The overall process to install NetApp VSC (Virtual Storage Controller) is simple and straight forward. The NetApp VSC includes in a single appliance the main VSC controller, the VASA Provider and also the plugin for the SRA component which works in conjunction with VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager).
In essence the NetApp VSC provides 3 main functions:
- manage storage and configure the VMware Hosts and in particular with the setup of the storage controllers. This includes credentials, permissions, NAS, timeouts and multi-pathing. This includes also the ability to collect and monitor performances for the single datastores. Great info that can be used to configure the storage profiles as well.
- leverage the VASA Provider to create storage capabilities profiles virtual datastores and set alarms
- use SRA for disaster recovery
Another nice feature supported from NetApp VSC is the NFS plugin for VAAI (VMware vStorage API for Array Integration). This plugin in fact allows to integrate with the VMware Virtual Disk Library running on the VMware vSphere Hosts. The VMware VAAI allows to offload certain common action directly to the storage controller without using resources (and traffic) from the VMware vCenter. This includes amongst the others tasks like thin provisioning, copying, cloning data blocks and more. In such cases all these operations are natively executed by the storage array.
To install NetApp VSC makes it convenient to have everything in single place. This article is a follow up from a previous one covering the first part about deploying the NetApp VSC.
At the time of writing the latest version of NetApp VSC supporting VMware 6.7u1 is version 7.2.1. This version also works with both the VMware vSphere Client (HTML5) and FLEX client (Adobe Flash). Whereas for the former this is only a technical preview in reality all the configuration is done from the latter. Probably next releases of the NetApp VSC will fully support the VMware vSphere Client as soon as the FLEX client is removed. Also it is strongly advised to deploy the VMware Tools as part of the process to install NetApp VSC. This is included as part of the NetApp VSC first setup as shown later in the article. Upon the NetApp VSC install, configuration and VASA Provider registration everything is ready to deploy and manage storage for the VMware virtual infrastructure.
How to install NetApp VSC appliance
On the first boot and before proceeding to install NetApp VSC the wizard executes a scripts which is checking if the VMware Tools is installed on the virtual appliance. Before moving to the next steps it is strongly advised to install the VMware Tools using the link from the vSphere Client or simply use the pertinent option from the Remote Console as per screenshot below.
The operation to install the VMware tools takes a few moments and is almost instantaneous.
At this point the internal script checks for the installation status and prompts for a reboot of the appliance to make the changes effective. During the process to install NetApp VSC it is recommended to leave the virtual appliance with 12 GB of Memory RAM. Same applies with in place upgrades to future versions.
The NetApp VSC now shows all the selected values as per customisation of the OVA template in the previous step. It is also creating a user called “”maint” with default password “admin123”.
The installation script is now validating all the supplied parameters and start the various services on the virtual appliance.
A few moments later the NetApp VSC is ready and it also showing the addresses to reach the configuration page.
In the meantime the plugin has been installed on the VMware vCenter and from the VMware vSphere Client it is possible to acces the plugin but as a technical preview only for this version of the Virtual Storage Controller.
Adding a Storage system is pretty simple as the screenshot is showing. To complete this operation it is necessary to register the VASA provider first using the FLEX Client as shown in the next steps.
In the vSphere Web Client (FLEX) a new icon for the NetApp Storage Console appears.
From here the option to configure and enable the VASA Provider.
This step requires enabling the VASA Provider and enter the address of the NetApp VSC appliance.
At this point the wizard collects the info and requires a full log out/in to the vSphere Web Client again.
Next step is to configure the VASA Provider. If the previous step is successful this will show the name of the vCenter in the drop down menu. It is actually possible to associate the same NetApp VSC to multiple vCenters.
Here the link to proceed with the VASA provider Extension which will register the necessary content components visible also in the “VCSA-Address/mob”.
Once the VASA Provider is enabled and configured the next step is to register the vSphere Plugin back to the NetApp VSC appliance. By default the web page to run this operation is located at:
Going back to the main console now the Virtual Storage Console will be populated with the available storage systems. This view can also be used for monitoring and configuration of various settings like NFS, MPIO (Multi-pathing IO) and more.
It is everything ready now to start adding the storage systems available from the configured NetApp ONTAP.
when adding new storage system it is possible to grant and/or revoke specific permissions like creation, discovery, modification and destruction of the existing datastores sitting on specific LUNs operated by NetApp ONTAP.
An additional message informs about the successful operation.
And of course it is possible to edit other settings as well.
Once the “LUN is created” and presented to the VMware vCenter it is just a matter of creating a new VMware datastore which will leverage the same LUN. All activities on such LUNs like VMs and other objects will be monitored by NetApp VSC. In this example a simple datastore formatted with VMFS 6 will be created with no particular storage profile.
Next is to specify the name of the VMware vCenter responsible for the virtual infrastructure, the storage system (the NetApp VSC) and the available SVM (Storage Virtual Machine) with associated storage on NetApp ONTAP.
In the details view the option to specify the size along with if the thin of thick provisioning should be used when allocating the space for the datastore creation itself on the NetApp SVM. The Disk Aggregate to use and if part of an existing VMware datastore cluster.
And finally a quick page to review the main settings before amending changes.
This datastore is now created on a particular VMware Host. In reality as soon as the storage is created this can also be mounted also to the other Hosts part of the same vSphere Cluster or Data Center. Very useful for fail-over and vMotion scenarios.