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Welcome to EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices.

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Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

This course covers the integration of EMC arrays and add-on technologies into VMware virtualized
environments. It includes an overview of VMware virtualized environments, infrastructure
connectivity considerations, virtualization solutions, such as local and remote replication options,
monitoring and implementation of EMC plug-in, and vSphere API enhancements.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

Click any button to learn more about the integration of EMC storage into VMware environments.
Click the Course Assessment button to proceed to the course assessment. Once you have entered
the Course assessment you cannot return to the course material until you have completed the
assessment.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

This lesson covers some of the general environment considerations needed for implementing a
VMware solution. It also introduces VMware storage consumption models, and generic storage
and storage infrastructure considerations.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

VMware offers a diverse product line so it is important to clarify what is expected in a vSphere
offering. VMware features are governed by the license obtained. If a VMware feature or product is
not licensed, it will not be supported.
In EMC engagements, it is common to expect the ESXi host to have an Enterprise Plus license and
support all the features of this license.
Some key features for consideration when deploying VMware:

Licensing level will provide required feature support. Enterprise Plus will provide the most
feature support

Enterprise environments should be managed by vCenter to take advantage of enhanced


feature support:
vMotion and Storage vMotion
High Availability and Fault Tolerance
Distributed Resource Scheduler
Storage APIs for Array Integration, Multipathing
Distributed Switch
Storage DRS and Profile-Driven Storage
I/O Controls (Network and Storage)
Host Profiles and Auto Deploy

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

Prior to focusing on storage array presentation it is important to consider the storage presentation
models supported by VMware.
Presenting a virtual machine with local storage is a possibility in most deployments, but not a
consideration of this course. When it is used it can restrict some of the functionality expected in
an Enterprise level deployment (e.g. a local storage datastore can only be accessed by one
machine and is usually a Single Point of Failure (SPOF) in the environment).
Storage array presentation is the more preferred method of storage presentation in an Enterprise
environment, as this model is typically designed to meet specific needs of an application specific
workload or SLA.
However, the final configuration of a solution is also not restricted to a single type of configuration
and most environments may be comprised of many different aspects, both array based and local
storage, dependent upon the most suitable resolution of the solutions expectations.
Access to an array using Raw Device Mapping (RDM) volumes enables storage to be accessed
directly by Guest Operating Systems (VMs). The RDM contains metadata for managing and
redirecting disk access to the physical device.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

I/Os are the major metric by which storage arrays, applications and interconnect
infrastructures are evaluated. These metrics are often documented in Service Level
Agreements (SLA), which are goals that have been agreed to and must be achieved and
maintained. As storage plays a very large part of any computing solution there are many
aspects that must be considered when implementing these SLAs and defining service
requirements of the solution.
Some of these considerations include, but are not restricted to:
Connectivity infrastructure
Physical cables
Protocols
Distance
Array type
Physical architecture
Cache
Buses
spinning or solid-state drives
software enhancements
Disk connectivity interfaces
FC
SAS
SATA

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

With any environment there are many factors affecting the infrastructure. Depending upon the
considerations and their importance the design could change radically from one originally
envisioned. The design of any infrastructure is to achieve the highest possible success in
meeting the majority of the demands expected. This means that compromise and
segmentation of purpose are always factors in design. Additional considerations include:
Application workload profiles
Local server buses (PCI, PCI-X, PCI Express, etc.)
Disk types
Cache size
Number of back-end buses
RAID level implemented
Stripe size
Replication technologies and mechanisms
VMware API support for integration and array offload

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

The key points for LUN utilization are:


The choice of RAID Level and disk type to match the specific workload proposed for the LUN
Each LUN should only contain a single VMFS datastore to segment workload characteristics of
differing Virtual Machines and prevent resource contention. However, if multiple Virtual
Machines do access the same VMFS datastore, the use of disk shares to prioritize virtual
machine I/O is recommended.
Any solution can produce various combinations of LUN presentation models. Both large and small
LUNs can be presented.
One reason to create fewer, larger LUNs is to provide more flexibility to create VMs without
storage administrator involvement. Another reason is more flexibility for resizing virtual disks and
snapshots and fewer VMFS datastores to manage.
A reason to create smaller LUNs is to waste less storage space by building in storage overhead for
growth and removing it from the global pool of storage in the array. Smaller LUNs may also be
preferred if there are many differing performance profiles required in the environment along with
varied required RAID level support.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices

One of the key concerns in any storage array architecture is latency. This will always cause
performance degradation and should be minimized as much as possible. There are many areas
that introduce latency but there are some general rules that can be applied to start reducing the
impact of latency.
Once of the first considerations is the use of Flash Drives with the vSphere Flash Infrastructure for
host swap files and the use of vSphere Flash Read Cache (vFRC).
Another key considerations is the use of Storage arrays that make use of vStorage APIs (vStorage
APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), (VAI), (VASA), (VADP)), as this will greatly enhance the
performance of any infrastructure by off-loading operations to native array tools and functionality
and free up ESXi resources for other task processing.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 10

The overall solution bandwidth is possibly the most critical concern. This refers not only to
interconnectivity bandwidth, but internal array and server bus bandwidth too. Any form of
connectivity pipe contention/restriction will reduce performance and in-turn reduce SLA
compliance.
Both traditional networking infrastructure and storage networking infrastructures need to be
addressed. As a rule of thumb, workload segmentation is required to minimize resource
contention, but other methods can be used when physical segmentation is not immediately
possible, such as peak time bandwidth throttling of non-critical applications or application
scheduling. However, with global enterprises these options are not always viable alternatives to
physical segmentation.
When using VMware Storage VMotion, which enables live migration for running virtual
machine disk files from one storage location to another with no downtime or service disruption,
the available storage infrastructure bandwidth is of key importance.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 11

Another source of resource contention is the access to the actual disk by the server threads. This
is generally referred to as the HBA Queue Depth, and is the number of pending I/O requests to a
volume. By ensuring that this is set to the maximum permissible limit, there should be no
throttling of the I/O stream. However, the underlying infrastructure should be able to support this
configured number otherwise further congestion will occur at the volume level due to an overrun
of the I/O stream.
Local server architecture could cause a bottleneck and the performance degradation could occur
before the I/O even left the host. If this was the case, no amount of external environment tuning
would improve the performance. Knowing the relative expected I/O transfer rates of the server
buses will give a base level from which other performance figures can be determined (e.g. PCI-X
specifications allow different rates of data transfer, anywhere from 512 MB to 1 GB of data per
second).
The Oracles Sun StorageTek Enterprise 4 Gb/s Fibre Channel PCI-X Host Bus Adapter is a highperformance 4/2/1 Gb/sec HBA capable of providing throughput rates up to 1.6 GB/sec (dual
port) in full-duplex mode. This would not challenge the physical limitations of the Fibre Channel
medium, until we try to push multiple connections of this type through a single connection; hence
the segmentation of workload and use of Dual Port connectivity.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 12

