version of VSI, 6.8, is now available.  We have some new support and a new feature on the VMAX side.  VSI 6.8 will be the first version which supports both the HYPERMAX OS 5977 Q1 2016 Service Release (SR) and the recently introduced VMAX All Flash Arrays (VMAX AFA).  VMAX AFA can now be managed with VSI, including the ability to provision.  VMAX AFA has two models which can be ordered with two different sets of software.  This actually means two different model numbers for each – VMAX450 (F and FX) and VMAX850 (F and FX). Here I have added a VMAX850F to my VSI environment.  Note that there is still only a single Storage system type when registering VMAX1, VMAX3 or VMAX AFA:  VMAX.

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

A quick PSA for those trying to keep up with our naming of arrays (me included), VMAX All Flash Arrays are their own category and do not include VMAX (VMAX1, VMAX2) or VMAX3.  Those arrays will be called the VMAX Family or VMAX3 Family respectively.  As far as VSI is concerned, however, there is only a single platform, VMAX, when adding arrays as I noted.

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

Now onto eNAS support.  VSI has introduced the ability to add eNAS storage systems so that NFS can be provisioned.  VSI supports eNAS on both VMAX3 and VMAX AFA.  There is a new Storage system type called “eNAS” that is used.  Below are the 3 steps to add the system.

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

Once added, the user can view the details of the system.

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

eNAS works just like VNX file.  In order to create a new NFS in vSphere, there must be a storage pool available with space from which to provision. The first demo below provisions NFS from eNAS using an existing storage pool.  It shows the advanced options available.  Best to use 720p for all videos.

One of the ways provisioning from eNAS is different than block on VMAX is that if you add a new storage pool in Unisphere after the eNAS system is registered in VSI, you will have to grant access to that pool before anyone can use it.  In the block VMAX world we are used to simply selecting a storage group and our datastore size and provisioning.  eNAS will require that extra step.  The following video demonstrates adding a new storage pool and then trying to use it before granting access.  It then shows how to give permission so that the pool shows up in vSphere.  I did not complete the datastore creation in the video as I just wanted to show the pool access functionality.

The final video demonstrates mounting an existing export on eNAS

One thing in the first video I made a point of calling out is to be sure that you choose the right interface when provisioning NFS.  If you don’t the provisioning is not going to work.

Finally I want to emphasize a new feature in VSI 6.8 that does not apply to VMAX and that is linked mode in vCenter.  VSI 6.8 has support for linked mode only with the XtremIO platform.  The Release Notes should make this clear but I get the question about linked mode often.

You can find VSI here:

VSI Web Client

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