Dell EMC UnityVSA leverages a unified Software Defined Storage (SDS) that runs on top of VMware vSphere Host. It provides a flexible storage solution that do not require a dedicated storage system. This includes for example remote branch offices, test and dev and even homelab environments! The purpose of this article in the series is to follow up on the configuration and in particular how to setup Dell EMC Unity access for VMware. The UnityVSA helps provisioning storage for VMware environments.
What kind of storages Dell EMC UnityVSA provides?
Well pretty much all of them or at least the large majority. This includes all the variations for File and Block storage. For example, it is possible to provision VMFS, NFS and VVol in the case of VMware environments. And there is also the option to provide CIFS Shares over SMB and NDMP volumes. This part of the series focuses on the storage for VMware to create datastores. For Block storage iSCSI and FC are both supported.
By configuring the Dell EMC Unity access for VMware environments it improves the easy of use and flexibility. In general VMware Admins need to manage the storage and create the LUNs. Then setup datastores. All these operations are now automatically executed when configuring Dell EMC Unity access for VMware including the options to automatically register and scan the storage. This way the intended VMware vSphere Hosts are provisioned with the intended datastores facilitating the high availability scenarios also for virtual environments.
Another really important reason is the integration with the VMware VAAI and VASA Provider.
VAAI (vStorage API for Array Integration) improves VMware vSphere Host utilization by delegating storage tasks directly to the Storage Array. In this case the Storage Processor running on the Dell EMC UnityVSA. So for example all operations like zeroing, copying, cloning and so on are performed directly from the Storage Processor rather than using resources from the vSphere Host. And this is also quicker.
VASA (vStorage API for Storage Awareness) is a VMware API that helps vSphere understand the capabilities of a storage system. Informations like monitoring and reporting storage details can be used to define storage policies for datastores. This includes information like support for FAST Cache, thin provisioning and auto-tiering between hot and cold data.
More on these APIs integrations with dedicated articles. The setup is very easy and available through the web based console as well.
How to setup Dell EMC Unity access for VMware
From the main Dashboard > Access > VMware the option to start the wizard to discover the new VMware vCenter and Hosts available in the virtual infrastructure. In order to add a VMware 6.7 environment is highly suggested running Dell EMC UnityVSA 4.4 and later. More info on how to update UnityOS are available in the previous article. VMware admin credentials are required.
Next is to enter the Admin credentials or equivalent for the Dell EMC UnityVSA and hit on Register VASA Provider. This operation will be executed on all vSphere Hosts part of the selection.
The wizard has now all the info to process and setup Dell EMC Unity access for VMware.
A few seconds later the VASA Provider is now registered across all VMware Hosts in this environment.
In the ESXi Hosts view the table reports the configured ones along with the vCenter they are associated with. The Community Edition of UnityVSA can only be configured with one VMware vCenter at a time. As soon as the virtual machines will populate the datastores provided by the UnityVSA these will be visible as well in the Virtual Machines table.
Next step will cover how to provision storage for VMware vCenter.