This lesson covered an overview of a typical VMware enterprise infrastructure with VMware
storage consumption models and generic storage and storage infrastructure considerations.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 13

In this lesson we will examine the importance of ESXi storage connectivity. This lesson reviews
specific SAN options, configurations and ramifications with an emphasis on storage connectivity
recommendations and best practices.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 14

The connectivity capability of a ESXi host plays a major role in presenting array-based storage.
The protocol(s) that you use to access storage do not provide equal performance levels. Cost,
throughput, and distance all play a role in any solution.
When a network infrastructure is used, it can provide valuable metrics when measuring array
performance. If the network infrastructure becomes congested, then the storage array
performance will appear to suffer. The array performance will remain capable of SLA standards,
but it is not being supplied enough data to process and maintain its SLA requirements. Therefore,
it is important to measure and account for performance end-to-end rather than always focusing
on just one component of any infrastructure.
When presenting storage over a network it is always recommended to isolate the storage traffic
wherever possible. This guarantees known or expected performance levels from specific
interconnects, which has increased importance with profile based storage presentation.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 15

Understanding what must be achieved and how that is measured is a goal of all solution
deployments. There are several common metrics mentioned on this slide that should be gathered
and analyzed to assist with the deployment and tuning of any storage integration with VMware.
However, the tuning and maintenance of any solution is an ongoing process and should be
constantly monitored for any change in conditions or SLA non-compliance.
Goals:

Workload is key determination in any solution

Throughput
IOPs
Bandwidth

Latency

Capacity

Proper assessment of environment

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 16

ESXi general SAN considerations are very straight forward:

As with any technology solution the components should all be of a compatible software
and hardware level to meet the proposed solution requirement.

Diagnostic partitions shouldnt be configured to use SAN LUNs, as this 110MB partition is
used to collect core dumps for debugging and technical support, and in the event of
failure the data may not be successfully copied to an array (depending on the failure). If
diskless servers are being used then a shared diagnostic partition should be used with
sufficient space configured to contain all the connected server information.

For multipathing to work correctly a LUN should be presented to all the relevant ESXi
servers with the same LUN ID.

As discussed previously, the HBA Queue Depth should be configured to prevent any I/O
congestion and throttling to connected volumes.

A couple of ESXi SAN restrictions are:

Fibre Channel connected tape drives are not supported.

Multipathing software at the Guest OS level cannot be used to balance I/O to a single
LUN.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 17

Fibre Channel LUNs are presented to an ESXi host as block level access devices, and can either
be formatted with VMFS or used as an RDM. All devices presented to the ESXi host are discovered
on boot or if a rescan is performed.
VMware has predefined connection guidelines, but it is up to the storage vendor, EMC in this case,
to determine the best practices for integration with the virtualized infrastructure.
As a rule with Fibre Channel SANs, the requirements are to use single-initiator, single-target
zoning with a minimum of two paths per initiator and always ensure consistent speeds end to
end.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 18

NPIV (N-Port ID Virtualization) is a standard Fibre Channel facility that provides the ability to
assign multiple FCIDs to a single N-Port. The N-Port may be an NPIV capable HBA port or a
switch port. Each entity on the switch or server attempts a Fabric Login (FLOGI) to receive an
FCID (Fibre Channel ID). The first login proceeds in the normal way. But subsequent logins that
use the same N-Port are converted to FDISC (Fabric Discovery) commands. The switch or server
maps the FCIDs to the appropriate entity.
The switch with the F-Port must have NPIV enabled in order to support this functionality.
Note: For a Fibre Channel switch to connect with an N-Port to an NPIV enabled switch, it must be
in Access Gateway mode (Brocade) or NPV mode (Cisco).

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 19

NPIV application in a virtualized server environment allows each VM to be assigned its own logical
Fibre Channel path to the fabric, while sharing an HBA port with other VMs.
Each VM will have a unique WWN and FCID to communicate with the fabric and attached storage.
The first time an HBA port logs into a fabric it goes through the normal FLOGI (Fabric Login)
process. When additional VMs want to login to the fabric through the same HBA, the FLOGI is
converted to an FDISC (Fabric Discovery). This is only supported if the Fibre Channel switch that
the HBA is connected to is enabled for NPIV. The FLOGI and FDISC operations result in a unique
FCID being assigned to a virtual port (VPORT) on the HBA. Each VPORT is mapped to a separate
VM.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 20

If you are going to consider an N-Port virtualization environment (NPIV) you will need to keep in
mind:

It can only be used by Virtual Machines with RDM disks.

The HBAs must be all of the same type/manufacturer.

The NPIV LUN number and Target ID must be the same as the physical LUN number and
target ID.

Only vMotion is supported, not Storage vMotion.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 21

The ideal Fibre Channel environment contains:

No single point of failure

An equal load distribution

Each device presented should match the intended utilization profile

Fabric zoning is single-initiator, single-target, which reduces problems and configuration


issues by its focused deployment.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 22

The enterprise connectivity protocol Fibre Channel Over Ethernet FCoE is support by two
implementation methodologies.
The first is a Converged Network Adapter (CNA), referred to as the hardware methodology, and
the second is a Software FCoE adapter.
When using the CNA, the network adapter is presented to the ESXi as a standard network adapter
and the Fibre Channel adapter is presented as an host bus adapter. This allows the administrator
to configure connectivity to both the network and the Fibre Channel infrastructures in the
traditional way without any specialized configuration requirements, outside of the specialized
networking infrastructure component (e.g. FCoE switches). The client will discover the Networking
component as a standard network adapter, vmnic, and the Fibre Channel component as an FCoE
adapter, vmhba.
The software adapter uses a specialized NIC card that supports Data Center Bridging and I/O
offload to communicate to the respective storage area infrastructures via specialized switches.
The networking environment must be properly configured before the software FCoE adapter is
activated. When booting from a software FCoE adapter only one host has access to the boot LUN.
If using an Intel 10 Gigabit Ethernet Controller (Niantec) with a Cisco switch, the Spanning Tree
Protocol (STP) should be enabled, and the switchport trunk native vlan for the FCoE VLAN, should
be turned off.
At present there is no FCoE pass through to the Guest OS level.
ESXi supports a maximum of four software FCoE adapters on one host.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 23

For software FCoE adapters to work with network adapters, specific considerations apply:

Make sure that the latest microcode is installed on the FCoE network adapter.

If the network adapter has multiple ports, when configuring networking, add each port to
a separate vSwitch. This practice helps you to avoid an all paths down [APD] condition
when a disruptive event, such as an MTU change occurs.

Do not move a network adapter port from one vSwitch to another when FCoE traffic is
active. If you need to make this change, reboot your host afterwards.

