Friday, February 14, 2014

Provision NFS/VMFS Datastores using NetApp Virtual Storage Console ! Get-Smart !!

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In my previous blog post “Do you use NetApp Virtual Storage Console for vSphere Infrastructure?” I have provided some details about how NetApp VSC can help vSphere administrators to perform Storage management tasks from vCenter. In this blog post I will describe how easy it is to provision new VMFS/NFS datastores on the vSphere hosts using NetApp Virtual Storage Console plugin for VMware vCenter.  Using NetApp VSC you can provision VMFS/NFS datastores end-to-end i.e. on the Storage Controller and also on the ESXi hosts using a single workflow.
How does this help vSphere & Storage Admins?
  • With a single workflow you can complete the provisioning faster because now as vSphere Admins you don’t have to wait for Storage Admin to provision and present the LUNs to the ESXi hosts or create NFS volumes.
  • Using a single provisioning workflow you can provision VMFS/NFS datastores to all the ESXi hosts in a cluster.
  • While creating the NFS exports on the Storage the export policy and rule is created using the best practices of NetApp NFS and vSphere.
  • While creating FC & iSCSI LUNs, Igroups are created automatically and the WWPN or IQN of the ESXi hosts is added automatically, resulting in reduced human error.
  • It’s not limited only to provisioning new VMFS/NFS datastores, using VSC you can also mount existing datastores.
Demo – Provisioning new NFS volume
In this demo I will try to provision an NFS volume on all ESXi hosts in a cluster.
To provision NFS datastores on all the ESXi hosts in the cluster, right click on the Cluster > NetApp > Provisioning and Cloning > Provision Datastore
Select the vFiler (for 7 Mode) & Cluster (for Clustered Data ONTAP) from the Target Storage Controller list.
 
Select the type of datastore that you want to provision
 

While creating a NFS volume, you may choose any available Aggregate on the controller that meets your requirements.  You have to specify the size, datastore name and also check Thin Provision if you want to thin provision volumes. Alternatively you may also check the Auto-grow option for the Thin Provisioned volumes.
 
Review the details and click Apply to create the NFS datastore
 
While the datastore is being created, monitor the tasks and events tab and you will find that the volume was provisioned on the NetApp storage and mounted to the ESXi hosts in the cluster. In this example I have two ESXi hosts in the cluster and the volume gets mounted to the ESXi hosts automatically. VSC has automatically created the following tasks on the ESXi hosts in the cluster. Doesn’t this help? especially if you have more than 8 ESXi hosts in the cluster.
 
Demo – Provisioning new VMFS volume
In this demo I will try to provision an VMFS volume on all ESXi hosts in a cluster.
To provision VMFS datastores on all the ESXi hosts in the cluster, right click on the Cluster > NetApp > Provisioning and Cloning > Provision Datastore
Select the vFiler (for 7 Mode) & Cluster (for Clustered Data ONTAP) from the Target Storage Controller list. If you select Clustered Data ONTAP, you would also get an option to select the available Vserver from this storage.
 
Select the type of datastore that you want to provision
 
Consider the following while providing the datastore details:
  • Select the available protocol either FCP or iSCSI
  • Specify the size in GB and provide a descriptive Datastore Name to the volume
  • Create new volume container : If you select this option a new Volume would be created in the Aggregate that you select. Note with NetApp each LUN is created inside a Volume which is stored on an Aggregate.
  • Thin Provision: Select this option if you want to create a Thin provisioned LUN
  • Datastore Cluster: Select a Datastore Cluster that is already configured in vCenter.



Review the details and click Apply to create the volume
 
VSC has automatically created the following tasks on the ESXi hosts in the cluster. Doesn’t this help? especially if you have more than 8 ESXi hosts in the cluster.
 
Demo - Mount existing Volumes
You can also use NetApp VSC to mount existing volumes.
Right Click on the specific ESXi host where you want to mount the NFS/VMFS datastore and navigate to NetApp > Provisioning and Cloning > Mount datastores.
Select the datastore that you want to mount from the list of available datastores.

 
Click OK to mount the datastore.
From the Tasks & Events tab, you will find that the following commands are executed on the ESXi host to mount the NFS datastores.
 

Friday, February 7, 2014

NetApp Workflow Automation for VMware - Setup & Configuration

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In my previous blog post Monitoring NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP using Unified Manager 6.0 I have discussed the steps required to setup OnCommand Unified Manager and integrate it with LDAP. In this blog post I will discuss the setups required to install & configure NetApp OnCommand Workflow Automation (WFA). WFA is used to automate various storage provisioning & management tasks using role based user access. It can be further integrated with vCenter Orchestrator to provide end to end automation for NetApp & vSphere related tasks.
Install OnCommand Workflow Automation
Download WFA 2.1 from NetApp Support Site. Note that you need to have valid credentials to download this software. This installer is available as a 200 MB WFA-x64-V2.1.0.70.32-B2178337.exe file that can be installed on 64 –bit Windows OS. I have installed WFA on a Windows 2008 R2 virtual machine.

Launch the installer and click Next to continue.
 
Accept the license agreement and click Next to continue or change them if you are using custom HTTP and HTTPS ports.
 
Enter the username and password. NOTE: This username/password would be used to login to WFA using the Web browser.



Change the destination location if required else click Next to continue.


Review the information in this screen and click Next to continue.



This completes the installation of WFA.
Launch WFA using https://IPorFQDN of the server where you installed WFA. Ensure that the latest Adobe Flash Player is installed.
 
