SDS: Software Defined Storage solutions


Software Defined everythingStill a very hot item in the ever strong developing IT landscape.

In the year 2012 ‘Software Defined’ looked like just another buzzword, but the market is changing direction more and more towards software defined solutions. The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) is nowadays supported by Software Defined Storage (SDS), Software Defined Network (SDN) and security solutions. All very cool stuff!! I want to take a closer look at SDS in this blog post.

So…What is Software Defined Storage? Everybody has an idea on what it should be. My idea of SDS matches the quote below:

Software-defined storage (SDS) is the process of using software-based techniques to create, deploy and manage storage resources and infrastructure. It enables abstracting or separating storage services from hardware devices by using software or programmatic access to extract and manipulate storage resources


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PowerCLI: provisioning a single vSphere host


Last week I was working on an environment running VMware vSphere Enterprise licenses. The job at hand was to expand the compute environment with some new blades. Due to the lack of host profiles, I wanted to be able to provision a new host with all the necessary datastores from CSV and all the correct vSwitch settings.

The scripts connects to vCenter, and asks which vSphere host you want to provision using their hostname. I used 2 functions; The first is used to configure the vSwitch settings, the second to configure the NFS advanced settings along with creating the datastores from a CSV file.


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Stretched Cluster on IBM SVC (Part 2)

This is part 2 of the VMware Stretched Cluster on IBM SVC blogpost series.

PART 1     (intro, SVC cluster, I/O group, nodes)
PART 2    (split I/O group, deployment, quorum, config node)
PART 3     (HA, PDL, APD)

SVC split I/O group
It’s time to split our SVC nodes between failure domains (sites). While the SVC technically supports a maximum round-trip time (RTT) of 80 ms, Metro vMotion supports a RTT up to 10 ms (Enterprise Plus license).

You can split nodes in 2 ways; with or without the use of ISL’s (Inter-Switch Link). Both deployment methods are covered in detail in this document.

Deployment without ISL
Nodes are directly connected to the FC switches in both the local and remote site, without traversing an ISL. Passive WDM devices (red line) can be used to reduce the number of links. You’ll need to equip the nodes with “colored” long distance SFP’s.

SVC no ISLSource


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Veeam v8 update session

Last week I had the pleasure of attending an update session by Veeam regarding the new release of Veeam Backup & Replication, version 8. I heard some interesting stuff coming along with the next release of this fine piece of software.
veeam v8

The GA (General Availability) status for v8 is still scheduled for Q3 2014. I can imagine Veeam is planning a release party at VMware’s VMworld which will be held 24-28 of August. The San Francisco version, that is. We’ll have to wait and see if that is going to happen. For now, the only way to check out new features is to test the pre-beta version.

Note that that Veeam Backup Management Suite is to be rebranded as Veeam Data Center Availability Suite in version 8.

New features that caught our attention are of course the NetApp snapshot support, EMC Data Domain Boost support, encryption, explorers for AD /MSSQL and tons of other enhancements. Let’s have a closer look to some of the new features…


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Stretched Cluster on IBM SVC (Part 1)

This is part 1 of the VMware Stretched Cluster on IBM SVC blogpost series.

PART 1     (intro, SVC cluster, I/O group, nodes)
PART 2     (split I/O group, deployment, quorum, config node)
PART 3     (HA, PDL, APD)



Last year I was the primary person responsible for implementing a new storage environment based on IBM SVC and V7000 and building a VMware Stretched Cluster (a.k.a. vSphere Metro Storage Cluster) on top of that. I would like to share some of the experience I gathered, caveats I encountered and other points of interest. This is by no means a complete implementation guide (go read the Redbook 😉 ). I’ll discuss some of the implementation options as well as failure scenario’s, advanced settings and some other stuff I think is interesting. Based on the content, this will be a multi-part (probably 3) blog post.

Stretched Cluster versus Site Recovery Manager
If you’re unfamiliar with the concepts Stretched Cluster and SRM, I suggest you read the excellent whitepaper “Stretched Clusters and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager“, explaining which solution best suits your business needs. Another good resource is VMworld 2012 session INF-BCO2982, with the catchy title “Stretched Clusters and VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager: How and When to Choose One, the Other, or Both“, however you’ll only be able to access this content if you’ve attended VMworld (or simply paid for a subscription).


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NetApp VSC and VASA 5.0 for VMware vSphere

NetApp released Virtual Storage Console (VSC) version 5.0 last April. NetApp VSC for VMware vSphere is a tool that enables you to monitor, manage and provision your NetApp storage back-end from within VMware vCenter. The VSC 5.0 release only integrates with the vSphere web client, luckily so. If you still want to be able to use VSC with the desktop vSphere client, you are bound to VSC version 4.2.1.

By installing VSC, some predefined roles are implemented within vCenter. Utilizing VMware’s RBAC capabilities makes it possible to grant your vCenter administrators access rights to perform some basic storage tasks. By doing so, it relieves your storage team by not having to perform these administrative duties.

These basic storage tasks include:

  • Provision datastores
  • Clone virtual machines
  • Check and perform virtual machine alignment
  • Migrate virtual machines individually or in groups to a new or existing datastore
  • Backup and restore virtual machines*
*Additional license required. Note that SFR (Single File Restore) is no longer supported.

Next to the tasks above, VSC can also be used to configure vSphere hosts with the recommended NFS settings and to deploy the VAAI plugin.


Another nice new feature is the VASA (VMware APIs for Storage Awareness) appliance with support for Clustered Data ONTAP. The VASA appliance will be the foundation for the much awaited virtual Volumes (vVOL). The VASA integration with vCenter depends on the VSC plugin, so make sure VSC is installed before you deploy and configure VASA.

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