If you changed the vSwitch for a network adapter port and caused a failure, moving the
port back to the original vSwitch resolves the problem.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 24

When trying to ensure a solid Ethernet network connection, there are proactive strategies that
can be followed to assist in this objective.
Avoid contention between the VMkernel port and the virtual machine network. This can be done
by placing them on separate virtual switches and ensuring each is connected to its own physical
network adapter.
Be aware of network physical constraints because logical segmentation does not solve the
problem of physical oversubscription.
Application workload profiles can be monitored to prevent excessive resource oversubscription
with shared resources.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 25

Storage I/O Control was designed to help alleviate many of the performance issues that can arise
when many different types of virtual machines share the same VMFS volume on a large SCSI disk
presented to VMware ESXi hosts. This technique of using a single large disk allows optimal use of
the storage capacity. However, this approach can result in performance issues if the I/O demands
of the virtual machines cannot be met by the large SCSI disk hosting the VMFS, regardless if
SIOC is being used or not. In order to prevent these performance issues from developing, no
matter the size of the LUN, EMC recommends using VMAX Virtual Provisioning, which will
spread the I/O over a large pool of disks.
Note: EMC does not recommend making changes to the Congestion Threshold.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 26

Monitor CPU utilization of high throughput workloads which can limit the maximum
network throughput.
Virtual machines that reside in the same ESXi host should be connected to the same
virtual switch. This avoids network physical traffic overhead because the VMkernel is
processing the transaction which avoids unnecessary use of CPU resources associated
with network communication.
Ensure virtual machines that require low network latency are using the VMXNET3 virtual
network adapter.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 27

As a general rule, for optimal performance and configurability any NIC used in the ESXi
environment should have the feature set shown here in the slide. Supporting these features will
enable an administrator to configure and tune connectivity to produce optimal throughput, and
offload processing to the network interface card, thereby freeing up server cycles to perform
other tasks.
Using jumbo frames can be an important network consideration. Adjust the maximum transfer
unit size to 9000 if you are sure that this can be met end-to-end. If the same conditions are not
met end-to-end, further challenges may be introduced into the network infrastructure (e.g.
dropped packets, high retransmission rates, inefficient use of packet size, etc.).
Possible considerations include:
Virtual machine network adapter type
Ethernet network devices such as switches and routers
Virtual switch configuration

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 28

Being presented with the ideal Ethernet network environment can be a difficult goal to achieve.
Ethernet networks carry traffic for many more types of communication than just storage. This
slide contains ideal characteristics which reduce network related challenges. Addressing these
concerns is typically done with the network administrator inside a corporation.

CAT 6 cables for copper networks For high speed and error free transmissions

Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation technology - Used in multipathing NFS - a type of link


aggregation group (LAG) with constituent ports that terminate on separate chassis

Support for 10 GbE

Network segmentation - Dedicated network or Private VLAN to reduce traffic contention


and congestion

Network management - Flow control, RSTP or STP with portfast, restricted PDUs on
storage network ports, support for Jumbo Frames. However, most ESXi I/O is random,
therefore the benefit of Jumbo Frames may be minimal.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 29

iSCSI Storage Guidelines:

Supported Initiators for iSCSI connectivity are: Software, Dependent and Independent
(discussed in a later slide)

Dynamic discovery, or static discovery addresses and storage system target name, must
be configured

Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol security may be configured for additional


security and initiator verification

NFS Networking Guidelines:

For network connectivity, the host requires a standard network adapter.

ESXi supports Layer 2 and Layer 3 Network switches. If you use Layer 3 switches, ESXi
hosts and NFS storage arrays must be on different subnets and the network switch must
handle the routing information.

A VMkernel port group is required for NFS storage. You can create a new VMkernel port
group for IP storage on an already existing virtual switch (vSwitch) or on a new vSwitch
when it is configured. The vSwitch can be a vSphere Standard Switch (VSS) or a vSphere
Distributed Switch (VDS).

If you use multiple ports for NFS traffic, make sure that you correctly configure your
virtual switches and physical switches. For information, see the vSphere Networking
documentation.

NFS 3 and non-Kerberos NFS 4.1 support IPv4 and IPv6.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 30

IP based storage devices are discovered through the Ethernet network. The ESXi host must be
configured with a VMkernel port, which includes an IP address to provide a communication path
for iSCSI and NFS traffic, unless Direct Path I/O is being configured (see later slide). While the
VMkernel port serves many functions in an ESXi host, we will only discuss the IP storage role in
this course.
It is always recommended that the network segment that carries this traffic be private and not
routed. VLAN tagging is a permitted alternative but not preferred.
An IP storage transaction can be described by following these steps:
Inside the virtual machine the operating system sends a write request
Write request is processed through the virtual machine monitor to VMkernel
The VMkernel then passes the request through the VMkernel port created by the
administrator
That request goes through the Ethernet network
Write request arrives at the storage array
The response of the array is the inverse of the processes shown here.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 31

To access iSCSI targets, your host needs iSCSI initiators. The job of the initiator is to transport
SCSI requests and responses, encapsulated into the iSCSI protocol, between the host and the
iSCSI target.
ESXi supports two types of initiators: Software iSCSI and hardware iSCSI.
A software iSCSI initiator is VMware code built in to the VMkernel. With the software iSCSI
initiator, you can use iSCSI without purchasing any additional equipment. This initiator requires
the configuration of VMware Ethernet networking, iSCSI target information, and management
interfaces, and uses CPU resources for encapsulation / de-encapsulation.
Hardware iSCSI initiators are divided into two categories:
Dependent hardware iSCSI
Independent hardware iSCSI
A dependent hardware iSCSI initiator adapter depends on VMware networking and on iSCSI
configuration and management interfaces that are provided by VMware.
An independent hardware iSCSI adapter handles all iSCSI and network processing and
management for your ESXi host.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 32

To maximize the configuration for iSCSI, iSCSI Port binding is a valuable tool when configuring
port redundancy and client connectivity. It can also make use of advanced networking features
like NIC teaming and Jumbo frames (recommended).
In the case of VNX systems, as shown on this slide, the SP paths to primary access SP are active
until failure occurs. The secondary paths (blue dashed line) are configured in a stand-by mode.
This configuration will ensure that any failure will not impact client connectivity or bandwidth. It
also enables the segmentation of iSCSI clients to the different network address segments, and
ensures the failover to a secondary path in the event of any network connectivity failure. This
examples context can be applied to any connectivity methodology, application workload and SLA
desired objective.
By configuring multiple vmkernel ports, port binding and cross SP or Engine connectivity, greater
redundancy, and possibly bandwidth, can be realized.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 33