Login using the credentials provided during the installation
 
Setup OnCommand Workflow Automation
Launch the Setup Wizard
 
Select the version of OnCommand Unified Manager that has been installed. If you have not installed OnCommand Unified Manager (UM), you would have to pause the setup and install UM first. In my setup I chose UM 6.0 since I already have it installed.
 
For WFA to communicate with UM, you have to create a user account in UM.
 
If you have not created the user account in UM, login to UM and create the following 
database user account.
 
Enter the database user credentials for UM.



You will receive the following message when WFA is successfully connected to UM.
 
Enter the admin credentials of the cluster if you are using NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP.
 
Once the NetApp Storage is added successfully, you will receive the message. I strongly recommend that you visit the Workflow Automation community to understand more about this product.
 

Add additional Data Source
During the above setup, UM is added as a Data Source for WFA. If you want to automate vSphere Infrastructure tasks then you should also add the vCenter Server as a Data Source in WFA.
To add vCenter Server, navigate of Execution > Data Sources > Click to add a Data Source.
Enter the following information
  • Name: Descriptive name for the vCenter Server instance.
  • Data Source Type: Select VMware vCenter
  • Home Name: Enter the IP or FQDN
  • Port: Use the default port
  • User name & Password: Create a user name and assign it Read Only permissions for your vCenter Server. Enter the user name and password here.
IMPORTANT: You must install VMware PowerCLI on the server where WFA is installed; else the following error would be reported while adding vCenter Server as data source.
Unable to load VMware Poweshell Snapin
The data sources have now been added successfully.
 

Configure LDAP integration with OnCommand Workflow Automation
WFA supports LDAP integration to provide role based access. In this demo I am using Windows 2008 R2 Active Directory and will integrate my AD users with WFA.
To configure LDAP, navigate to Administration > WFA Configuration > LDAP


IMPORTANT: Do not change the attribute values for the following:
  • User name attribute
  • Group membership attribute
  • Mail attribute
  • Distinguished name attribute


You will find the above attributes in the Attribute Editor tab in user properties for all the users created in the AD.




Enter the LDAP Server in the following format if you are using default port 389
ldap://ip of fqdn of ad

If you are using a custom port change append :port# to the above address.

Provide the Group names in AD for WFA admins Groups. Now login using the AD user using DOMAIN\USER format.

Once you have successfully logged into WFA, navigate to Execution > Users and you will find that the AD user is now detected with LDAP value set to true.



With this you have completed the install and setup of WFA. You can now select the available workflows in Portal and start exploring them.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Monitoring NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP using Unified Manager 6.0

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For the next few days I would be working on automating vSphere & NetApp Infrastructure solutions using the following products:
  • NetApp OnCommand Unified Manager 6.0
  • NetApp OnCommand Workflow Automation 2.1
  • VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0  


It has been a great learning experience so far. I have understood the capabilities of the different products and how a single workflow can be created at the Compute > Storage > vSphere layers.


In this blog post I am going to share the instructions to setup OnCommand Unified Manager 6.0 (UM 6.0) which will be used in the automation solution. UM 6.0 provides a dashboard where you can view the health of the NetApp storage and can also be integrated with NetApp Workflow Automation to automate various tasks.


Setup UM 6.0


Download UM 6.0 from OnCommand Unified Manager for Clustered Data ONTAP for VMware vSphere from the Support Site. Note that you need to have valid credentials to download this software.


UM 6.0 is available for download as OVA or ISO, considering the ease of deployment I chose to download OnCommandUnifiedManager-6.0.ova.


Once the file is downloaded, deploy the OVA using the vSphere Client and power on the VM. Wait for the boot process to complete, it may take few minutes.



Once the UM 6.0 VM boots, select the time zone and provide the network details for e.g. IP address, Subnet Mask, Gateway, Hostname, DNS Server etc.
 
Let UM initialize and as per the screenshot this takes some time so grab a cup of coffee or do something else so that you don’t have to stare at the screen and wait for it to complete.
 
You would be prompted to enter the credentials for Maintenance User. Note that this user account would be used while logging into UM 6.0 using the Web browser to configure it.
Once the setup is complete, login to UM 6.0 by connecting to https://IP OR FQDN of UM/ using a supported browser. Enter the maintenance user account credentials and enable Auto Support, it’s recommended.
 
You will now be prompted to add a cluster.

Enter the credentials to add the cluster
It may take few minutes before the cluster is detected.
 
After waiting for few minutes, in my case around 5-7 minutes the cluster information was displayed on the dashboard. You can view the health of your cluster on this dashboard. UM 6.0 will also warn you about the potential issues so that they can be fixed on time.
 
Setup Active Directory authentication for UM 6.0
In this section, I will explain the steps required to configure AD authentication for UM 6.0.
Click on Enable Remote Authentication.
Enter the following details:
  • Authentication Service: Active Directory – I chose this option because I wanted to use the AD installed on Windows 2008 R2.
  • Administrator Name: Here enter the administrator in the DOMAIN\ADMINISTRATOR format.
  • Password: Enter the domain administrator password
  • Base Distinguished Name: CN=Users,DC=nb-cloud,DC=com – I chose this location where all the users are stored, nothing fancy.
  • Add the Active Directory Server by clicking on Add in Servers.
  • To confirm the settings click on Test and try to login using one of the user accounts in the domain. NOTE: During this Test use only ADMINISTRATOR and DON’T use DOMAIN\ADMINISTRATOR.
     
Add the administrator user account as OnCommand Administrator by navigating to Administration > Manage Users > Add
 
Confirm that you can login using the Administrator account
 

This completes the setup of UM 6.0. Stay tuned and I will share a blog post for setting up WFA 2.1 shortly.