NetApp Virtual Storage Console and VASA Provider 6.0

By on 04/09/2015.

fourthI’m happy to announce the availability of the latest VMware plugins from NetApp:

  • Virtual Storage Console (VSC) 6.0 for VMware vSphere (DOWNLOAD)
  • VASA Provider (VP) 6.0 for clustered Data ONTAP (DOWNLOAD)

For the sake of those unfamiliar with our integrations, I’ll go over what each of these plugins provide.

Virtual Storage Console (VSC)

VSC is a vSphere client plug-in designed to simplify storage management operations, improve efficiencies, enhance availability, and reduce storage costs in both SAN and NAS-based VMware infrastructures. VSC provides VMware administrators with a window into the storage domain and the tools to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of virtual server and desktop environments running on NetApp storage.

OK, ok. I copied and pasted that out of some announcement literature.

VSC has come SO far since the 2.0 days when I was using it as a customer before joining NetApp.  I have been attached at the hip with the entire product team from dev to QA to ProdMgmt since first joining NetApp in 2011, and I have first-hand seen this product evolve into what it is today.  Part of that evolution was a wholesale rewrite of EVERYTHING to support the vSphere Web Client for the VSC 5.0 release, and while the list of net-new stuff isn’t vast, know that an extreme amount of work went into the not-so-visible backend and further integrations with the new VASA Provider.

First and foremost, this latest release of VSC brings us up to date with current shipping versions of both VMware vSphere 6.0 as well as NetApp clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.

Here’s what else you need to know that’s new in VSC 6.0:

  • Multi-vCenter server support
    • The VMware vSphere Web Client functions as a single pane of glass in multi-vCenter server environments with or without Linked Mode. Note that each VSC instance can only register with a single vCenter server, however, the VMware vSphere Web Client supports multiple VSC/vCenter server instances.
  • Globalization
    • Support is provided in both the UI and documentation for Simplified Chinese and Japanese in addition to English.
  • PowerShell cmdlets
    • PowerShell cmdlets have been added for all VSC features with the exception of backup and recovery. This enables users to write applications and scripts that communicate with the VSC server at a command line. I expect to see a lot of scripts leveraging PowerCLI, NetApp PSTK, and these new cmdlets! If you’re interested, you can contribute your scripts to our brand new github repo, DatacenterDudes, where our PS experts can help you with any issues you may run into!

Current versions of VSC are also important to understand:

  • VSC 4.2.x – This is the version you need if you are using the “C#/Thick” client, or as it is now know the vSphere Host Client
  • VSC 5.x/6.x – This is the version you need if you are using the vSphere Web client.

 

gearmenNetApp VASA Provider (VP) 6.0

This is where the real meat of this release pairing resides. With this comes the availability of running VVols on NetApp storage. This is not the post to cover VVols in-depth, but Andrew Sullivan and I will be doing a 10-part series of posts on all-things VVols-on-NetApp in the coming weeks, so be sure you’re subscribed to the feed to stay up to snuff on all of the VVols goodness.

NetApp VASA Provider for clustered Data ONTAP is a storage vendor software plug-in. It uses VMware vSphere Storage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) to act as a broker between the storage array and vCenter so that vCenter can make more intelligent storage–based decisions as well as leverage storage hardware acceleration and native storage intelligence to enhance server virtualization efficiencies.

More copy and paste…

What does all that mean? Policy-based Management. It’s here … and it’s one of the things I’m most excited about for storage integrations since VAAI, and I will be doing some theorycrafting with you here on PBM and how you can best take advantage of it.

VP 6.0:

  • Sends storage topology, capability, and state information to vCenter and setting/monitoring alarms
  • Provides storage policy–based management and compliance monitoring for traditional datastores
  • Mediates out-of-band communication (control path) for VVOL traffic between vCenter Server, ESXi hosts, and a storage array
  • Provides lifecycle management (for example, provisioning, cloning, and migration) and data management (for example, backup/recovery and disaster recovery) for VVOLs

For now, please enjoy the fruits of many years of work as we have been deeply in-bed with VMware building out VVols for the last FIVE years.  We feel our approach to implementing VVols is extremely unique in the way we’re able to leverage NetApp FlexVols on the backend, and all the goodness that comes along with that.

If you would like to try out both Policy-based Management as well as how that also ties into our VVols integration, you can register and take the self-guided NetApp Hands-On-Lab from VMworld 2014 [HOL-PRT-1471], written by your truly, that walks you through every detail. As a side note, please be aware that the code used in that lab is beta code drops from June 2014, and that vast improvements have been made to stability, reliability, and even greater functionality, but it is a great place to start and whet your appetite.NetApp Tech Talks

We’re about to get really loud.  We’ve got a plethora of content on the way in the coming days and weeks. If you’re not subscribed to the NetApp Communities Podcast, you might want to go do that, as VVols will be our topic this week.

Stay tuned …

Nick Howell
Tech Evangelist at DatacenterDude, LLC
One of the top technology evangelists in the IT Industry, Nick Howell has spent 15 years driving multi-million dollar solutions across multiple Fortune 500 companies and implementing new systems from an engineering, architectural, and consultant capacity across many industry verticals including finance, defense, retail & more.

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