A network administrator through NIOC can allocate I/O shares and limits to different traffic types,
based on their requirements. NIOC capabilities are enhanced such that administrators can now
create user-defined traffic types and allocate shares and limits to them. Administrators can
provide I/O resources to the vSphere replication process by assigning shares to vSphere
replication traffic types.
Some NIOC features are:
Can be used to ensure iSCSI and NFS receive adequate resources
Requires distributed virtual switch (vDS)
Not available on standard virtual switch
Allows allocation of network bandwidth to network resource pools
Network bandwidth allocated to resource pools
Shares
Limits
Pre-defined Resource Pools
FT, iSCSI, vMotion, management, vSphere Replication (VR), NFS, and VM traffic

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 34

EMC recommends using zeroedthick instead of thin virtual disks when using VNX or
Symmetrix Virtual Provisioning because using thin provisioning on two separate layers (host and
storage array) increases risk of out-of-space conditions for the virtual machines.
The thin on thin is now acceptable in the vSphere 4.1 or later and Symmetrix VMAX Enginuity
5875 and later, as well as VNX systems (Note that XtremIO systems are always thin provisioned).
The use of thin virtual disks with VNX or Symmetrix virtual provisioning is facilitated by many
new technologies in the vCenter server and Symmetrix VMAX Enginuity 5875 or VNX Block OE
features such as vStorage API for Storage Awareness (VASA), Block Zero and Hardware-Assisted
Locking (ATS), and Storage DRS.
It is also important to remember that using thin rather than zeroedthick virtual disks does not
provide increased space savings on the physical disks. The zeroedthick only writes data written
by the guest OS; it does not consume more space on the VNX or Symmetrix pool than a similarly
sized thin virtual disk. Because of the inline deduplication available on XtremIO systems,
eagerzeroedthick is the preferred format. XtremIO does not write blocks consisting only of
zeroes, so no physical writes are performed.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 35

In ESXi 5.5 and 6, dead space is now reclaimed in multiple iterations instead of all at once. A user
can now provide the number of blocks (the default is 200) to be reclaimed during each iteration.
Default number of blocks reclaimed per iteration: 200
1 MB per block allocation datastores, for 5.5 and 6, this equals 200 MB
This specified block count controls the size of each temp file that VMware creates. Since vSphere
5.5 and 6 default to 1 MB block datastores, this would mean that if no number is passed, VMware
will unmap 200 MB per iteration. VMware still issues UNMAP to all free blocks, even if those blocks
have never been written to. VMware will iterate serially through the creation of the temp file as
many times as needed to issue UNMAP to all free blocks in the datastore. The benefit now is that
the risk of temporarily filling up available space on a datastore due to a large balloon file is
essentially zero.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 36

Some general VNX storage guidelines are listed here; most are good general practices for any
storage environments. The limitation of datastores to 80% of their capacity will reduce the
possibility of out of space conditions, and will enable administrators time to extend datastores
when high storage utilization alerts are triggered.
It is also advisable to use no more than three VM Snapshots for extended periods, and rather use
VM clones for point-in-time copies to avoid the overhead of change tracking and logging activity.
Enable Storage I/O Control (SIOC) to control periods of high I/O and, if response times are
consistently high, redistribute the VMs to balance workloads.
Utilize FAST Cache for frequently accessed random I/O workloads. Sequentially accessed
workloads often require a longer time to warm FAST Cache, as they typically read or write data
only once during an access operation. This means that sequentially accessed workloads are better
serviced by SP Cache.
Monitoring of data relocation on FAST VP LUNs will enable administrators to increase the number
of disks in the highest tier if a large percentage of data is constantly being rebalanced.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 37

This slide illustrates the Fibre Channel SAN connectivity best practices for ESXi servers. With
multipathing, this gives storage connectivity redundancy and High Availability.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 38

For Symmetrix storage arrays there are several setting prerequisites These are:

Common serial number

Auto negotiation enabled

SCSI 3 set enabled

Unique world wide name

SPC-2 flag set or SPC-3 which is set by default at Enginuity 5876 or later

Most of these are on by default, but please consult the latest EMC Support Matrix for the latest
port settings.
NOTE: The ESXi host considers any LUNs from a Symmetrix storage system that have a capacity
of 50MB or less as management LUNs. These LUNs are also known as pseudo or gatekeeper LUNs.
These LUNs appear in the EMC Symmetrix Management Interface and should not be used to hold
data.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 39

This slide depicts the recommended port connectivity for ESXi servers and Symmetrix arrays. If
there is only a single engine in the array then the recommended connectivity is that each HBA
should be connected to odd and even directors within the engine (picture on the left).
If there are multiple engines in the array, then each HBA should be connected to different
directors on different engines (picture on the right).

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 40

Striped meta volumes perform better than concatenated meta volumes when there are enough
spindles to support them. However, if the striping leads to the same physical spindle hosting two
or more members of the meta volume, striping loses its effectiveness. In such a case, using
concatenated meta volumes may be better.
It is not a good idea to stripe on top of a stripe. Thus, if host striping is planned and meta
volumes are being used, concatenated meta volumes are better.
Usually, striped meta volumes perform better than concatenated volumes:
Because they reside on more spindles
If there are not enough drives for all the meta members to be on separate drives, consider
concatenated
If host striping is planned, concatenated meta volumes may be better
Concatenated meta volumes can be placed on the same RAID group:
Can create a reasonable emulation of a native large volume on Symmetrix DMX systems or
Symmetrix VMAX systems
Do not place striped meta volumes on the same RAID group (wrapped).

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 41

When you create volumes in XtremIO for a host, the default logical block (LB) size of a new
XtremIO volume is 512B. This parameter can be adjusted to 4KB for supported hosts. When
applications use a 4KB (or a multiple of 4KB) block size, it is recommended to present a volume
with a 4KB block size to the host. In all other cases, use a 512B block size.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 42

There are some very specific VMware configuration considerations for XtremIO environments.
Most of these configuration steps are performed automatically if the VSI (Virtual Solutions
Integration) plug-in is used in this environment.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 43

Some further XtremIO VMware environment considerations are shown here. Integration with
vSphere APIs assists greatly with the integration of this array as well.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 44

Modifying the HBA is designed for advanced users and operational familiarity is expected. For
optimal operation, consider adjusting the queue depth and execution throttle of the FC HBA.
The execution throttle setting controls the amount of outstanding I/O requests per HBA port.
Queue depth settings control the amount of outstanding I/O requests per a single path and is
controlled at driver module for the card at the OS level
When the execution throttle in the HBA level is set to a value lower than the queue depth, it may
limit the queue depth to a lower value than set.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 45

Adjusting the Execution Throttle varies per host. This slide contain excerpts from the Host
configuration guide. Depending on the host there can be many steps to perform.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 46

Use cation when modifying the Queue Depth as incorrect setting can have a negative impact in
performance. Adjusting the Queue Depth varies per host. This slide contain excerpts from the
Host configuration guide. Depending on the host there can be many steps to perform.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 47

