Way back in 2012 (remember that year? Yeah, those were the days), I was invited to join a great team at Nexenta Systems. On this team, one of my primary roles was to manage the internal deployment of VMware’s vCloud Director. The use case was pretty typical: carve up resources for Engineering, Sales, Support, Training, etc. for them to each have their own datacenter playground. It was really fun to train, watch and work with each group use the resources to develop their vApp catalogs and see some lightbulbs go on for what’s possible for Infrastructure as a Service: from the Training group developing full on, repeatable, deployable in minutes labs for students running nested instances of both NexentaStor and vSphere to Support spinning up analytics machines to process core dumps or test a process/change set quickly only to destroy them minutes later. Continue reading
Before I say anything, I shouldn’t need to say this, but I will. This is not supported. Now, on to the fun!
The current release of NexentaStor (v188.8.131.52) is made available as an OVA to make it easy to import into VMware environments. Currently this only “works” in full blown vSphere hosts and not Fusion/Workstation/Player (“works”, because with some fenagling, you can get it running in Fusion – don’t have access to Workstation/Player at the moment). Ok, already getting off track. This OVA comes with the following hardware configuration:
1 x 8GB Hard Drive (syspool)
– this is configured with a VMware Paravirtual controller
1 Virtual Nic
– this is configured as a VMXNET3 device
A feature added in NexentaStor 3.1.4 is the ability to configure IP Multipathing (IPMP) groups via the management console (NMV) rather than having to drop to the shell and configure it manually.
IPMP has two purposes: fault-tolerance and outbound traffic load spreading. While there’s a lot of overlap between Link Aggregation and IPMP, there are some key differences. For more on that, you can read Nicolas Droux’s great write up:
By default, NMV created IPMP groups with link based failure detection rather than probe based. Link based detection is lighter than probe based as it relies on the lower level detection link state rather than a test IP address.
Along with the release of NexentaStor 3.1.4, Nexenta Systems today officially released the (very) Beta VAAI-NAS plugin for VMware vSphere 5.x via the community NexentaStor.org forums. VAAI-NAS is still not widely supported in the NAS world, and of those that do, not all support all the primitives. You can search the VMware Compatibility Guide for vendors that are VAAI-NAS certified.
VAAI, to catch up, is the the suite of primitives (instructions) that allow vSphere to offload certain VM operations to the array. For NAS Hardware Acceleration, these are:
- Full File Clone – Enables virtual disks to be cloned by the NAS device (but not ‘hot’, the VM must be powered off).
- Native Snapshot Support – Allows creation of virtual machine snapshots to be offloaded to the array.
- Extended Statistics – Shows actual space usage on NAS datastores (great for thin provisioning).
- Reserve Space – Enables creation of thick virtual disk files on NAS.
Everything you wanted to know about VAAI (but were afraid to ask)
At this point, all primitives are working (or supposed to, it’s beta, right?) save for the Native Snapshots.
Here’s a quick tutorial to install the agent in NexentaStor and the plugin in VMware Vsphere.
For the past 10 years, I have had the pleasure of working for the great educational institution of Fuller Theological Seminary. I have worked in many roles in the past decade, most recently in Windows Systems Administration, Virtualization and Storage Administration, Project Management, and as the Sr. Systems Administrator. They have given me every opportunity to explore enterprise IT, expand my skill set through training, conferences, workshops and user groups, and have nurtured my love for Social Media and the community surrounding IT by allowing me freedom to participate in various Field Days (thanks Gestalt IT, HP, Dell, SolarWinds, etc.!) as an independent blogger.
My team has been a fantastic source of encouragement and trust. Truly a second family.
However, it’s time to move in to what I feel is a natural progression both personally and professionally. I’ve really enjoyed engaging vendors, VARs, consultants and other IT professionals surrounding architecture and solutions and am very excited to announce that towards the end of May I will be joining the Solutions Team at Nexenta, Inc. as a Solutions Engineer. My role will initially be focused on their vCloud implementation and solutions, white papers, solving hard problems, and expanding from there.
It’s a big leap for me going from SysAdmin to working for a vendor, but I’m joining a great team (which includes friends Theron Conrey, Michael Lestchin, and Tom Howarth) for a product I’m really excited about.
It’s definitely bittersweet, but it’s the right move at the right time. I look forward to continuing the conversations.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have about 300 prodecures and systems to document before I leave.