FlashStack Your Way to Awesomeness

You may or may not have heard about Pure Storage and Cisco partnering to provide solutions together to help our current and prospective customers using UCS, Pure Storage and VMware. These predesigned and tested architectures provide a full solution for compute, network and storage. Read more here:

https://www.purestorage.com/company/technology-partners/cisco.html

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/accelerate-vdi-success-with-cisco-ucs-and-pure-storage

This results in CVD’s (Cisco Validated Designs)

http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/td/docs/unified_computing/ucs/UCS_CVDs/ucs_flashstack_view62_5k.html

There are more coming for SQL, Exchange, SAP and general Virtual Machines (I call it JBOVMs, Just a Bunch of VM’s).

Turn-key like solution for compute, network, and storage

Know how much and what to purchase when it comes to compute, network and storage as we have worked with Cisco to validate with actual real workloads. Many times mixed workloads because who runs just SQL or just Active Directory. It is proven and works. Up in running in a couple of days. If a couple of months was not good (legacy way), and then 2-4 weeks (newer way with legacy HW) wasn’t good enough, how about 1-2 days? For reals next generation datacenter. Also scale compute, network and storage independently. Why buy extra hypervisor licenses when you just need 5 TB of space?

Ability to connect workload from/to the publics clouds (AWS, AZURE)

I don’t think as many people know this as they should, but Rob Barker “Barkz” is awesome. He worked hard to prove out the ability to use Pure FlashArray with Azure compute. Great read and more details here:

Announcing: Pure Storage All-Flash Cloud for Microsoft Azure

Official Pure information here:

https://www.purestorage.com/resources/type-a/pure-storage-all-flash-cloud-azure-deployment-guide.html

Azure is ready now and AWS is in the works.

Ability to backup to the public clouds.

No secret here we are working hard to integrate with backup software vendors. Some have been slow and others have been willing to work with our API to make seemless backup and snapshot management integration with Pure and amazing thing.

Just one example of how Commvault is enabling backup to Azure:

http://www.commvault.com/resource-library/55fc5ff8991435a6ce000c9c/backup-to-azure-with-commvault.pdf

IntelliSnap and Pure Storage

https://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/v10/article?p=features/snap_backup/pure/overview.htm

Check how easy it is to setup the Commvault and Pure Storage.

Ease of storage allocation without the need of a storage specialist

If I have ever talked to you about Pure Storage and I didn’t say how simple it is to use or mention my own customers that are not “Storage Peeps” that manage it quite easily then I failed. Take away my Orange sunglasses.

If you are looking at FlashStack or just now finding out how easy it is now. Remember no Storage PHD required. We even have nearly everything you need built into our free vSphere Plugin. Info from my here Cody Hosterman here.

The Pure Storage Plugin for the vSphere Web Client

Here is a demo if you want to see how it works. This is a little older but I know he is working on some new stuff.

Even better if you would like to automate end to end and tie the Pure Storage provisioning with UCS Director that is possible too! See here:

VMware Space Consumption on Thin Provisioned Data-Reducing Arrays

A common question I get from my customers is: Why does vSphere say my data store is full? when the array is 4% used? I usually make a quick explanation of how the VMFS file system has no clue that the block device underneath is actually deduping and compressing the data. So even though you provisioned 1TB of VM’s the Array might only write a fraction of that amount. This can get many different reactions. Anger, disbelief, astonishment and understanding. This post is to visually show that what vSphere is thinking is used on VMFS will not necessarily be reflected the same on a data reducing array (including FlashArray).

When vSphere says I am FULL

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Even when the FlashArray says plenty of space

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You can tell from my environment testing vRealize Automation and Orchestrator that there is a lot more being “used” in vSphere than is written to the array. In your head start to do the match though. 3.4 times 8.19GB does not equal 169GB. That is because we do not claim thin provisioning as actual data reduction. This includes any set of “zeros”. Space not provisioned to a VM at all, the empty VMFS space AND the empty space provisioned to a VM (lazy or eager zeros) not consumed or written to by the VM. Since my enironment is mostly empty VM’s you can see the Total Reduction is ridiculously high.

Some solutions.
1. Use Thin Provisioned VM’s with Automatic UNMAP in vSphere 6. Read more from Cody Hosterman here. Direct Guest OS Unmap in vSphere 6.
This will give closer accounting of VM provisioned space and space consumed on the array. It is still not aware of the compression and dedupe behind the scenes on the array.
2. vVols provide the storage awareness needed to let VMware know the actual consumption per VM. Come see at the Pure Storage booth at VMworld.

Use the plugin!

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At least you can quickly see that the 169.4GB will be reduced by 3.4:1 (for actual written data) all in one screen.

