ESA 4.6 – PowerMax

So it’s been less than 2 months since our last ESA release but we have another! Truth be told we had to wait to release ESA 4.5 because VMware delayed vROps 6.7 and we had already built it on that software. The new release, Dell EMC ESA 4.6, which also runs on vROps 6.7 of course, is now available for download here.

The Release Notes list the following new features:

    • Rebranding VMAX to PowerMax.
    • Support for latest Dell EMC storage platforms.
    • Support for native replication and data reduction in XtremIO 6.1.
    • Removal of ESA Licensing.

The first item on that list needs some expansion, otherwise I fear users will be very confused when they upgrade to this release. As is apparent, ESA 4.6 is the first release to support the PowerMax platform. The introduction of PowerMax forced the developers into making a choice about naming within ESA since PowerMax is not a replacement to the VMAX, but rather a new platform. Therefore they had to consider a naming convention like VMAX/PowerMax for all objects or make an attempt to separate them and thus double the objects, including dashboards. They weren’t fond of the first option and the second option was really a non-starter to avoid doubling objects within vROps, not to mention the challenge of identifying the PowerMax objects as distinct from VMAX objects. So instead they decided to simply go with the “PowerMax” name replacing the VMAX name. The one area where there was some relenting (due to some engineering push back by me) is when you add an array as an adapter instance, the VMAX is still available as a choice.

I should point out that the code on the back end is the same, but this does provide a way to properly track the type of arrays you are running.

The environment categories will now appear as thus:

There is still a left-over category here that will need to be removed in the next release and that is “PowerMax Thin Pools”. Users have not been able to manage thin pools since the VMAX2 which is no longer supported in ESA so this needs to go.

So just understand that though you will see the PowerMax name everywhere, it still includes your VMAX arrays. For instance in this view I have both VMAX and PowerMax arrays despite the naming.

OK, so the other feature that impacts all platforms is the removal of licensing. You can see here there is no longer a field for it:

VMAX All Flash and PowerMax offer ESA for free, as do most of the other platforms so it really is unnecessary now.

A couple final reminders.

  • Though the PowerMax is a new array distinct from VMAX, you can upgrade VMAX arrays to the software that runs PowerMax, PowerMaxOS. Note that the PowerMax array is brand new hardware that supports deduplication and NVMe. You don’t get those simply with a software upgrade, however.
  • ESA 4.6 requires using Unisphere for PowerMax 9.0 when adding either VMAX or PowerMax arrays. Unisphere can manage both the arrays without issue, so even if you do not have a PowerMax array or the PowerMaxOS, you will need this version of Unisphere for ESA.

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