EMC is responsible for providing steps to integrate a solution into any environment.
Use caution when using EMC storage presentation best practices, as they are guidelines, not
rules. Understanding all the variables in the solution prior to implementation is key to success.
Technical documentation, guides, VMware configuration maximums, White Papers and EMC
TechBooks are frequently updated; make sure to check sources often.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 48

This lesson covered the supported ESXi storage connectivity protocols, both Fibre Channel and IP
storage presentation to ESXi, and some generic networking considerations for ESXi
environments.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 49

This lesson covers several Virtualization solution considerations, including, Replication, VMware
Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS), VMware Datastore Cluster, VMware Site
Recovery Manager (SRM) and VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop Infrastructure storage environment
integration with XtremIO.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 50

In most cases the native snapshot and replication wizards within vCenter provide the best virtual
machine replication option. They offer integrated vCenter functionality to automate and register
the virtual machine replicas.
EMC provides alternative replication options to create and register virtual machine replicas on NFS
datastores, and create datastore replicas on EMC storage devices.
VNX provides the following features for virtual machine clones:
VNX SnapView for block storage when using the FC, iSCSI, or FCoE protocols
VNX SnapSure for file systems when using the NFS protocol
EMC VNX Replicator
EMC MirrorView and SAN Copy
EMC RecoverPoint
The TimeFinder local replication solutions include:
TimeFinder/Clone - creates full-device and extent-level point-in-time copies
TimeFinder/Snap - creates pointer-based logical copies that consume less storage space
on physical drives.
TimeFinder VP Snap - provides the efficiency of Snap technology with improved cache
utilization and simplified pool management. Using TimeFinder on a VMAX device
containing a VMFS requires that all extents of the file system be replicated. Currently only
SRDF, SRDFe, and Open Replicator for Symmetrix (ORS) are supported by the VASA
Provider.
XtremIO features include: Snapshots for local replication [Clones do not exist because of inline
deduplication], and native remote replication with RecoverPoint [no splitter is required].
RecoverPoint may be used for replication that requires a splitter by adding VPLEX to the
environment.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 51

VMware ESX/ESXi assigns a unique signature to all VMFS volumes when they are formatted with
VMFS. The unique signature and the VMFS label are also stored on the device. Storage array
replication technologies create exact replicas of the source volumes, and all information including
the unique signature is copied. This causes problems if the replica is to be presented to the
host[s] that own the source device.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 52

VMware vSphere has the ability to individually re-signature and/or mount VMFS volumes copies
through the use of the vSphere Web Client or with the CLI utility esxcfg-volume (vicfg-volume for
ESXi). Volume specific re-signaturing allows for much greater control in the handling of
snapshots. This is very useful when creating and managing volume copies created by EMC
replication tools.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 53

If the VMware environment utilizes the frequent presentation of clone volumes back to the
original owning ESXi server, then to minimize the administrative overhead of re-signaturing
volumes, the LVM.enableResignature flag can be set. By setting this flag all snapshot
LUNs will be automatically re-signatured. This is a host wide setting, not a per LUN setting, and
care needs to be exercised when setting this flag. The CLI is used to set this flag.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 54

This slide lists the tools available for cloning Virtual Machines and their supporting protocols and
technology (e.g. Fibre Channel, FCoE, iSCSI, Copy On First Write (COFW), Redirect On Write
(ROW), etc.).
VNX SnapView
Block storage clones using FC, FCoE and iSCSI protocols
Block storage snapshots (COFW) using FC, FCoE and iSCSI protocols
VNX SnapSure
File system clones using the NFS protocol
VNX Snapshots
Block storage, Pool LUN only, Redirect On Write (ROW) snapshots
VMWare VAAI technology
Block storage acceleration of native Virtual Machine clones
NFS VAAI Plug-in
FAST Virtual Machine clones on NFS datastores
VSI Plug-in for Web Client
Individual Virtual Machine clones

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 55

Shown here are the decision factors and tool options for Symmetrix Snap/Clone operations.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 56

Snapshots are instantaneous copy images of Volume data with the state of the data
captured exactly as it appeared at the specific point in time that the Snapshot was
created, enabling users to save the Volume data state and then access the specific
Volume data whenever needed, including after the source Volume has changed.
Snapshots in XtremIO are regular volumes created as writeable snapshots. Creating
Snapshots in XtremIO does not affect system performance, and a Snapshot can be taken
either directly from a source volume or from other snapshots. XtremIO Snapshots are
inherently writeable, but can be created as read-only.
When a snap is created, the following steps occur:
1. Two empty containers are created in-memory
2. Snapshot SCSI personality is pointing to the new snapshot sub-node
3. The SCSI personality which the host is using, is linked to the second node in the
internal data tree

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 57

This slide illustrates EMC tools for Remote Replication of Virtual Machines stored on VNX arrays
and which volume technologies are supported by each of the tools.

SAN Copy is a VNX service that enables you to create copies of block storage devices on
separate storage systems. SAN Copy propagates data from the production volume to a
volume of equal or greater size on a remote storage array. SAN Copy performs
replication at the LUN level and creates copies of LUNs that support VMFS datastores or
RDM volumes to a remote systems.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 58

The VMAX-based replication technologies can generate a restartable or recoverable copy


of the data. The difference between the two types of copies can be confusing; a clear
understanding of the differences between the two is critical to ensure that the recovery
goals for a vSphere environment can be met.
A recoverable copy of the data is one in which the application (if it supports it) can
apply logs and roll the data forward to a point in time after the copy was created.
If a copy of a running virtual machine is created using EMC Consistency technology
without any action inside the virtual machines, the copy is normally a restartable
image of the virtual machine. This means that when the data is used on cloned virtual
machines, the operating system and/or the application goes into crash recovery.
Symmetrix SRDF options:
Synchronous SRDF (SRDF/S) is a method of replicating production data changes from
locations less than 200 km apart. Synchronous replication takes writes that are
inbound to the source VMAX and copies them to the target VMAX. The resources of the
storage arrays are exclusively used for the copy. The write operation from the virtual
machine is not acknowledged back to the host until both VMAX arrays have a copy of
the data in their cache.
SRDF/A, or asynchronous SRDF, is a method of replicating production data changes
from one VMAX to another using delta set technology. Delta sets are the collection of
changed blocks grouped together by a time interval that can be configured at the
source site. The default time interval is 30 seconds. The delta sets are then
transmitted from the source site to the target site in the order they were created.
SRDF/A preserves the dependent-write consistency of the database at all times at the
remote site.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 59

