Welcome everyone to a new series of articles focusing on the HPE StoreVirtual VSA. I’m excited to start a new article on something I will heavily use in my home lab for different testings. In particular around Data Protection for VMs sitting on the HPE StoreVitual storage. This is a long awaited post. There are plenty of features and scenarios I would like to cover when possible in my home lab.
Definitely when it comes around Backups of course my attention and curiosity goes to Application Awareness for consistent backups. Nonetheless the integration with Data Protection solutions like Veeam Backup and Replication make this solution really palatable. For those who are not aware Veeam provides a feature called Backup from Storage Snapshots (BfSS). Leveraging the native APIs Veeam can reduce to the minimum the Backup window even for large and mission critical machines avoiding the “stun VM” effect. I will elaborate more on this in a separate topic.
Ideally I would like to keep the list of topics covered in this series open. I would like to update these topics based on feedback and current resources on my home lab! The current layout is as follows and subject to change:
- Install HPE StoreVirtual VSA
- Deploy HPE Centralized Console
- Configure HPE StoreVirtual VSA
- Create HPE StoreVirtual Management Groups, Cluster and Volumes
- Update HPE StoreVirtual VSA software
- Prepare HPE StoreVirtual Storage
- Connect HPE StoreVirtual Storage to VMware vSphere
- Veeam integration with HPE StoreVirtual
The list above seems quite long. In reality the HPE StoreVirtual GUI is very intuitive and more importantly allows for quick deployment operations as we’ll go through.
It’s now time to get our hands dirty. Let’s see how to install HPE StoreVirtual VSA on vSphere.
Install HPE StoreVirtual VSA
First things first. At the time of writing HPE offers a free 1 TB licence for StoreVirtual VSA with 3 years time limit. Absolutely perfect for testing in a comfortable home lab. To obtain the files of course it requires a login to process the download information. Once signed-in it is possible to download the StoreVirtual VSA along with other components and flavours.
This article covers the VSA install on a VMware vSphere environment coupled with a Centralized Management Console deployed on a Windows box. For those who prefer it is possible to use the VSA on an Hyper-V rather than KVM hypervisor. Additionally the Management Console can sit on a Linux box.
For the latest specs and system requirements I would recommend to consult the user guides available on the HPE website. A couple of CPUs paired with a t least 4 GB of vRAM and a 32 GB of virtual Disk are the minimum prerequisites to run the HPE StoreVirtual VSA. What we need to add would the Data Storage where the actual VMs will be sitting. This cannot be on the first or system disk deployed with the VSA itself.
Let’s copy and unzip the content of the VSA installer for vSphere. Then double click on the Virtual_SAN_Appliance_Launcher. From the command prompt below let’s choose the option “2” for a graphical installation.
Should this not work (it was my case!) then we can simply start the install with VSAInstaller on the same folder.
Let’s review and accept the HPE EULA.
For now we can skip the installation of the Centralized Management Console and focus on the VSA first.
First thing is to provide the name of the vSphere Host or vCenter environment. I would strongly recommend to check DNS name resolution including FQDN before proceeding when using names.
When pointing at a vCenter deployment it is possible to specify to which Host the StoreVirtual VSA will be registered to. This view also shows the connected storage to the vCenter environment.
Since this is the first install let’s go for the first option. In addition it si possible to enable the Space Reclamation feature if our Host is at least version above vSphere 5.0 and VMs are at least Windows Server 2012 and above.
Also if we are planning to add multiple Data Disks to be consumed by StoreVirtual as Storage we can also dictate which volume is a Tier0 (let’s say SSD) and Tier1 (let’s say NL SAS).
With this configuration HPE StoreVirtual can automatically move less used data to slower Tiers of Storage. At the moment for our scenario we’ll cover a single Tier of storage.
In the case of multiple VSA nodes cluster it is possible to also install a Failover Manager. More info on this configuration in a separate article.
At this point we can choose the physical location where the System Disk will be created. We can choose from any available storage in vCenter. This disk does not contain the VMs data disk.
HPE StoreVirtual VSA Network configuration
Next step is about configuring the network. All these settings can be changed at any time. This can be accomplished from the VSA itself or more comfortably from the Management Console. The StoreVirtual VSA by default supports two network cards. Of course it is possible to take advantage of this configuration to separate management from storage traffic and specify different settings.
We’ll cover more in the next articles. In this instance we are going to use one network card.
In this screen we can specify the VSA name. If no RDM disks are available the option is greyed-out.
HPE StoreVirtual VSA Storage configuration
In this step we are going to create the Data Disks that HPE StoreVirtual will use as storage location for the VMs Disks. It is possible to add up to 7 Disks. Ideally they should be sitting on different physical drives to ensure availability and performance for example when configured with storage tiering.
Also no RAID option. Why? Simply the VSA assumes the presented disks are already configured optimally.
A different story will be when adding two to more VSAs to the StoreVirtual cluster and depending on the number available the CMC GUI offers a RAID 1/5/10. In this case the data is conveniently split across multiple VSAs.
For now we can complete the VSA installation wizard with last option.
A final message before committing changes will appear to confirm settings. Let’s click yes to continue.
A final summary show the basic settings for the HPE StoreVirtual VSA. Once ready let’s hit on Deploy.
This is the final screen of the wizard showing the operations happening under the bonnet including the VSA provisioning steps. If we move to the vSphere Web Client new Tasks with execution status will appear in the panel. The process is very quick. The System Disk for the VSA is around 32 GB in size. So not a big one to create at all. Time for a quick coffee before moving with the next steps.
As soon as the VSA deployment completes and restarts the appliance we can fire the Remote console. No username and password still at this point. No need right now. We can start the configuration of basic settings for the VSA also using a text based menu. In this case let’s type start in the login prompt to proceed.
Or we can simply deploy the Centralized Management Console (CMC) and take advantage of the full GUI to manage with easy multiple VSA installations. Let’s review CMC deployment in the next article.