The final installment of my VSI Install Guide Series is our Path Management Plugin. This is another free plugin that allows you to set, or change global multiplathing settings in your VMware vSphere environment as it relates to connecting to EMC storage solutions. If you’ve kept up with my other guides I took you through how to setup the VSI Storage Viewer plugin that gives you some great detail around performance and general EMC Storage Stats from inside vSphere Client. I also took you through our VSI Storage Management plugin that allowed you to create, delete LUNS as well as shrink and even tie into VMware View and Citrix Xendesktop for easy deployment of Virtual Desktops inside vCenter.
Path Management Plugin is one that you will probably only use once, but it is such a HUGE time saver that you almost want to install it first. If you are in a relatively decent size datacenter with multiple hosts/clusters or even EMC storage arrays then there is no doubt you’ve run into issues making sure that all your hosts/clusters are using the same Multi-Pathing policy. Whether it’s Most Recently Used (MRU), Fixed, RoundRobin or even PowerPath V/E (Virtual Edition), the larger the environment the more potential to have a mismatch of various policies. What the VSI- Path Management plugin allows you to do is to easily make changes to these policies and apply them across a clusters or even based on what sort of EMC array it will connect to.
By the way, if you are unsure of what native multipathing solution you should use for a given EMC product and version of vSphere, I can’t express how important it is to check out Clint Kitson’s awesome overview and background information on what choices you have, as well as what some of the failure scenarios you need to pay attention to based on a give NMP. You can find his blog post here:
Fixed/RoundRobin in 5.1 and a Simple PowerCLI Block Pathing Module
As always you can find the complete install guide on PowerLink as well as the bits needed to install it. Also, please note that the VSI plugins are ALL free. Again, how often do you hear an EMC’er say a feature like this is FREE
Here are the install guides I’ve published so far:
- VSI – Storage Viewer – Really should be the first thing you install !
- VSI – Unified Storage Management
- VSI – USM with View 5 Integration
- VSI – USM with VMAX Integration
With that said, let’s get busy with the install !
Lets go to Powerlink.EMC.COM and download the software: <Support – Software Downloads and Licensing – Downloads T-Z and then Virtual Storage Integrator (VSI)
Now lets open up vSphere Client and make sure it hasn’t already been installed – go to Home-Solutions and Applications- EMC and see what you have installed. In this case we show Storage Viewer and Unified Storage Management installed but no Path Management:
1. Now lets go back to our download and unpack it and run the install
2. Doh – remind me to turn off User Account Control – such a rookie move in a test lab
3.Let’s click “I accept the terms” box and then click Install
4.Guess what…that’s it. Click next.
5. No, really that’s it. Like 2 clicks and its done. Just click Finish
6. Because it was so easy – I decided to screen shot the VMware vSphere Client that you need to click to start working with the plugin. So lets open up the vSphere client.
7. Lets go back to Home – Solutions and Applications – EMC and we see that Path Management has been added. Sweet. Lets kick the tires.
8. Go go Home – Inventory – Host and Clusters and expand out a cluster. Right click on the cluster, go down to EMC option and then choose “Set Multipathing Policy”
9. First thing you will notice is a couple of drop downs. The first option lists out the arrays you can set the policy against. In this case we see the choice of “All EMC Devices” as well as “All Symmetrix Devices”, “All Clariion Devices”, “All VPLEX Devices” and “All VNX Devices”.
10. Once you pick the device you want to apply your new multipathing policy to, you can pick the specific policy you want applied to those arrays. In this case we have “Do Not Change” which is pretty self explanatory as well as MRU, RR and Fixed.
11. Also notice that when you choose an array, it gives you a chance to pick other arrays as well. So in this case if you have a mix of VNX, legacy CX’s, Symm’s or VPLEX you can apply the changes to them all at the same time.
So there you have it, pretty easy peasy and as you can imagine, a hell of a quick way to apply and make consistent your NMP policy across your environment. One more thing to point out, I’ll be installing PowerPath VE in a later blog, once I do that you will see the PowerPath VE options show up below. You can then set PP/VE Policy on a per array basis. Pretty cool huh !
Stay tuned for more how-to guides or if you have any requests, leave a comment below!