Tag Archives: vaai

vSphere Lab Storage: Synology DS414slim Part 4 – VAAI-NAS Plugin

This posting is ~5 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

Chris Wahl wrote a good blog post about the VAAI-NAS plugin some days ago. I really recommend to read this posting. Because of his article, I will only describe the installation of the plugin. You can download the plugin on the Synology homepage for free.

There are two ways to install the plugin: With the vSphere Update Manager (VUM) and a host extension baseline, or with ESXCLI.

Plugin installation using the vSphere Update Manager

First of all, we need to import the plugin (host extension) to the patch repository. Open the vSphere C# client, switch to the “Home” screen and click “Update Manager” under “Solutions and Applications”. Switch to the “Patch Repository” tab and click “Import Patches”.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_01

Import the SYN-ESX-5.5.0-NasVAAIPlugin-1.0-offline_bundle-2092790.zip file. The next step is to create a new baseline, in this case a “Host Extension” baseline.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_02

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Scroll down and add the plugin to the baseline (click the down arrow button). Click “Next”.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_03

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Check the settings and finish the creation of the baseline.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_04

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Now attach the baseline to your hosts or cluster.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_05

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

As you can see, the VUM detected that my hosts are non-compliant, because the host extension is missing.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_06

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

During the installation process, the plugin is installed and a host reboot is triggered. After a reboot and a scan, all hosts should be compliant.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_07

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

In addition to the now compliant host status, the NFS datastores should now support hardware acceleration. You can check this in the vSphere C# or vSphere Web Client.

vaai-nas_plugin_installation_vum_08

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Another way to install the plugin is using the ESXCLI.

Install via ESXCLI

Upload the esx-nfsplugin.vib to a local or shared datastore. I placed the file in one of my NFS datastores. Then use ESXCLI to install the VIB.

Do enable the plugin, a host reboot is necessary. This ways is suitable for standalone hosts. I recommend to use the VUM whenever it’s possible.

Final words

I strongly recommend to install the plugin. Using the vSphere Update Manager, the installation is really easy. If you have a single host, try the installation using ESXCLI.

VMware VAAI support for HP P2000 G3 & HP MSA 2040

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.
Information: Beginning with the TS251R004 firmware release, the HP MSA VAAI plug-in is no longer supported as the HP MSA controller firmware now uses T10 compliance in an ESX Environment documented in TS251R004.

The HP P2000 G3 and the HP MSA 2040 are two widely used entry-level storage arrays. The P2000 G3 is VAAI capable since firmware version T230. But, contrary to the HP MSA 2040, you have to install the software plug-in for VMware VAAI if you use the P2000 G3. According to the “HP MSA 2040 Storage Configuration and Best Practices for VMware vSphere” whitepaper the MSA 2040 supports VAAI nativly without an additional plugin.

The HP MSA 2040 array natively supports these three primitives, which means an additional MSA plug-in is no longer required with vSphere 5.0 and higher to receive the benefits of VAAI integration.

The problem

Today I ran into this problem while visiting a new customer, which uses several HP ProLiant DL380 G7 with a P2000 G3 and VMware vSphere 5.5. The vSphere client told me that “Hardware Acceleration” was unknown.I checked these options (Configuration tab, click Advanced Settings under Software):

All options were set to 1 which means that they are enabled. A quick check with esxcli confirmed this:

That wasn’t what I expected… But I missed to check what kind of image the customer used to install the ESXi 5.5 hosts. In the end the solution was simple: The customer used the VMware vanilla 5.5 image, not the HP customized image. The HP image includes the P2000 G3 VAAI plugin-in, the vanilla image doesn’t include it.

The solution

In this case we had to install the VAAI plug-in. The installation is nothing fancy and it’s a one-liner. Download the plug-in, upload it to the host into the tmp directory, connect using SSH and run:

Please note that you have to extract the ZIP file after the download! There’s a ZIP file inside the ZIP file. After a reboot the VAAI support should be active:

vStorage API for Array Integration & vSphere Essentials Plus

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

During the installation of a really small vSphere environment, I used the 60 days instand-on license. This allows me to use some fancy vSphere Enterprise Plus feature during the installation. Specifically I use host profiles to configure the ESXi hosts. At the end of the installation process I removed the host profiles and installed the Essentials Plus license. The enviroment consisted of two HP ProLiant DL360 Gen8, a dual-fabric SAN with a HP MSA 2040, two Brocade 300 FC switches, some more stuff and a vSphere Essentials Plus license. The customer and I decided to install VMware vCenter 5.5.0b and ESXi 5.5.

So far I believed that the vSphere Essentials Plus doesn’t supports VAAI, because it’s not part of the license. According to VMware KB1021976 VAAI is only available in the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus license. This underlines the statement on the VMware homepage regarding the comparision of vSphere editions.

While using on the instant-on license, VAAI was certainly used by the hypervisor. Later, after the installation of the Essentials Plus license, I had to deploy a few Windows 2008 R2 VMs and this was incredible fast. Not that I would have expected that the MSA 2040 is a lame snail, but that was so fast that I had to check it. ESXCLI told me, that VAAI is supported. I expected this, becuase the HP MSA 2040 supports VAAI.

The vSphere Client told me the same:

vaai_msa2040_datastore_details

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

During a VM deployment I checked the VAAI stats with ESXTOP

vaai_esxtop_output_cloning

Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

And this I did not expect. You can clearly see that VAAI is utilized – by a Essentials Plus licensed host! I asked on Twitter if anyone has an explanation for this observation, but even Cormac Hogan had no real explanation for this.

A guess on my part is that the function is still activated as long as the host is not rebooted. I had no chance to investigate this more further.

Update

After tweeting about this blog post Markus Löffler wrote:

This confirms my suspicion, that VAAI is gone after a reboot. Too bad. I thought I have cracked the licensing. ;)

Edit 17.11.2014

Manfred Hofer has discovered that VAAI will continue working, even after a reboot! He blogged about his experience: Things you should know (TYSK) – VAAI and Licensing Thanks for sharing this finding!

Edit 20.11.2014

Manfred updates his blog post: Things you should know (TYSK) – VAAI and Licensing. VAAI works in every vSphere license, but the usage is restricted by the EULA. If you’re not using a vSphere Enterprise Plus license, you should disable VAAI (check VMware KB1033665 – Disabling the VAAI functionality in ESXi/ESX). Otherweise you violate the EULA.