vCloud Director 5.1: How to configure Tiered Storage on NetApp – Part 1 VASA Provider

With the recent release of vCloud Director 5.1 and it’s ability to utilise tiered storage for Provider vDC’s, I thought I’d share some background info on how this works with NetApp storage.

Part 1 will focus on initial configuration between NetApp and vSphere 5.1 and Part 2 will show how this is implemented with vCloud Director 5.1

Part 1

The secret sauce that runs behind the scenes is the VASA Storage Provider. This module enables storage capabilities to be exposed up to Virtual Center and then applied to Storage Profiles (Storage Profiles and VASA were introduced with vSphere 5.0)

For those who are not familiar with VASA (VMware API for Storage Awareness) here is a summary:

VMware vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA) is a new set of APIs that enable vCenter to see the capabilities of storage array LUNs and corresponding datastores. With visibility into capabilities underlying a datastore, it is much easier to select the appropriate disk for virtual machine placement. Storage capabilities, such as RAID level, Thin or Thick Provisioned, Replication State and much more can now be made visible within vCenter. VASA eliminates the need for maintaining complex spreadsheets detailing the storage capabilities of each LUN needed to guarantee the correct SLA to virtual machines. VASA forms the basis for a new capability in VMware vSphere, called “Profile Driven Storage”.

What are Storage Capabilities and how can I use them?

A simple use-case is where you want a VM to only reside on a certain type of storage (i.e. SAS, SATA, SSD etc) and/or be on a datastore that has Deduplication enabled.

By having real storage capabilities tied to VM Storage Profiles you can manipulate storage tiering & other advanced array features as part of your VM SLO/SLA’s.

The setup and configuration process is pretty straight forward. Firstly download the VASA 1.0 package from NetApp (this is a free download).

Next, install the VASA package on a Windows server (see docs for OS versions). Recommendation is to run this on a different host to Virtual Center.

Once the installation is complete you then launch the configuration GUI:

VASA Config

  • Enter the Username and Password of the local host for the initial communication to the vCenter Server
  • Add the IP address, Username and Password for the vCenter Server. Once done click on Register Provider.
  • Add the NetApp Storage systems you want capabilities exposed through VASA.

Once the configuration is completed we move to the Virtual Center Server.

On the VC Home screen you will see the Storage Providers icon and the Storage Profiles icon:

VC Home Page

Click on the Storage Providers icon to launch the setup page:

(The registered VASA provider should already be listed, if not click on the Refresh and then Re-Sync buttons to ensure the storage capabilities are uploaded correctly).

VC Storage Providers

Once done go back to the Home Page and click on the Storage Profiles icon.

The first thing to do is to enable the Storage Profiles on your Hosts/Clusters:

Enable Storage Profiles

Once done, click on the Manage Storage Capabilities tab and you will see a list of NetApp array capabilities:

Storage Capablilites

Also, if you take a look at your list of Datastores you will now see they have inherited the storage capabilities from VASA:

Datastore Capabilities

You are now ready to create new Storage Profiles and apply them to individual VM’s.

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