New Features in Pure1 – Analytics

The best just gets better? Pure1 Manage is Pure Storage’s SaaS based management tool for Pure customers. Beside getting tons of health, capacity and performance information you now have some new. It is a pretty hard upgrade process that requires updating VM’s at each site and possibly some consulting services. Just kidding. It is already available, no effort from you required. Just login to pure1.purestorage.com.

Capacity Analytics

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You are now able to use the Analytics tab to project out your current growth to determine when your array will be getting towards full. Very nice. Included with your Pure Storage FlashArray. No extra anything to buy. Sweet.

Support

Also, as a bonus, you can see the Support tab now in the Pure 1 Manage screen. This will let you see all open support tickets for each of your arrays. Simplicity wins every time. Keep checking the Pure 1 portal as our team rolls our great new innovations.

Pure//Accelerate

Have you registered for Pure Accelerate yet? You should do it right now.

The next great conference where you actually learn about what is pertinent to your passion for IT. Develop insight for what is next, and hear from your peers and industry experts about moving to the next generation of IT.

accelerate

In 10 years you will tell people, yeah, I was at the very first Pure//Accelerate, I was there before EVERYONE else. You can be the IT hipster all over again. Before it moved to Moscone and had 30,000 people. You can move to Portland and drink IPA’s and post pictures of them to Instagram.

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UNMAP – Do IT!

Pretty sure my friend Cody Hosterman has talked about this until he turned blue in the face.  Just a point I want to quickly re-iterate here for the record. Run unmap on your vSphere Datastores.

Read this if you are running Pure Storage, but even if you run other arrays (especially all-flash) find a way to do UNMAP on a regular basis:

http://www.codyhosterman.com/2016/01/flasharray-unmap-script-with-the-pure-storage-powershell-sdk-and-poweractions/

Additionally, start to learn the ins-n-outs of vSphere 6 and automatic unmap!

http://blog.purestorage.com/direct-guest-os-unmap-in-vsphere-6-0-2/

Speaking of In-n-out…. I want a double double before I start Whole 30.

in-n-out

Pure ELK Dashboards

Previously I blogged about getting PureELK installed with Docker in just a couple of minutes. After setting up your intitial array’s you may ask what is next?

Loading a preconfigured PureELK Dashboard

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Click load saved dashboard and select one of the Pure Storage dashboards.

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Remember there is a 2nd page page of Dashboards.

Pure Main Dashboard

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Top 10 Volumes

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Alert Audit

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Max vs Average Pure Performance

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Pure Space Analysis

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Space Top – Bar Charts

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Volume List View – Space and Performance

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You can see there are several pre-made dashboards that you can take advantage of. What if you wanted to make your own Dashboard.

Create your Own Dashboard

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To create your own Dashboard:
1. Click the Plus to Add a Visualization
2. Select a visualization
3. Once you have all of your Visualizations added you can click the Save icon and keep your new Dashboard for later use.

Some tips is you can resize and place the visualization anywhere you like on the dashboard. Just remember to click save. Also, You can can use the powerful seach feature to create tables of useful information that you are looking for.

 

Easy Storage Monitoring – Setting Up PureELK with Docker

[UPDATE June 2016: Appears this works with Ubuntu only, maybe a debian flavor. I am hearing RHEL is problematic to get the dependencies working.]

I have blogged in the past about setting up vROPS (vCOPS) and Splunk to monitor a Pure Storage FlashArray using the REST API. Scripts and GETs and PUTs are fun and all but what if there was a simple tool you can install to have your own on site monitoring and analytics of your FlashArrays?

Enter Pure ELK. Some super awesome engineers back in Mountain View wrote this integration for Pure and ELK and packaged it an amazingly easy insatllation and released it on Github! Open Source and ready to go!
https://github.com/pureelk

and

http://github.com/pureelk/pureelk

Don’t know Docker? Cool we will install it for you. Don’t know Kibana or elasticsearch? Got you covered. One line in a fresh Ubuntu install (I used Ubuntu but I bet your favorite flavor will suffice).

go ahead and try:

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pureelk/pureelk/master/pureelk.sh | bash -s install

(fixed url to reflect no longer in Dev)

This will download and install docker, setup all the dependencies for Pure ELK and let you know where to go from your browser to config your FlashArrays.

I had one small snag:

Connecting to the Docker Daemon!

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My user was not in the right group to connect to docker the first time. The Docker install when it is not automated actually tells you to add your user to the “docker” group in order to

$sudo usermod -aG docker [username]

Log out and back in that did the trick. If you know a better way for the change to be recognized without logging out let me know in the comments.

I re-ran the install
curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pureelk/pureelk/dev/pureelk.sh | bash -s install

In about 4 minutes I was able to hit the management IP and start adding FlashArrays!

Quickly add all your FlashArrays

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Click the giant orange PLUS button.

