Creating a Virtual Storage Array – EMC ViPR 1.1

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Creating a virtual storage array

In this article we are going to talk about how to create a virtual storage array in our San Jose location for our Exchange mail and Oracle applications. We'll first create the virtual array, assign a network of physical hosts and ports to it and then carve out virtual pools for our mail and database applications.

How to Do It

  1. Create the array by adding it to the environment.
  2. Assign a physical network to the array.
  3. Create the virtual storage pools on the array to host your applications.

See How

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Virtual arrays

A virtual array is an abstract or logical array that is created to partition a virtual data center into a group of connected compute, network, and storage resources.

In ViPR, a virtual array is created by giving it a meaningful name and defining whether SAN zoning for the virtual array will be done automatically by ViPR or be manually configured. Once the virtual array is created, it must be populated with at least one network and one virtual pool.

A network consists of the storage ports and the host or initiator ports connected to the SAN switches that were added to ViPR as fabric managers. The assignment of the network to the virtual array, and the subsequent association of the virtual array with a virtual pool, determines the storage that is available when a user requests a provisioning service. Optionally, the devices available to a virtual array can be controlled by manually selecting the storage ports to make available to the virtual array, and the physical storage pools that will supply the storage for the virtual pools associated with the virtual array.

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Virtual pools

Virtual pools are created after virtual arrays have been created in ViPR. Virtual pools must be associated with one or more virtual arrays.

Virtual pools are a collection of storage pools grouped together according to user-defined characteristics.

For example, if your virtual array has a number of storage pools that can provide block storage using SSDs, you can group those physical pools into a single virtual pool. In that case, the performance and protection characteristics of the virtual pool would determine that it provides high performance storage. Hence, when giving a name to the virtual pool, you might choose "gold" or "tier1" to indicate that the storage provides the highest performance.

When a provisioning user requests the creation of a block volume from the "gold" virtual pool, ViPR chooses the physical array/physical storage pool combination on which the volume will be created. The virtual pool can comprise physical pools spanning a number of arrays, so the actual array chosen could be any of them. The provisioning user does not care which physical pool is chosen, only that it provides the level of performance consistent with "gold" storage.

Automatic and manual virtual pools

When creating or editing a virtual pool, the UI helps you choose the physical pools that match the performance and protection criteria that you are looking for by providing a set of criteria and listing the pools that match the criteria. The storage pools table list all of pools that are currently available that match the criteria and is dynamically updated as you make criteria selections.

If you set the pool to be a "manual" pool, you can select the storage pools that will comprise the pool. These storage pools will be fixed unless you edit the virtual pool.

If you select "automatic", the storage pools that comprise the virtual pools will be automatically updated during the virtual pool's lifetime based on the availability of storage pools in the virtual array.

An automatic virtual pool will be updated under the following circumstances:
  • During discovery of a storage system.
  • When a virtual pool is updated and saved (once a pool has associated assets only protection criteria can be updated).
  • When a storage system, storage pool or port is registered or deregistered.
  • When the storage ports for a network are updated.
  • When the storage pools in a virtual array are updated.
  • When a network is assigned to a virtual array.

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Adding a virtual array

You should create one virtual array for each physical site, enterprise SAN, or computing "pod".

Before you begin

  • This operation requires the System Administrator role in ViPR.
  • At a minimum, a virtual array defines the type of SAN Zoning that will occur when a volume is exported from the array, and must include one or more networks
  • Storage systems are brought into the virtual array with the networks.

Procedure

  1. Select Admin > Virtual Assets > Virtual Arrays.
  2. Add.
  3. Enter a name for the virtual array.
  4. Either:
    • Accept the default SAN zoning setting of Automatic to allow ViPR to automatically create the required zones in the SAN fabric when a provisioning request is made in this virtual array.
    • Select Manual to configure the zones outside of ViPR.
      • If there is an existing zone for the Host and Array:

        After the ViPR provisioning operation completes, check the Port Group within the Masking View to identify the FA ports that ViPR selected for the provisioning request. Compare the FA ports in the zone to the FA ports in the Port Group. If they match, no further action is required. If they do not match, reconfigure the zone to use the same FA ports. Alternatively, a new zone can be created.

      • If there is no existing zoning for the Host and Array:

        After the ViPR provisioning operation completes, check the Port Group within the Masking View to identify the FA ports that ViPR selected for the provisioning request. Create a zone with the appropriate initiator and target ports.

  5. Save.
    One or more networks must be added to the virtual array before it can be managed by ViPR.
  6. Locate the added virtual array in the table.
  7. Click Networks in the > Edit column.
  8. Click Add to add one or more Fibre Channel SAN, or existing IP networks to the virtual array, or click > Add IP Network to create a new IP network to add to the virtual array.

After you finish

Optionally, continue to assign storage ports and storage pools to the virtual array.

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Adding a network to a virtual array

Add a discovered Fibre Channel network or an IP network to a virtual array.

Before you begin

This operation requires the System Administrator role in ViPR.

If creating a network for a virtual array that will be used for file system exports to an ESXi cluster, add all ESXi server IP interface addresses (Management IP, vMotion IPs, and any other IP VMNIC visible in vCenter) per cluster.

