Tegile NFS Datastore Management in vCenter

As the primary VMware and storage admin, I try to minimize the number of tools I have to use to accomplish my tasks. When it comes to provisioning and managing volumes for VMware, I prefer to do it all from within the vSphere if possible. The VSC console for my NetApp filers has saved a lot of time over the years, but as we continue to explore our Tegile array we can see what their software has to offer.

My last post was about registering the Tegile plugin with vCenter to have this functionality available in the vSphere client. This post goes into the basic administration of NFS volumes from within the vSphere client.

Prerequisites:
1. Credentials to the Tegile web interface (default is admin/tegile)
2. Registered the Tegile plugin on your vCenter server. Click here for those steps.

Steps:
1. Login to the vSphere thick client then click on “Home” and choose “Tegile Management” under “Solutions and Applications”
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2. Proceed through any security warnings and login to the Tegile interface
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3. On the left you’ll see a list of all the datastores on the Tegile that have been mounted on the ESXi hosts in this vCenter. Towards the bottom, click on “Add Datastore”
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4. Enter the following information and click “Create”

a.Name: Name of the datastore
b. Type: Whether block or file based (SAN or NAS)
c. Protocol: NFS, iSCSI
d. Quota: Check this box to set a max size of the volume
e. ESX/ESXi Server (Version): Check the hosts that this datastore will be provisioned to
f. Pool: The disk pool for this datastore (if multiple are available)
g. Project: The project that this datastore will be associated with
h. Purpose: The type of workload hosted on this datastore (important for block size assignment)
i. Zebi Floating IP Address: The IP each ESXi host will connect to
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5. Once the operation is complete, click “OK”
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6. The new datastore has been created and mounted and appears in the list of Zebi datastores
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7. Click the “More Details” button for the newly created datastore to see all the details of this volume
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8. In order to resize this volume, click the “resize” button
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a. Check the box for “New Share Quota” and enter the new size and press “Submit”
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9. This view will refresh and the new size will be reflected
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10. I have moved a virtual machine into this datastore to test the snapshot function with quiesce enabled. Click the “Snapshot” button for the datastore
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11. Enter the name of the snapshot, change “Quiesce” to “on” and click “Create”
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12. You’ll receive a message that snapshot creation has been triggered. Click “OK”
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a. A new task will be created to snapshot all VMs that are in that datastore
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13. Once the task to remove the virtual machine snapshot completes, click the “Refresh” button on the snapshot screen to see the new snapshot
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14. To delete the snapshot, check the box to the snapshot and press the “Delete” button
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a. Click “Yes” to confirm deletion
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b. After this box disappears the snapshot is deleted
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i. *UPDATED 10/9/14* There was a bug in version 2.1.2.4.140802 of the Zebi software that stopped the confirmation box was going away after the snapshot deletion completed. Clicking “No” would allow you to return to the snapshot list without any errors. In version 2.1.2.5.140925 this has been fixed and now the confirmation box disappears after the snapshot deletion completes.

Those are the basic functions you can perform from within the plugin. In a future release I would like to see the ability to create full snapshot schedules from the plugin. Since I am the one who is responsible for VMware and storage in our environment it’s simple for me to create the schedule on the web interface of the Tegile array, but that is not always the case. Another function I would like to see is mounting existing datastores on new hosts without having to go through the “Add Storage” process in vCenter for each host.

I’m confident the functionality will get there and I’ll continue to build my list of feature requests for the Tegile team.

Tegile NFS Datastore Management in vCenter

Register vCenter Server on Tegile

After 7 years of NetApp administration and implementation I have started looking for a new storage vendor that can “do it all” like NetApp has been able to do. Protocol support is a big deal in each of the environments I’ve worked in, but performance (IOPs and low-latency) are 2 things my existing NetApps haven’t been able to provide. The idea of adding capacity just to add performance is an antiquated way of thinking and NetApp just hasn’t been able to keep up with the evolving storage market.

I am starting a short series on Tegile setup and administration. Tegile came to us a couple of months ago and has impressed us from the very first conversation and all throughout our sizing and implementation. The box is simple to setup and administer and its performance is crushing our current NetApp.

This guide walks you through connecting the Tegile array to your vCenter server, installing the NFS VAAI Plugin, and setting the Tegile recommended values on the ESXi hosts. Once this is completed, you’ll be able to provision new volumes, resize existing volumes, create VM-aware storage snapshots as well as view storage performance of your VMs all from within the vSphere client.

Prerequisites:
1. Admin credentials to the Tegile and vCenter server
2. Dedicated service account in vCenter (I created an account called “ZebiAdmin”)
3. Root password for the ESXi hosts (required to set recommended values)

 

Steps:
1. Connect to the web interface of the storage array and login with Admin credentials

a. Default username: admin
b. Default password: tegile

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2. Click on “Settings” then choose “App-Aware”
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3. Click “Add vCenter/ESXi Host” towards the bottom
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4. Enter the following information:

a. Host Name/IP address: Host name or IP of the vCenter server
b. Username: User account with admin access to vCenter
c. Password: Password for user account
d. Enable Quiesce: This needs to be checked if quiescing will be used at all (a VMware snapshot is taken during thestorage snapshot process for OS consistency). Can be toggled per snapshot job

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5. Click “Test” to see if the connection is successful. If it is, the “Save” button will turn solid blue and can be clicked
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6. Click “OK” to confirm enabling of quiesce on VMware
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7. Once saved, click the green “Register” button to add the Tegile plugin to vCenter
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8. Once the registration is successful, click “OK”
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9. Login to the vSphere thick client (not the web client). Click the “Home” button then click on “Tegile Management” under “Solutions and Applications” (Click yes to proceed through any certificate warnings)
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10. Login to the Tegile web interface (Likely the same username and password as in step 1)
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11. In this interface you’ll see a list of Datastores on the Tegile that are mounted on your ESXi hosts as well as real-time stats of your array, datastores, and VMs.
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12. Click on “ESX Settings”
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13. Select all the ESXi hosts and then click the Green Arrow icon to install/upgrade the VAAI NFS plugin on these hosts
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14. After the install completes (may take 2-3 minutes), click the “Configuration” button for each host
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15. Login to the ESXi host (likely “root” credentials)
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a. Click “Yes” to enable SSH on this host if it isn’t already enabled
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16. NFS.MaxQueueDepth should be set to “32” and the rules for iSCSI and FC can be installed in this location. Click “Save” to enable these changes

17. After the NFS VAAI plugin has been installed and settings saved, reboot the host. Repeat for each host in vCenter.

a. The settings changes are immediate, but the NFS VAAI plugin requires a host reboot

 

The process is simple and straight forward. This same process on the NetApp requires the Virtual Storage Console plugin to be installed on a separate server and configured then registered on the vCenter side with much more configuration. Also, installing the NetApp NFS VAAI plugin on the hosts is done through vCenter Update Manager and has been downloaded separately from the NetApp support site. That being said, the Tegile solution is lacking some of the polish that NetApp provides. I would like to see recommended values of the ESXi hosts set all at once, as opposed to one host at a time. In addition, I’d like the Tegile to change NFS.MaxVolumes default value from 8 to something much higher like the NetApp (256).

Register vCenter Server on Tegile