Unisphere for PowerMax – VMware integration

As I mentioned in my initial post on PowerMax, I wanted to use a separate post for Unisphere for PowerMax VMware integration. VMware integration has been part of Unisphere in one way or another since it was called Symmetrix Management Console. In its more recent form it consisted of showing information about ESXi hosts, their VMs, and their storage. It even had the ability to allow the administrator to add RDMs to individual VMs. Unfortunately it had a couple of big drawbacks. Firstly, you could only add ESXi hosts and not vCenters. As most customers use large clusters of ESXi hosts in their vCenters, adding them individually was a non-starter. Secondly, in order to add an ESXi host you were required to use the root user, which many VMware admins were reticent to divulge. All in all then, it was a feature I saw used infrequently at best.

Year after year I pushed for development to change the integration and at the very least offer users the chance to add vCenters in addition to ESXi hosts. The perseverance finally paid off and you can now add at the vCenter level and Unisphere will automatically bring in your ESXi hosts.


When you do add at the vCenter level, Unisphere will only add ESXi hosts in that vCenter that have storage presented from the array. This can be very useful if you run multiple clusters in a single vCenter, each which sees different storage. The same holds true if you try to individually add an ESXi host. It will fail if the host does not see the array storage.

The new integration also solves the second issue I mentioned, the root user. We now only require a read-only user when adding an ESXi host or vCenter since the integration is only read-only (no longer can you add RDMs to VMs).

When you drill-down into an ESXi host there are 4 tabs: Details (general info about ESXi host), Masking Views (pathing details), Virtual Machines (all VMs and details), and Performance (useful for noisy neighbors). In the virtual machine view you can select an individual VM and then obtain detail about its disks. The integration supports all VMware storage types – NFS, VMFS, RDMs, and VVols. In the example below I am showing a VVol VM and drilling down to one of the individual VVol devices. As we do not have this type of end-to-end integration within vCenter, this capability in Unisphere is a welcome addition to our VVol implementation.


Finally, I created a quick demo running through the various screens to offer a general overview of the feature.

Remember that you do not need to own a PowerMax array to use Unisphere for PowerMax. It supports all our VMAX platforms which allows you to take advantage of the new VMware integration whether you own a VMAX-1SE or a VMAX All Flash.

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11 thoughts on “Unisphere for PowerMax – VMware integration

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  1. I have a question about the number of characters we can have in a snapshot naming convention in powermax. I read its 64 somewhere and then also read 32.

  2. Hi Drew
    Your blog is amazing!!
    I started to read this week after some research about VMAX AFA.
    Does Unisphere for powermax 9.0 has all features of Unisphere 8.4 for VMAX?
    I’m asking that because, I Have two fresh VMAX 250F with Unisphere 8.4 and I’m wondering if would be a good choice upgrade to 9.0. So Can I do all management activities for VMAX 250F with Unisphere 9.0 ? What I need to take care in case of upgrade to the newest release?

    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Abreu,
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog! Unisphere 9.0 has all the features of 8 plus many more. I strongly advise upgrading from 8. Version 9, despite being called PowerMax, can manage all VMAX arrays. There is a separate upgrade iso (assuming you are using the vApp) that handles the upgrade. The other types of installations also have upgrade files of you aren’t using the vApp. It’s an easy process. 9.0 looks a bit different for navigation but close enough to 8 that you won’t get lost. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Drew!! Could you share a upgrade guide of unisphere embedded from version 8.4.1 to 9.0. The documentation that I found isn’t so clear. Unfortunately, we don’t use vApp

        Many thanks

      2. You cannot upgrade the embedded management unless the operating system of the array is upgraded. In your case the flash arrays would have to go from HYPERMAX OS to PowerMaxOS. That is performed by Dell EMC personnel. So if the array is not scheduled to be upgraded, you would have to use an external installation (virtual or physical host) of Unisphere for PowerMax.

  3. Thanks for clarify that Drew. So Can I have both? The embedded with unisphere 8.4 and an external vApp with 9.0 managing the same arrays? We’re not planing to upgrade the code of VMAX 250F to powermaxOS

  4. Hi Drew I Updated the code of VMAX and now, Unisphere(embedded) is in version 9.0. After the update, lot of SYSTEM LUNS (DATA) of 383 GB each is showing to me at Unisphere console. Is there a way to hide those LUNs ? Many thanks

    1. By default Unisphere will show you all the devices in the Volumes screen, but there is a filter capability so you can show just the type of devices you wish and leave DATA devices unchecked. You cannot change the default view permanently, only during the session. If you logout and log back in, you will have to filter again.

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