NetApp HCI – Datastore Provisioning

NetApp HCI provides enterprise level scalability and guaranteed performance. All configuration is through the vSphere Web Client. With the NetApp Deployment Engine, this solution is configured quickly. When we login to the vSphere Web Client and can see the management of the SolidFire Cluster, and execution of some common workflows that leverage the NetApp HCI solution.

Front View of NetApp HCI

NetApp HCI: Enterprise-Scale Hyper Converged Infrastructure Solution

The following diagram is NetApp HCI Minimum Configuration (4 x Storage Node + 2 x Compute Node)

When we login into vSphere Web Client, we can see two NetApp Plugin “NetApp SolidFire Configuration” and “NetApp SolidFire Management” on vCenter homepage.

When we create the Datastore by NetApp, we can execute the operation directly with NetApp Plugin “NetApp SolidFire Management“. Click “Create DataStore” button.

Choose the LUN type (Use Existing Volume and Create New Volume) and the target vSphere host.

Define the LUN Name, Account and Volume Size. And we also can define the QoS setting for this Datastore.

Since NetApp HCI is using in iSCSI topology, we can define host access method.

If vSphere’s Storage I/O Control feature (SIOC) is enabled on the target host, it allows the SolidFire QoS to be adjusted as virtual machines are added to the datastore.

NOTE: SIOC feature can be enabled in license edition of vSphere Enterprise Plus.

Review the settings and click OK to create the datastore.

The datastore can be created automatically after a few minutes.

SolidFire Management Portal

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vCenter Server Options on VxRail Appliance

In this post we will discuss the pros and cons of vCenter Server deployment on VxRail. During VxRail initialization we can choose two options for vCenter Server deployment, both options are “Deploy new vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA)” and “Join existing vCenter Server”. We should know its limitation before we choose the each option. You can find the details as below.

If we choose the bundle vCenter Server deployment

The vCenter Service Server Appliance (VCSA), vCenter Server Platform Services Controller (PSC) and vRealize Log Insight VM are already pre-loaded on each VxRail node. When VxRail initialization it can deploy these VMs automatically based on our business requirement.


  • The vCenter Server (VCSA) deployment is done automatically.
  • When installing software package upgrade for the VxRail Manager, both VCSA and PSC includes the processing of package upgrade.
  • VMware Log Insight is deployed automatically
  • The vCenter license is bundled on VxRail Appliance.


  • The vCenter Server can only manage the VxRail cluster on which it is deployed.
  • It cannot manage the other ESXi hosts or additional VxRail clusters.
  • The vCenter topology only supported a single VCSA with external PSC.
  • Enhanced linked mode is not supported.
  • vSAN Encryption is not supported.
  • The Single Sign-On (SSO) domain must be vsphere.local.

If we choose the external vCenter Server deployment


  • Supplied vCenter Server can manage the VxRail clusters and any other ESXi hosts.
  • Enhanced linked mode, custom SSO domain name, and vSAN Encryption are supported.
  • VMware vSAN Stretched clusters are supported.
  • All vCenter topologies are supported.
  • VMware vCenter Server Appliance HA is supported
  • Life cycle management is still handled for everything but vCenter Server and vRealize Log Insight.


  • The customer needs to provide the license for Supplied vCenter Server.
  • Both vCenter Server and the PSC cannot live on any VxRail Appliance cluster.
  • All updates to vCenter Server and the PSC to versions compatible with VxRail are the responsibility of the customer and will not be handled by VxRail Manager.
  • Log Insight must be deployed manually by the customer.
  • Only one public IP address can be used for the vCenter HA network.
  • We cannot modify the host name and IP address for vCenter and the PSC after VxRail deployment.


The Supplied vCenter Server and PSC must compatible with VxRail Manager. Currently, VxRail 4.5 is compatible with vCenter 6.5U1 or later.

Optional Information of VxRail vSphere license options

Choose the type of vSphere license that will offer you the best experience with VxRail Appliance.

VxRail Appliance with vSphere Enterprise & vSphere Enterprise Plus

  • Automated Workload Rebalancing – vSphere DRS
  • Automated Maintenance Mode – vSphere DRS
  • Software package upgrade automatically – vSphere DRS
  • Streamlined Disk Replacement

VxRail Appliance with vSphere Standard

  • Manual Workload Rebalancing – no vSphere DRS
  • Manual Maintenance Mode – no vSphere DRS
  • Software package upgrade manually – no vSphere DRS
  • Mulit-step Disk Replacement


According to above, you should know the pros and cons of both vCenter options. Which vCenter option is best for your VxRail deployment? You need to consider your business requirement before the VxRail deployment.

Reference Guide:

VxRail vCenter Server Planning Guide

VxRail Planning Guide for Virtual SAN Stretched Cluster

Posted in Dell EMC, VMware, vSAN | 2 Comments

VMware vSAN 6.7 – Native vRealize Operations Integration

In vSAN 6.7, “vRealize Operations within vCenter” provides an easy way for customers to see basic vRealize intelligence with vCenter. vCenter now includes an embedded plugin that allows for users to easily configure and integrate a new vRealize Operations instance or to utilize an existing vRealize Operations instance.

The vRealize Operations instance is now visible natively in the HTML5 “Clarity” based UI. The integrated nature of “vRealize Operations within vCenter” also allows the user to easily launch the full vROps user interface to see the full collection of vRealize Operations dashboards. These provide additional visibility into and analytics for vSAN environments.

vRealize Operations Dashboard within vCenter 6.7

It provides the performance figure and alerts of vSAN through vCenter Server directly. We can monitor the basic information of vSAN Cluster. For details performance, we still go to VMware vRealize Operations Manager for monitoring.

VMware vRealize Operations 6.7 for vSAN 6.7

vSAN Overview Dashboard

Reports for vSAN

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VMware Virtual SAN 6.7

New HTML5 User Interface Fast, efficient, and consistent.

Enabling vSAN

We can select vSAN configuration of single site cluster, two host vSAN cluster and Stretched cluster.

Select the services to enable.

Select disks to contribute to the vSAN datastore.

Create the fault domains.

Ready to build the vSAN cluster.

vSAN Service

vSAN Health Check monitoring

Physical Disks monitoring

Virtual Objects monitoring

Storage Policy-Base Management

Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) is one of the key areas where improvements were made to a workflow. Creating a new vSAN storage policy consists of five steps in the new UI. The first change is in Step 2, “Policy Structure.” There are three check boxes to define the type of policy, as shown below. The workflow changes dynamically as checkboxes are selected.

vSAN storage policy configuration

vSAN iSCSI Target Service

Support for WSFC Using vSAN iSCSI Service – Support legacy clustering technologies

vSAN 6.7 now expands the flexibility of the vSAN iSCSI service to support Windows Server Failover Clusters (WSFC). vSAN already supports modern Windows application layer clustering technologies such as Microsoft SQL Always-on Availability Groups (AAG), Microsoft Exchange Database Availability Groups (DAG), and Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC). For organizations with WSFC servers in a physical or virtual configuration, vSAN 6.7 supports shared target storage locations when storage targets are exposed using the vSAN iSCSI service. This enhancement allows data center administrators to run workloads using legacy clustering technologies on vSAN as they transition to more modern implementations of application layer clustering.

Microsoft Windows Server Failover Clustering on VMware vSphere 6.x: Guidelines for supported configurations (2147661)
VMware KB :

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Cisco HyperFlex Systems and Veeam Backup and Replication – VM Replication

Veeam Replication is a VM based replication that replicates VMs based on low RTO/RPO. It has the ability to replicate one or more VMs from a source host to a destination host (either local or remote location). These replicated VMs will be available in VM format at the replicated site for quick power up in the event of a primary site failure.

In this scenario replicates VMs from one Cisco HyperFlex cluster (HX-Cluster-B) to the 2nd HyperFlex cluster (HX-Cluster-A), it simulates a local replication scenario. Both the source and target proxy server will be on the Veeam Backup Server. For remote replication, Veeam does use compression, and optional WAN accelerators, to minimize the traffic over long distance, high latency connections. The following diagram is the high level architecture for Veeam Backup Server.

Login into Veeam Backup & Replication Management Console, click Connect.

Click Jobs in the inventory pane then click Replication Job.

Enter a name and description for the replication job and click Next.

Click Add to bring up a list of VMs available at the source HyperFlex.

Select the source VM from the list and click Add.

Then Next.

In the Destination screen, click Choose to select the target HyperFlex. Click OK then click Next.

In the Job Setting, the local Veeam repository will house the replica metadata, so it is not necessary to change the Repository for replica metadata. Leave the default in the Replica name suffix field. Click Next.

In the Data Transfer Setting, it allows the selection of source and target proxy servers. For replication replication we have the option to use WAN accelerators, if available.

NOTE: WAN accelerators are available with the Enterprise Plus edition of Veeam and should be configured before creating the replication job.

Click Choose the Source proxy and Target proxy. Click OK.

In Guest Processing Setting, it allows users in production environments to define application aware processing settings. In this scenario there are no installed applications in the VM in this environment, so no changes are necessary. Click Next.

In the Schedule Setting, click the Run the job automatically check box to provide several options for scheduling the replication job. Click Apply.

Finally it run the job immediately when finished. Check Run the job when I click Finish, and click Finish.

Click the replication job in the working area and monitor the status of the job in the Statistics window.

The replication job will take approximately a few minutes to complete.

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Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Certificate

Finally both Digital Badges “VMware vSAN 2017 Specialist” & “VxRail Appliance 4.x Deployment and Implementation” unlocked. 👏👏👏

Both certificates are very important for me.

Posted in Certification, Dell EMC, VMware | Leave a comment

Install Veeam Backup & Replication

In this post we will learn how to install Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5. Double-click Setup.exe, then click Yes. Click the Veeam Backup & Replication 9.5 Update 2 install tile to start the installation.

Accept the terms in the license agreement. Click Next.

Click Browse, select the Veeam license and click Open. Click Next.

Click Next.

If any requirements return Failed, click Install to enable the missing features. Once the pre-requisite components are installed, click Next.

Review the installation settings. Click Next.

Keep the default Local System account, and click Next.

Click Use existing instance of SQL Server, and leave Windows authentication credentials of service account selected. Click Next.

Click Next.

Review the installation information and click Install.

Installation will start. Once it is complete, the screen below will appear. Click Finish, then click Yes to reboot after installation.

Open Veeam Backup & Replication Console. Leave Use Windows session authentication checked and click Connect.

The Veeam installation is completed.

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