Procedure

  1. Select Admin > Virtual Assets > Virtual Arrays.
  2. Locate the virtual array to which to add the network.
  3. Click Networks in the virtual array row.
  4. From the Networks page, click:
    Option Description
    Add To choose from the list of available Fibre Channel, or IP networks to add to the virtual array
    Add IP Network To create a new IP network to add to the virtual array.
    1. From the Add IP Network page, enter the name of the network.
    2. Leave the virtual array name checked, and select any other arrays to which to add the network.
    3. Click Save.
    The added networks appear in the list of networks for the virtual array.
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Creating a virtual pool

Use the Create Virtual Pools page to create a virtual pool.

Before you begin

This operation requires the System Administrator role in ViPR.

Procedure

  1. Depending on whether you want to create a block or file virtual pool, choose:
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Creating or editing a block virtual pool

Create a virtual pool for block by specifying the criteria that physical storage pools must match.

Before you begin

This operation requires the System Administrator role in ViPR.

Once a virtual pool has been used as the target for ViPR resources, any attempt to modify the pool will fail.

Procedure

  1. Select Admin > Virtual Assets > Virtual Pools.
  2. Click Add or select an existing virtual pool name to edit.
  3. Enter a name and a description for the virtual pool.
    The virtual pool will be the target for all provisioning operations, so its name should convey some information about the type of storage that it provides (its performance and protection levels) or how it should be used. For example, "gold", "tier1", or "backup" etc.
  4. Select the type of storage that the pool will provide. In this case, block.
    Once a virtual pool has been created, the pool type cannot be changed, it will always be a file or block pool.
  5. Select the provisioning type that the pool will support: thick or thin.
  6. Select the virtual arrays for which the virtual pool will be created.
  7. Select the Block Storage criteria. It is recommended to change the criteria one at a time and then scroll down and check the storage pools table to see which matching pools are available.
    The pool matching algorithm runs shortly after a criteria has been selected and the matching pools will be from all systems that can provide pools that support the selected protocol.
  8. Select the Data Protection/High Availability criteria. It is recommended to change the criteria one at a time and then scroll down and check the storage pools table to see which matching pools are available.
    The pool matching algorithm runs shortly after a criteria has been selected and the matching pools will be from all systems that can provide pools that support the selected protocol.
  9. Enable Quota to enter a value for the maximum storage that can be provisioned from the pool.
  10. Choose how the Pool Assignment will be performed:
    • Automatic — the storage pools that make up the virtual pool will be updated as pools that meet the criteria are added or removed from the virtual array. This can occur when new pools that meet the criteria are added or removed from the system, or their registration or discovery status changes.
    • Manual — provides a checkbox against each pool to enable it to be selected. Only the selected storage pools will be included in the virtual pool.
  11. Select Save.
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Creating or editing a file virtual pool

Create a virtual pool for file by specifying the criteria that physical storage pools must match.

Before you begin

This operation requires the System Administrator role in ViPR.

Once a virtual pool has been used as the target for ViPR resources, any attempt to modify the pool will fail.

Procedure

  1. Select Admin > Virtual Assets > Virtual Pools.
  2. Click Add or select an existing virtual pool name to edit.
  3. Enter a name and a description for the virtual pool.
    The virtual pool will be the target for all provisioning operations, so its name should convey some information about the type of storage that it provides (its performance and protection levels) or how it should be used. For example, "gold", "tier1", or "backup" etc.
  4. Select the type of storage that the pool will provide. In this case: file.
    Once a virtual pool has been created, the pool type cannot be changed, it will always be a file pool.
  5. Select the provisioning type that the pool will support: thick or thin.
  6. Select the virtual array for which you want to create a virtual pool.
  7. Begin the criteria selection by selecting the protocol(s) that the physical storage pools must support to be included in the virtual pool. Possible protocols are CIFS and NFS.
    Only the protocols supported by the IP networks that provide file system storage will be listed.
    It is recommended that you change the criteria one at a time and then check the storage pools table to see which matching pools are available.
    You will see that the pool matching algorithm runs shortly after a criteria has been selected and the matching pools will be from all systems that can provide pools that support the selected protocol.
  8. Select the system type that you want the storage pools to be provided by. NONE will allow storage pools to be contributed by any array that supports the selected protocols.
    Only the systems supported by the IP networks configured in the virtual array are selectable.
  9. Now scroll down to the Storage Pool Association area and choose how you want storage pools to be assigned to the virtual pool: Automatic or Manual.
    If you select Automatic (the default) from the Pool Assignment menu, the storage pools that make up the virtual pool will be updated as pools that meet the criteria are added or removed from the virtual array. This can occur because new storage pools that meet the criteria are added or removed from the system, or their registration or discovery status changes.
    Selecting Manual provides a checkbox against each pool to enable it to be selected. Only pools that you select will be included in the virtual pool.
  10. If you want to set a quota for the pool, select Enable Quota and enter a value for the maximum storage that can be provisioned from the pool.
  11. Finally, set the maximum number of local snapshots allowed for resources from this virtual pool.
    To use the ViPR Create Snapshot services, a value of at least 1 must be specified.
  12. Select Save.