SCVMM 2012 – Deep Storage Integration

Many new cool functionalities were added to SCVMM 2012. In this blog I focus on the very deep Storage integration which can be accessed from the Fabric wunderbar.

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One of the new features in SCVMM 2012 is integration with SAN storage arrays. The primary reason for this is of course there is not much point in building a Hyper-V Private Cloud without some sort of Fibre Channel, iSCSI or Shared SAS based type of shared storage.

Very much focusing on the standards that are available, Microsoft decided to employ the SMI-S Provider for this purpose, with VDS as a temporary option for backwards compatibility. Apart from managing software I had not had the pleasure to work with SMI-S before and I guess it is new for most of my readers. So let me first delve into what SMI-S really is.

SMI-S is short for Storage Management Initiative Specification and was defined under auspices of SNIA, the Storage Networking Industry Association. SMI-S defines a method for the interoperable management of a heterogeneous Storage Area Network (SAN), and describes the information available to a WBEM Client from an SMI-S compliant CIM Server and an object-oriented, XML-based, messaging-based interface designed to support the specific requirements of managing devices in and through SANs.image

The first not so trivial task is to find out if your storage vendor supports the correct SMI-S provider, if they support it at all for your specific storage array. In our Private Cloud lab we have an HP EVA 4400, an HP Lefthand P4000 and a Dell EqualLogic. I had a really hard time getting information from the different vendors. Fortunately at MMS in Las Vegas I managed to talk to an HP representative who was responsible for HP’s integration with SCVMM 2012. When I walked up to the Dell booth, people first stared at me with a total empty gaze, but finally they were able to give me a name for me to ask about SCVMM 2012/SMI-S support for. They also passed me on to the Dell-Compellent guys who knew exactly what I was talking about. 

I also figured out that Microsoft is expecting SMI-S version 1.4 and if you want to find out exactly this will probably be the best place to click on the following picture (which shows a subset of the storage vendors who have been testing with SMI-S v1.4)

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Here is a diagram of the layers of storage communication between SCVMM 2012 and the storage array that is being discovered and controlled by SMI-S:

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So how does SCVMM 2012 integrate with let’s say HP EVA?

HP is managed by installing HP Command View on a Fibre Channel attached management server. One of the installation options is SMI-S. In fact CommandView 9.3 is required because this version is SMI-S 1.4 compliant. You can read more about it in the release notes. So we are in business!

Here are the steps to integrate HP EVA into SCVMM 2012:

  • Start System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012
  • Select Fabric | Storage
  • Click on Add Storage Devices from the Ribbon

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  • Type the IP Address or FQDN and the correct SMI-S port for the HP Command View EVA Server.

Note:
Command View EVA should not be on the same server as SCVMM 2012. We used version 9.03.00.100811

  • Select a valid Run As account (with Access to HP Command View EVA) and click Next.

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  • If the connection succeeds, a certificate can be imported. Click on Import

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  • When a storage device is discovered click on Next

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  • Select a disk group and assign it a classification (defined under Create Classification in the Ribbon or with New) and click Next.

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  • Select a disk group and assign it a classification (defined under Create Classification in the Ribbon or with New) and click Next.
  • Confirm the settings with Finish

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  • Add other disks and view disks under Storage | Classification and Pools

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We are now ready to discover disk groups and its associated LUNs.  Then the found storage can be classified and assigned to one or more host groups and/or private clouds. After this step LUNs can be masked and unmasked to/from Hyper-V hosts. Due to time and resources MS had to focus on only one hypervisor which could imply that in future versions this functionality could also become available to the other supported hypervisors.

As you can see integration of storage with SCVMM 2012 is not very difficult to do. This task of course is reserved for the Fabric Administrator and is fully abstracted for the self-service user of the Private Cloud. But that can be a topic for a future blog.

 

4 Comments

  1. Christof's Gravatar Christof
    March 29, 2011    

    Hello Hans,

    Great article! In our environment we are using HP P4000 VSA. However I cannot find any SMS-I providers for Lefthand > http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/smisproviders.html

    Any clue how to get them nevertheless?

    Regards,

    C.

  2. March 29, 2011    

    Hi Christof,

    Unfortunately there is currently no SMI-S provider for HP P4000. There is one for EVA and the next one coming up is for 3PAR (probably May timeframe).
    HP told me not to expect an SMI-S provider for P4000 or P2000 within 12 months. Maybe if plenty of customers start to complain about this, they might change their mind and get one earlier. So until then, you’ll have to provision storage via SAN/iQ management software. If you do that, you can still take advantage of bare metal deployment and cluster creation from VMM 2012 and all the other goodies.

    Cheerz, Hans

  3. October 18, 2011    

    Hi Christof.

    I have been chasing down the same providers.

    It appears that if you buy the P4000 for are out of luck in this regard – we certainly would not have brought them had we known this was the case.

    (They dont even have a VDS provider for the P4000, which is also shocking)

    The P4000 is sold as being ‘advanced’ and suitable for virtualisation but pretty much any alternative is much easier to implement due to these features being available.

    For once I tend to agree with the haters who say:
    “HP doesnt ‘get’ storage”

    Regards.
    David.

  4. July 18, 2013    

    Greetings,

    For those who manage their 3PAR array in Hyper-V environements using SCVMM 2012 SP1; note that there is a new version of HP Storage UI Add-in for SCVMM 2012 SP1. The Stirage Add-in from HP provides you single pane of view for all storage related informations that will influence your decisions from provisioning perspective in SCVMM environement.

    Link to freely download:
    https://h20392.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/displayProductInfo.do?productNumber=System_Center

    Key features of this add-in:
    1. Provides overview screens containing information of HP 3PAR StoreServ arrays, hyper-V Hosts and VMs.
    2. Provides context sensitive in-depth information for relevant volume and their local and remote copies.
    3. Provides feature to expand base 3-PAR StoreServ Volumes.
    4. Shows Adaptive Optimization (AO) policy details for HP 3PAR StoreServ arrays.
    5. Extracts alerts from System Center Operations Manager, generated by HP 3PAR StoreServ arrays.
    6. Provide detailed path information of VMs up to storage arrays.
    7. Provide information of StoreOnce.
    8. Provide option to export the storage details to the excel file.

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