NetApp VSC – simplifying vSphere storage configuration

I was setting up a demo in our lab for a customer recently and decided to use it as an opportunity to rebuild the VMware vSphere environment to a different design.

I’ve used the VSC before but it has been a while since I’ve installed/configured it and I’m still impressed ease of use and ability to simplify tasks. Following the steps within the NetApp Technical Report TR-3749 within 30 minutes I had:

  • Created a role with the appropriate permission I wanted – (provisioning, cloning and modify datastores)
  • Created group, assigned role to group and assigned user to group
  • Installed the VSC
  • Registered the VSC within vCenter
  • VSC discovered the array, including vfilers
  • Entered the newly created account, with customised permissions created earlier, for the VSC to access the NetApp array

After this quick, and simple, installation I went through and had look at the datastores I had already setup. At this stage I had configured the iGroups (LUN Masking) for ALUA on the array but had not configured the correct settings for ALUA or  the HBAs within vSphere, I decided to use the VSC to do this.

To confirm manually that the path to the LUNs wasn’t configured for Round Robin below is the path selection configuration of a datastore  before utilising VSC. I also confirmed my queue depth settings and this was not in line with NetApp recommendations.

The process I followed was to select the NetApp icon under “Solutions and Applications”

I was then shown a list of my controllers and vFilers and could see the status of each datastore (sorry, forgot to take screenshot, but MPIO and Adapter settings were in red)

Then I selected all datastores, with status errors and select “Set Recommended Values

Launched it to set the recommended values for NFS, MPIO and HBA/CNA adapters. It then works through the process and took a couple of minutes to do this for multiple datastores (both NFS and VMFS), across two clusters and 8 x ESXi servers (each server was booting from the array via FCP)

Upon completion the status came up all green via the VSC but, just to confirm, I went and looked at my path selection policy on the LUNs being utilised and found that it had changed to the correct settings.

I should also point out that most of my VM datastores, with VMs residing on them, were actually being presented via NFS. The information and administration options here are also very useful, as you can see below.

In conclusion the NetApp VSC not only provides VMware and Storage administrators with the ability to monitor, configure and manage  storage, from within vCenter,  but also makes it simple to comply with the vendor recommended practices for configuration and get the optimal performance and stability out of your VMware and storage.


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