The SRDF/Star disaster recovery solution provides advanced multi-site business continuity
protection for Enterprise environments. It combines the power of Symmetrix Remote Data
Facility (SRDF) synchronous and asynchronous replication, enabling the most advanced threesite business continuance solution available today. SRDF/Star enables concurrent SRDF/S and
SRDF/A operations from the same source volumes with the ability to incrementally establish an
SRDF/A session between the two remote sites in the event of a primary site outage a
capability only available through SRDF/Star software.
Concurrent SRDF allows the same source data to be copied concurrently to VMAX arrays at two
remote locations. The capability of a concurrent R1 device to have one of its links synchronous
and the other asynchronous is supported as an SRDF/Star topology. Additionally, SRDF/Star
allows the reconfiguration between concurrent and cascaded modes dynamically.
Cascaded SRDF allows a device to be both a synchronous target (R2) and an asynchronous
source (R1) creating an R21 device type. SRDF/Star supports the cascaded topology and allows
the dynamic reconfiguration between cascaded and concurrent modes.
The SRDF/Extended Distance Protection (EDP) functionality is a licensed SRDF feature that
offers a long distance disaster recovery (DR) solution. This is achieved through a Cascaded
SRDF setup, where a VMAX system at a secondary site uses DL R21 devices to capture only the
differential data that would be owed to the tertiary site in the event of a primary site failure.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 60

RecoverPoint native replication technology is implemented by leveraging the content


aware capabilities of XtremIO. This allows efficient replication by only replicating the
changes since the last cycle. In addition, it only leverages the mature and efficient BW
management of RecoverPoint for maximizing the amount of I/O that the replication can
support.
When RecoverPoint replication is initiated, the data is fully replicated to the remote site.
RecoverPoint creates a snapshot on the source and transfers it to the remote site. The
first replication is done by first matching signatures between the local and remote copies,
and only then replicating the required data to the target copy.
For every subsequent cycle, a new snapshot is created and RecoverPoint replicates just
the changes between the snapshots to the target copy and stores the changes to a new
snapshot at the target site (as shown on this slide).

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 61

Synchronous replication and CDP is supported with the VPLEX splitter solution.
PowerPath, VPLEX, RecoverPoint and XtremIO can be integrated together to offer a
strong, robust, and high performing block storage solution.
PowerPath Is installed on hosts to provide path failover, load balancing and
performance optimization VPLEX engines (or directly to the XtremIO array if VPLEX is
not used).
VPLEX Metro Allows sharing storage services across distributed virtual volumes and
enables simultaneous read and write access across metro sites and across array
boundaries.
VPLEX Local Used at the target site, virtualizes both EMC and non-EMC storage
devices, leading to better asset utilization.
RecoverPoint/EX Any device encapsulated by VPLEX (including XtremIO) can use the
RecoverPoint services for asynchronous, synchronous or dynamic synchronous data
replication.
The slide shows and example of XtremIO replication using the VPLEX splitter: An
organization has three data centers at New Jersey, New York City, and Iowa. Oracle RAC
and VMware HA nodes are dispersed between the NJ and NYC sites and data is moved
frequently between all sites. The organization has adopted multi-vendor strategy for their
storage infrastructure:
XtremIO storage is used for the organization's VDI and other high performing
applications.
VPLEX Metro is used to achieve data mobility and access across both of the NJ and
NYC sites. VPLEX metro provides the organization with Access-Anywhere capabilities,
where virtual distributed volumes can be accessed in read/write at both sites.
Disaster recovery solution is implemented by using RecoverPoint for asynchronous
continuous remote replication between the metro site and the Iowa site.
VPLEX metro is used at the Iowa site to improve assets and resource utilization, while
enabling replication from EMC to non-EMC storage.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 62

VMwares Storage DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) automates moves via Storage vMotion.
It leverages the datastore cluster construct and it uses datastore capacity and I/Os to determine
the optimal location for VM file placement.
The more datastores a datastore cluster has, the more flexibility SDRS has to better balance the
clusters load.
It is recommended to monitor the datastore I/O latency during the peak hours to determine if
there are performance problems that can/are being addressed.
Make sure thin-provisioned devices do not run low on space. A VM that attempts to write on space
that does not exist will be suspended.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 63

When using the VMware vSphere Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS) it is
recommended that all devices in the datastore cluster have the same host I/O limit. Also, all
datastores should come from the same array type. These recommendations are given because
Host I/O Limit throttles I/O to those devices. If a datastore contains devices whether from the
same or a different array that do not have a Host I/O Limit, there is always the possibility in the
course of its balancing that SDRS will relocate virtual machines on those Host I/O limited devices
to non I/O limited devices. Such a change might alter the desired quality of service or permit the
applications on the virtual machines to exceed the desired throughput. It is therefore prudent to
have device homogeneity when using EMC Host I/O Limit in conjunction with SDRS.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 64

VMware Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS) operates on a Datastore Cluster. A


Datastore Cluster is a collection of datastores with shared resources. SDRS provides initial
placement and ongoing balancing recommendations to datastores in a SDRS enabled datastore
cluster. The aim is to minimize risk of over-provisioning one datastore, storage I/O bottlenecks,
and performance impact on virtual machines.
A datastore cluster can contain a mix of datastores with different sizes and I/O capacities, and
can be from different arrays and vendors. However, EMC does not recommend mixing datastores
backed by devices that have different properties (i.e. different RAID types or disk technologies)
unless the devices are part of a FAST VP policy.
Replicated datastores cannot be combined with non-replicated datastores in the SDRS cluster. If
SDRS is enabled, only manual mode is supported with replicated datastores.
When EMC FAST (DP or VP) is used in conjunction with SDRS only capacity based SDRS is
recommended. Storage I/O load balancing is not recommended; simply uncheck the Enable I/O
metric for SDRS recommendations box for the datastore cluster. Unlike FAST DP which operates
on thick devices at the whole device level, FAST VP operates on thin devices at the far more
granular extent level. Because FAST VP is actively managing the data on disks, knowing the
performance requirements of a VM (on a datastore under FAST VP control) is important before a
VM is migrated from one datastore to another. This is because the exact thin pool distribution of
the VMs data may not be the same as it was before the move. Therefore, if a VM houses
performance sensitive applications, EMC advises not using SDRS with FAST VP for that VM.
Preventing SDRS from moving the VM can be achieved by setting up a rule or using Manual Mode
for SDRS.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 65

A VMware datastore cluster is a collection of datastores grouped together to present many


storage resources as a single object.
It is a key component in other VMware features like Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler
(SDRS) and Storage Profiles.
There are certain configuration guidelines that should be followed:

Different arrays are supported, though device characteristics must match

ESXi 5.0 or greater host required

Must contain similar, interchangeable datastores

You can mix VMFS3 and VMFS5, but it is not recommended

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 66

VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM) provides a standardized framework to automate
VMware site failover. SRM is integrated with vCenter and EMC storage systems. It is managed
through a vCenter client plug-in that provides configuration utilities and wizards to define, test
and, execute failover processes called recovery plans. A recovery plan defines which assets are
failed over, and the order in which they are restored when the plan is executed. SRM includes
capabilities to execute pre- and post-failover scripts to assist in preparing and restoring the
environment.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 67

Observe the following recommendations and cautions:

Install VMware tools on the virtual machines targeted for failover. If the tools are not installed,
an error event is generated in the recovery plan when SRM attempts to shut down the virtual
machine. Click the History tab to view any errors.

