As third part of the series, this article focuses on the NetApp VSC 9.7 storage provisioning for VMware. This article follows the preliminary steps of deploying NetApp virtual appliance and run the first time setup. Next and final part of the process is to configure and enable the NetApp VSC plugin to talk to the vCenter. This also includes the activation of the VASA Provider which allows the Storage Controller (NetApp in this case) to run specific instructions directly on the storage bypassing the vCenter. Greater flexibility, scalability and performance. Now all this is also available in a homelab for testing and learning more about such capabilities. This series covers at the moment just the VASA integration. The NetApp VSC 9.7 storage appliance also benefits from the Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) and the NFS VAAI plugins as well. Whereas the SRA works with products like VMware Site Recovery Manager, the NFS VAAI plugin is specific to NFS VMware datastores. This plugin can be additionally downloaded from the NetApp website.
NetApp VSC 9.7 storage provisioning
The plugin offers a rich experience when configuring the NetApp VSC 9.7 storage on VMware. All the most important operations are available in the vCenter vSphere Client. Other admin type of operations like resetting certificates, restarting services and managing the maintenance user and even more are all available in the NetApp VSC console. In the Overview > Getting Started section the ability to Discover Storage Systems like the NetApp ONTAP available in the network or manually add them. At that point is possible either to retrieve info and use the existing VMware datastores already created on the ONTAP storage arrays or even create new ones. Conveniently the plugin offers various features like a dashboard to view and monitor the datastores and also links to even more settings and functionalities.
A good test to verify the connectivity between the ONTAP storage arrays and the NetApp VSC is to start a Discovery operation which will trigger a quick scan over the network.
As part of the Discovery process also a re-scan of the associated Hosts.
Next step is to move into the Settings section and configure the default credentials to use to access the ONTAP arrays. So ideally now it is a good time to make sure credentials are aligned. In terms of capabilities the console also shows the status for the VASA and SRA.
At this point next step is to enable the VASA Provider and click on apply to make changes effective. When accessing the NetApp VSC console directly on the appliance it is possible to check the status of the VASA service and restart if needed.
Aside from the Auto Discovery, the other option is to add the ONTAP arrays by specifying the VMware vCenter address or name (should be there by default thanks to the plugin registration), the name of the ONTAP storage cluster (single or multiple nodes) and its admin credentials.
In this example a secondary NetApp ONTAP used for DR can be added as well and managed by the same console.
When adding the NetApp ONTAP storage arrays the VSC console will show something similar to this one with most important info at a glance.
For each added storage system the NetApp VSC also shows more useful details like the configured network interfaces and what they are used for along with existing VMware Datastores and any Virtual Machine running on these storage volumes.
Of course it is also possible to provision and manage VMware Datastores directly from the NetApp VSC 9.7 plugin. In this case NFS, VMFS and vVOL over iSCSI and FC/FCoE can easily and centrally be provisioned from the same place.
Very interesting also the use of capabilities profiles which goes in line with the Storage Policy Based Management concept in VMware. This means provisioning datastores based on SLAs profiles, encryption, de-deduplication and more.
Last but not least the option to select the ONTAP Disk Aggregate configuration.
And a quick summary to review the main details before committing the configuration.
Overall the process to provision new storage is very straight forward and easy to manage from a single location. In the next article the procedure to upgrade NetApp VSC to the latest patch.