This is great if you have more than one FlashArray. If you only have one it still works. Everyone should have more Flash though right?

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Fill in your FlashArray information. You can choose your time-to-live for the metrics and how often to pull data from the FlashArray

Success!

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I added a couple of arrays for fun and then clicked “Go to Kibana”
I could have gone to
https://[server ip]:5601

Data Already Collecting

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This is just the beginning. The next post I will share some of the pre-packaged dashboards and also some of the cusotmizations you can make in order to visualize all the Data PureELK is pulling from the REST API. Have fun with this free tool. It can be downloaded and setup in less than 10 minutes on a linux machine, 15 minutes if you need to build a new VM.

Register: VMUG Webinar and Pure Storage September 22

Register here: http://tinyurl.com/pq5fd9k

September 22 at 1:00pm Eastern time Pure Storage and VMware will be highlighting the results of ESG Lab Validation paper. The study on consolidating workloads with VMware and Pure Storage used a single FlashArray //m50 and deployed five virtualized mission-critical workloads VMware Horizon View, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server (OLTP), Microsoft SQL Server (data warehouse) and Oracle (OLTP). While I won’t steal all the thunder it is good to note that all of this was run with zero tuning on the applications. Want out of the business of tweaking and tuning everything in order to get just a little more performance from your application? Problem Solved. Plus check out the FlashArray and the consistent performance even during failures.

Tier 1 workloads in 3u of Awesomeness

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You can see in the screenshot the results of running tier one application on an array made to withstand real-world ups and downs of the datacenter. Things happen to hardware and software even, but it is good to see the applications still doing great. We always tell customers, it is not how fast the array is in a pristine benchmark, but how does it respond when things are not going well, when controller loses power or a drive (or two) fails. That is what sets Pure Storage apart (that and data reduction and real Evergreen Storage).

Small note: Another proven environment with near 32k block sizes. This one hung out between 20k and 32k, don’t fall for 4k or 8k nonsense benchmarks. When the blocks hit the array from VMware this is just what we see.

Register for the Webinar
http://tinyurl.com/pq5fd9k
You can win a GoPro too.

Finally Getting my vSphere 6 Lab running on Ravello

Using the Autolab 2.6 Config

Head on over the Labguides.com and check out autolab. I wanted a quick start, but didn’t want all the fun to be automated out of my hands. So I will give a quick tour of how I got my basic lab up and going. Part 2 I will add a VSAN cluster so I can catch up there too.

The auto-builds of Windows worked great. The domain controller auto setup with DHCP, Active Directory and the fun bits to get PXE working the the ESXi install. This is stuff I didn’t want to waste time on.

I had to re-kick off the vCenter build to get Powershell and PowerCLI up and going. I had to manually install vCenter 6 and the vCenter Appliance doesn’t play nice with Autolab. Ok for me because I actually wanted to run through the install to check the options and see if things like SSO setup got any better.

Letting the hosts PXE boot for vSphere 6 install.

ESXi Install finished

Installing vCenter 6.0

Deploying vCenter was actually pretty smooth. Small lab so I am using the Embedded Deployment.

Adding Hosts

Troubleshooting HA Issues

Just like old times the HA agents didn’t install correctly the first time. The more things change…

 

Great stuff from Ravello

Very thankful for the vExpert Lab space Ravello provided. If you are considering a home lab but don’t want to buy servers and switches and even storage this can be a good way to play with vSphere. I also spun up Photon and Openstack. Although I want to walk through the Openstack install from start to finish.

One of my hosts did this on boot but a quick restart and it was fine. Next step is to add some VSAN hosts which I will show next time.

(Hey, it’s emulated IntelVT on top of AWS, so its not-PROD.)

Links:

http://www.ravellosystems.com

http://www.labguides.com

Use Ravello Repo to get the autolab config, openstack (which I am also playing with), and some other blueprints for labs.

https://www.ravellosystems.com/repo/

Some help from this post from William Lam

http://www.virtuallyghetto.com/2015/04/running-nested-esxi-vsan-home-lab-on-ravello.html

 

 

VMworld 2015 Wish List

As I no longer have view into roadmap for anyone. I thought I would make my wish list for announcements coming from VMware in 5 days. Actually it is a wish item.

No FLASH vSphere 6.x Webclient.

Browser plugins should go in here:


(and you all thought I was biased toward flash)

Honestly though there is nothing worse* than when my Adobe Flash plugin is old or I can only hit the vCenter from a jump server that you don’t want to install crappy browser plugins. I don’t want to buffer my time by 15 minutes to upgrade the flash plugin every time I need vCenter to do something. Right, I didn’t need my 27 browser tabs anyways when Adobe asks to close all browsers on my system. <rant over>

Star Explosion Death Sar animated GIF

*I know there are worse things in the world, call this a “VMadmin World Problem”