vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 3: MSCS Improvements

icon_clusterOK – not storage improvements per-se, but I got into the habit of documenting our Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) improvements some time back, and habits die-hard. Many of our customers continue to run Microsoft Clustering Services (MSCS) on top of vSphere. This is well-recognized, and VMware continues to improve and add features around this for our customers. vSphere 6.0 is no different, with a selection of improved functionality around MSCS on vSphere.

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ESXi 5.5 EP6 is now live. Important patch for VSAN users

I wouldn’t normally call out new patch releases in my blog, but this one has an important fix for Virtual SAN users. As per KB article 2102046, this patch addresses a known issue with clomd. The symptoms are as follows:

  • Virtual machine operations on the Virtual SAN datastore might fail with an error message similar to the following:
create directory <server-detail>-<vm-name> (Cannot Create File)

The clomd service might also stop responding.

  • Virtual SAN cluster might report that the Virtual SAN datastore is running out of space even though space is available in the datastore. An error message similar to the following is displayed:
There is no more space for virtual disk .vmdk. You might be able to continue this session by freeing disk space on the relevant volume, and clicking _Retry. Click Cancel to terminate this session.

The clomd service might also stop responding.

While the clomd issue is easily addressed by restarting the clomd service, consider deploying this patch during your next maintenance cycle to avoid this annoyance, or if you re considering a new VSAN deployment, definitely consider using this latest version of ESXi 5.5.

vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 2: Storage DRS and SIOC

We made a number of enhancements to Storage DRS in vSphere 6.0. This article will discuss the changes and enhancements that we have made. There is a white paper which discusses many of the previous limitations of Storage DRS interoperability and I’d recommend reviewing it. Although a number of years old, it highlights many of the Storage DRS interoperability concerns. As you will see, a great any of these have now been addressed, along with some pretty interesting feature enhancements.

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vSphere 6.0 Storage Features Part 1: NFS v4.1

Although most of my time is dedicated to Virtual SAN (VSAN) these days, I am still very interested in the core storage features that are part of vSphere. I reached out earlier to a number of core storage product managers and engineers to find out what new and exciting features are included in vSphere 6.0. The first feature is one that I know a lot of customers are waiting on – NFS v4.1. Yes, it’s finally here.

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A brief overview of new Virtual SAN 6.0 features and functionality

The embargo on what’s new in vSphere 6.0 has now been lifted, so we can now start to discuss publicly about new features and functionality. For the last number of months, I’ve been heavily involved in preparing for the Virtual SAN launch. What follows is a brief description of what I find to be the most interesting and exciting of the upcoming features in Virtual SAN 6.0. Later on, I will be following up with more in-depth blog posts on the new features and functionality.

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VSAN Part 36: Considerations when using Force Provisioning

One policy setting that I have yet to discuss in any great detail in my blog posts about VSAN. The ForceProvisioning policy setting, when placed in the VM Storage Policy, allows Virtual SAN to violate the NumberOfFailuresToTolerate (FTT), NumberOfDiskStripesPerObject (SW) and FlashReadCacheReservation (FRCR) policy settings during the initial deployment of a virtual machine.

ForceProvisionThis can be useful for many reasons. One reason is that it enables the boot-strapping of a vCenter server on a VSAN deployment as highlighted by William Lam in this excellent blog post on the subject. Another reason is that it allows the provisioning of virtual machines with a policy that cannot be met by the current Virtual SAN cluster resources. When the plan is to add these resources in the not too distant future, the VMs can be deployed, and when the new resources become available, VSAN will automatically bring these VMs to compliance without the need for administrator intervention. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind when using Force Provisioning, which is the purpose of this blog post.

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VSAN Part 35 – Considerations when dynamically changing policy

I was having some discussions recently on the community forums about Virtual SAN behaviour when a VM storage policy is changed on-the-fly. This is a really nice feature of Virtual SAN whereby requirements related to availability and performance can be changed dynamically without impacting the running virtual machine. I wrote about it in the blog post here. However there are some important considerations to take into account when changing a policy on the fly like this.

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