Create alarms to announce the creation of new virtual machines on the datastore so that the
new virtual machines are added to the mirrors in the SRM protection scheme.

Complete array replication configurations (local and remote replication) before installing SRM
and SRA.

Ensure that there is enough disk space configured for both the virtual machines and the swap
file at the secondary site so that recovery plan tests run successfully.

If SRM is used for failover, use SRM for simplified failback. Manual failback is a cumbersome
process where each LUN is processed individually, including selecting the appropriate device
signature option in vSphere on primary ESXi hosts. SRM automates these steps.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 68

The Symmetrix Remote Data Facility Adapter (SRA) is a lightweight application to enable VMware
Site Recovery Manager to interact with remote data copies being performed on a Symmetrix
array. The EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) can be used in conjunction with the vSphere
Client to provide a GUI interface for configuration and customization of the SRA.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 69

Typical storage infrastructure for an Horizon VDI environment will consist of 2 major subdivisions: the storage used by the management infrastructure, and the storage used by the
virtual desktop infrastructure.
The management infrastructure delivers, monitors, and manages the virtual desktops, and
provides necessary services to the environment. This part of the environment has a more
predictable I/O workload, and storage requirements consist largely of the operating systems and
applications required for management.
The virtual desktop infrastructure consists of the virtual desktops themselves. This part of the VDI
environment has a largely unpredictable I/O workload [though guidelines exist for different user
classes], and storage requirements consist largely of the operating systems, applications, and
unique data for all of the desktops provided. Unique user data typically has lower performance
requirements than the OS or application data, and should be saved on lower-tier storage. VNX
systems are ideal for this purpose.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 70

With XtremIO, VDI is totally different.


With its scale-out, truly N-way active-active architecture, XtremIO delivers high performance at a
consistently low latency needed to scale your virtual desktop environment while always
maintaining a great end-user experience. XtremIOs unique content-based in-memory metadata
engine, coupled with its inline, all-the time data reduction technologies, vastly reduces the VDI
storage capacity footprint. It is the only solution in the market today that can not only satisfy all
the requirements of non-persistent and persistent desktops at scale but also deliver on the
emerging VDI platform software technologies, like graphics-intensive VDI and Desktops-as-aService.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 71

Multiple LUNs should be configured each has its own queue, and maximizing queue depths will
be important in VDI environments.
The master VM image should be on a LUN by itself; this image will be duplicated many times as
copies are presented to users. The image should contain the operating system and installed
applications; user data and persona data should be stored on external NAS or lower-tier block
storage, since the performance requirements are not as high.
Data should be aligned on 8 kB boundaries for LUNs assigned to the hypervisor and LUNs or
virtual disks used by VMs. In some cases, the alignment may be performed automatically.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 72

The SAN connectivity, whether FC or iSCSI, will be important in a VDI environment.


Zoning/IP connectivity should be as broad as possible, keeping in mind the limit on path count to
a single device. This restriction will be significant in 6 and 8 X-Brick clusters, where the total
number of front-end ports exceeds 16.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 73

This lesson covered several Virtualization solution considerations, including, Replication, VMware
Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler (SDRS), VMware Datastore Cluster, VMware Site
Recovery Manager (SRM) and VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop Infrastructure storage environment
integration with XtremIO.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 74

This lesson covers virtualization monitoring interfaces, EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) Plugin advantages, and VMware vStorage APIs for Storage integration.

Copyright 2015 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved.

EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 75

There are various tools that can be used to monitor the VMware vSphere and vCenter
environments. These tools can be either command-line or graphical user interface. Be cautious of
using tools inside a virtual machine, as there is a level of abstraction from the physical resources
by the ESXi host, that may obscure the actual metrics of the environment, and provide inaccurate
data for the actual environment. This may skew expectations and not provide required
performance goals.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 76

The VMware esxtop tool provides a real-time view (updated every five seconds, by default) of ESX
Server worlds sorted by CPU usage. The term world refers to processes running on the VMkernel.
ESXTOP requires the operator to understand the different modes in which it provides data.
ESXTOP provides insight to the operator to identify and isolate performance related issues.
Two examples of using ESXTOP to address a storage related concern are provided:
1. Check that the average latency of the storage device is not too high by verifying the
GAVG/cmd metric.
If Storage I/O Control (SIOC) is applied, then the GAVG/cmd value must be below the SIOC
setting.
Default SIOC is 30 ms. In VNX storage with EFD or other SSD storage, the value might be
reduced to accommodate the fast disk type.
2. Monitor QFULL/BUSY errors, if Storage I/O Control (SIOC) is not used.
Consider enabling and configuring queue depth throttling
Reduction of the number of commands returned from the array
Queue depth throttling is not compatible with Storage DRS
resxtop is the remote version of the esxtop tool. Because VMware ESXi lacks a user-accessible
Service Console where you can execute scripts, you can't use ''traditional'' esxtop with VMware
ESXi. Instead, you have to use ''remote'' esxtop, or resxtop. The resxtop command is included
with the vSphere Management Assistant (vMA), a special virtual appliance available from VMware
that provides a command-line interface for managing both VMware ESX and VMware ESXi hosts.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 77

vCenter provides the ability to monitor performance at many levels. These are common tasks for
VMware administrators. The advanced chart options contain a wide array of metrics that can be
sorted in many ways. Understand the variables inside this interface to correlate its possible
impact on your solution. It is also a good tool to demonstrate that everything is functioning within
expectations.
Overview mode displays most common metrics
Typically used to identify which advanced metrics require further investigation
Advanced mode has granularity
CPU check CPU ready
Memory check ballooning, page file usage
Network check latency
Storage check VMkernel and physical device latency

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 78

VMware vCenter Operations Manager is a component of the vCenter Operations Management


Suite. It provides a more simplified approach to operations management of vSphere
infrastructure. vCenter Operations Manager provides operation dashboards to gain insights and
visibility into health, risk and efficiency, performance management, and capacity optimization
capabilities.
This is an advanced component and represents an additional cost above vCenter.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 79

EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI) is targeted towards the VMware administrator. VSI supports
EMC storage provisioning within vCenter, full visibility to physical storage and increases
management efficiency. VMware administrators can utilize VSI to do tasks such as create VMFS
and NFS datastores, RDM volumes, have Access Control Utility support and many other storage
management functions from their native VMware GUI interface.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 80

The reference architecture is depicted on this slide and is a reminder of the plug-in installation
location. The VSI plug-in will enable VMware Administrators to simplify administration of the
following storage systems:
EMC Celerra network-attached storage (NAS)
EMC CLARiiON block
EMC Symmetrix VMAX
EMC VNX, EMC VNX Next-Generation, and EMC VNXe
EMC VPLEX
EMC XtremIO

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 81

Addition of the VSI Plug-in adds management capability to both the Symmetrix and VMAX
environments as shown here:
EMC VMAX storage systems
View properties of VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Set a read-only property on an array
Restrict device size and thin pool size
View detailed array properties
Provision multiple RDM disks
EMC VMAX3 storage systems
View properties of VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Set a read-only property on an array
Restrict device size
View detailed array properties
Provision multiple RDM disks
EMC VPLEX Storage Systems
View properties of the VPLEX storage system, VMFS datastores, and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 82

The benefits of the VSI Plug-in addition to VNX environments are shown here.
EMC VNX storage for ESX/ESXi hosts
View properties of NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Compress and decompress storage system objects on NFS and VMFS datastores
Enable and disable block deduplication on VMFS datastores
Create fast clones and full clones of virtual machines on NFS datastores
Extend NFS and VMFS datastores

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 83

VNXe virtualized management environment enhancements are shown here.


