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.

My NetApp Flashpool implementation

The other day I was designing and implementing an all new NetApp FAS3250 setup running Clustered ONTAP 8.2 supporting a vSphere environment. This setup contains a bunch of SAS 10K disks and a DS2246 shelf filled with 24x 200GB SSD’s.

Because of the requirements stated by the customer, most of the SSD’s are used for a SSD-only aggregate. But to accelerate the SAS disks, we opted to use 6 SSD’s to create a Flashpool. I guess Flashpool doesn’t need any further detailed introduction. It is a mechanism used by NetApp to utilize SSD’s to automatically cache random reads and random overwritten writes in a dedicated Flashpool aggregate. Note the bold ‘overwritten’! This cached data is available during a takeover or giveback.



Although the implementation of a Flashpool is pretty straight forward, there are a few things I would like to point out. Things I encountered during the implementation: