Heads Up! Misbehaving APD functionality in vSphere 6.0

megaphoneA very quick “public service announcement” post this morning folks, simply to bring your attention to a new knowledge base article that our support team have published. The issue relates to APD (All Paths Down) which is a condition that can occur when a storage device is removed from an ESXi host in an uncontrolled manner. The issue only affects ESXi 6.0. The bottom line is that even though the paths to the device recover and the device is online, the APD timeout continues to count down and expire, and as a result, the device is placed in APD timeout state. This obviously has an impact on virtual machines, workloads, etc, that are using this device.

Unfortunately there is no resolution at this time, but there are some workarounds detailed in the KB article. For those of you who dealt with APD events in earlier versions of vSphere, you’ll know the drill.

The KB article is 2126021. Note that this doesn’t affect all APD behaviors. Most APD events are handled just fine. However I’d urge you to take a quick read of the KB just to familiarize yourself with the behaviour and workarounds while we work on a permanent solution.

[Update: 10 Sep 2015] This issue is now fixed in ESXi 6.0U1. Details may be found in the ESXi 6.0U1 release notes.

vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 5: Virtual Volumes

VVolsI pushed this post out a bit as I know that there is a huge amount of information out there around virtual volumes already. This must be one of the most anticipated storage features of all time, with the vast majority of our partners ready to deliver VVol-Ready storage arrays once vSphere 6.0 becomes generally available. We’ve been talking about VVols for some time now. Actually, even I have been talking about it for some time – look at this tech preview that I did way back in 2012 – I mean, it even includes a video! Things have changed a bit since that tech preview was captured, so let’s see what Virtual Volumes 2015 has in store.

Much kudos to my good friend Paudie who did a lot of this research.

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A closer look at X-IO

xio2My first introduction to X-IO was via Stephen Foskett’s Tech Field Days. They piqued my interest and I added them to the list of storage vendors that I wanted to check out at VMworld 2014. I started to research these guys a little more, and learnt that they are closely related to Xiotech, a SAN company that I dealt with on occasion when I worked in technical support for VMware back in the day. It seems that Xiotech acquired Seagate’s spun-out Advanced Storage Group in 2007. The guys then began to work on a different product to the Xiotech team, namely the Intelligent Storage Element or ISE array. The Xiotech products were discontinued in 2012 (although the name continues to appear on the VMware SAN/Storage HCL), and the focus was placed on the ISE products. I was a bit confused when I saw that X-IO were not listed on the HCL directly, but after checking with Blair Parkhill, VP of Tech Marketing at X-IO, it seems that they still use their incorporated name, Xiotech.

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A closer look at Kaminario

kaminarioAs many of you are aware, I was at VMworld in San Francisco last week. I wrote a number of articles about some VMware storage announcements, such as EVO:RAIL, VAIO and VVols. However there were, as usual, quite a number of storage vendors at this years conference. One of the vendors that I really want to learn more about was Kaminario, an all flash array vendor that I’d heard a lot of things about. I had the pleasure of spending some time at the Kaminario booth with Shai Maskit who is a senior Product Manager with Kaminario. I posed my usual set of questions to learn a bit more about their AFA products. Continue reading

VC Ops Adapters – Storage and Brocade SAN

I’ve been doing a bit of work over the past number of weeks on the adapters for vCenter Operations¬† (vC OPs) with my old pal Paudie. We are working on vCenter Operations 5.8 and using a vSphere 5.5U1 environment. Since we have a Brocade Fibre Channel switch and an EMC VNX array in our lab, I wanted to get the Management Pack for Storage Devices (MPSD) and the Brocade SAN Analytics Management Pack deployed, and see what information we could glean from those extension packs. When we completed the configuration, we were able to go into the vC OPs customs view and see details like the following Brocade – Health Overview and Storage Components Heatmap:

VCOPs - Brocade - Health OverviewVCOPs -Storage Components HeatmapCaution: We spent a lot of time trying to figure out why the MPSD adapter would not connect to the CIMOM service on Brocade’s Network Advisor. This boiled down to networking/DNS configuration issues. The MPSD release notes for vC OPs describe the issue. As they say, I should have RTFM. Anyhow, here are the steps we went through to get this setup going. I’m afraid it is rather long, but hopefully you will find the information in here useful.

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Pure Storage revisited – a chat with Vaughn Stewart

PureStoragePure Storage are all over the news at the moment. They just secured another round of funding (225 million to be precise), and are now valued at over 3 billion. You can read more about that here. However, even before this announcement, I had already arranged to have a catch up chat with Pure’s primary evangelist (and a good pal of mine), Vaughn Stewart. I was surprised to see that it had been 18 months since I last did a piece on Pure so I really did want to see what changes they had made in the meantime as there were a few vSphere interoperability pieces still to be completed when we last spoke.

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A list of ESXCLI storage commands you can’t live without

There are many occasions where the information displayed in the vSphere client is not sufficient to display all relevant information about a particular storage device, or indeed to troubleshoot problems related to a storage device. The purpose of this post is to explain some of the most often used ESXCLI commands that I use when trying to determine storage device information, and to troubleshoot a particular device.

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