EMC VNXe1600 storage for ESX/ESXi hosts
View properties of VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Extend datastores on thick or thin LUNs
EMC VNXe3200 storage for ESX/ESXi hosts
View properties of NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Bulk provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Extend datastores on thick or thin LUNs and NFS file systems
Compress and decompress virtual machines

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 84

Integration of the VSI Plug-in into a virtualized XtremIO environment enhances and improves
management functionality by enabling a user to:
View properties of ESX/ESXi datastores and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Create full clones using XtremIO native snapshots
Integrate with VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop
Set host parameters to recommended values
Reclaim unused storage space
Extend datastore capacity
Bulk-provision datastores and RDM disks
Schedule the Unmap operation for space reclamation

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 85

Further VSI Plug-in XtremIO management options:


Set Block Size to 256 kB for XCOPY during cloning
Create native snapshots
View XtremIO snapshots generated for virtual machine restore
Display clear capacity metrics (without zeroed space)
Set properties on multiple hosts
EMC XtremIO 4.0 storage systems:
Manage multiple clusters from a single XMS
Create writable or read-only snapshots
Create and manage snapshot schedules
Restore virtual machines and datastores from XtremIO snapshots

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 86

The integration of the VSI Plug-in into software-defined storage environments like EMC ViPR and
vVNX enables the management opportunities and features as shown here:
EMC ViPR software-defined storage
View properties of NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision NFS and VMFS datastores and RDM disks
EMC vVNX software only storage
View properties of VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Provision VMFS datastores and RDM disks
Extend datastores on thick or thin LUNs and NFS file systems
Enable compression and deduplication on NFS datastores
Provision and view properties of virtual volumes (VVols)

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 87

Integration of the VSI Plug-in into AppSync virtualized environments provides many
administrative capabilities and opportunities:
Manage AppSync server credentials
Manage AppSync service plans (run on demand, subscribe, unsubscribe, create and
subscribe, modify, and view subscriptions)
Ignore selected virtual machine snapshots while protecting a datastore
Manage AppSync datastore copies (restore, mount, unmount, expire, view event history)

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 88

Further VSI management enhancements and opportunities are:


Restore a virtual machine from a virtual machine copy
Manage protected virtual machines using AppSync at the datacenter level (restore, view
copy event history)
Subscribe to alerts at datacenter level

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 89

The current version of VSI supports the following functions of EMC RecoverPoint:
Manage credentials
Configure RecoverPoint to enable testing failover
View and configure consistency groups
Manage VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager credentials
View protection groups

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 90

The current version of VSI supports setting multipathing policies from VSI using VMware Native
MultiPathing Plug-in (NMP) or EMC PowerPath/VE. You can modify multipathing policies for
datacenters, clusters, folders, and hosts.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 91

vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) are VMware-defined APIs that storage vendors can
implement to obtain and display storage information through vCenter. This visibility makes it
easier for virtualization and storage administrators to make decisions about how data stores
should be maintained -- for example, choosing which disk should host a particular virtual machine
(VM).
VMware Aware Integration (VAI) allows the end-to-end discovery of VMware environment from
the Unisphere GUI interface. The user can import and view VMware Virtual Centers, ESXi Servers,
Virtual Machines, and VMDisks and view their relationships. Also VAI allows the users to create,
manage, and configure VMware datastores on ESXi servers from Unisphere.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 92

VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI)

For Block connection


Hardware locking operations
Hardware-assisted locking provides an alternate method to protect the metadata
for VMFS cluster file systems and improve the scalability of large ESXi servers
sharing a VMFS datastore. Atomic Test & Set (ATS) allows locking at the block
level of a logical unit (LU) instead of locking a whole LUN. Hardware-assisted
locking provides a much more efficient method to avoid retries for getting a lock
when many ESXi servers are sharing the same datastore. It offloads the lock
mechanism to the VNXe3200, and then the array performs the lock at a very
granular level. This permits significant scalability without compromising the
integrity of the VMFS-shared storage pool metadata when a datastore is shared on
a VMware cluster.
Bulk Zero Acceleration
This feature enables the VNXe3200 to zero out a large number of blocks to speed
up virtual machine provisioning. The benefit is that with Block Zero the process of
writing zeros is offloaded to the storage array. Redundant and repetitive write
commands are eliminated to reduce the server load and the I/O load between the
server and storage. This results in faster capacity allocation.
Full copy acceleration
This feature enables the VNXe3200 to make full copies of data within the array
without the need for the VMware ESXi server to read and write the data. The result
is the copy processing is faster. The server workload and I/O load between the
server and storage are reduced.
<Continued>

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 93

VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI)


Thin Provisioning
With this VAAI feature the storage device is communicated that the blocks are no
longer used. This leads to more accurate reporting of disk space consumption and
enables the reclamation of the unused blocks on the thin LUN.

For NFS connections, allows the VNXe Series to be fully optimized for virtualized environments.
This technology offloads VMware storage-related functions from the server to the storage
system, enabling more efficient use of server and network resources for increased performance
and consolidation.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 94

vStorage APIs for Data Protection (VADP) is a vCenter interface used to create and manage
Virtual Machine snapshots, that utilizes Change Block Tracking (CBT) to facilitate backups and
reduce the amount of time and data transferred to back up a Virtual Machine (after the initial full
backup).

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 95

These demos cover examples of vStorage API integration.


Click the Launch button to view the video.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 96

This lesson covered virtualization monitoring interfaces, EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI)
Plug-in advantages, and VMware vStorage APIs for Storage integration.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 97

This course covered the integration of EMC arrays and add-on technologies into VMware
virtualized environments. It included an overview of VMware virtualized environments,
infrastructure connectivity considerations, virtualization solutions, such as local and remote
replication options, monitoring and implementation of EMC plug-in, and vSphere API
enhancements.
This concludes the training.

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EMC Storage Integration with VMware vSphere Best Practices 98