Unity VSA Deployment

Unity VSA Deployment

EMC released the new mid-range storage array “Unity” at EMC World this year.  There are 3 different options: Unity All Flash, Unity Hybrid Flash and UnityVSA.  The Unity VSA platform can scale up to 50TB and can be fully unified.  The UnityVSA Community edition allows up to 4TB of capacity for free!  Below are the step on how to deploy Unity VSA:

System Requirements:

  • vCenter 5.5 update and later.
  • ESXi 5.x and later
  • 12GB Memory
  • 2 vCPU
  • 4TB Usable Capacity for the Community edition
  • UnityVSA OVA can be downloaded from the EMC Support site

Deploying UnityVSA OVF

Right Click on the host you want VSA to run on and select “Deploy OVF Template”


Select the OVA you downloaded



Review the details and “Accept extra configuration options”


Name the VSA and select a folder


Specify the Storage.


Setup the networks. There will be a management port and Data Network Ports


Customize the template. Specify the System Name, IPv4 Management and IPv6.  Leave the IPs blank if you want to use DHCP.


Review and Deploy


Once the OVA is deployed add some VMDKs that you want to use for storage in the VSA by editing the settings.  Once you power on it can take up to 15 minutes for UnityVSA to be up and running.


Initial Configuration Wizard

Once the VSA is up and running start the Initial Configuration by going to the Management IP and using the default admin credentials


Accept the Copyright


Set the new admin and service account passwords. They can be set to the same.


License the VSA by using the System UUID identified


Go to the following site and use the System UUID to create the license


Once you have the license browse to it and upload


Verify License installed






You have the options of creating Pools or doing this at another time


Setup Email and SMTP


Create any iSCSI Network interfaces. This can be done later


Create any NAS Servers. This can be done later.


At this Point the Initial Configuration is complete!


Go forth and enjoy UnityVSA!!


I plan on doing several more blogs on UnityVSA including NAS Servers, NFS Shares and replication.  Stay tuned!

Unity: Next Generation NAS & File Capabilities

True Unification

  • No separate hardware for File and Block
  • Built in 10GbT IP Ports (2 per SP)
  • Flexible multi-tenant virtual file serving technology
  • Provides SMB and/or NFS
  • No separate CIFS server

Unified storage pool architecture

  • Create a Storage Pool, then a NAS server, then the file system
    • Private LUN will be created in the pool
    • Then slices will be created
  • Pools can be snapped with Both Block and File on them

High Availability

  • Start with LACP
  • Create NAS Server. They can support 10 different IPs and different gateways
  • A SP will own the NAS Server, balance NAS across the SPs
  • NAS will failover in the event of an SP failover. Automatic failback one SP is fixed


  • 64TB File System
  • 128 NAS servers
  • 1500 file systems
  • 3PB Total NAS Capacity

Space Reclaim

  • Shrink, extend and space reclaim
  • Maual shrink/extend
    • Ability to change the capacity of file systems
  • Auto-shrink/extend for thin file systems
    • Tries to maintain 70%-75% capacity

Unity Data Services

  • Shrink and Reclaim
  • Quotas
    • User quota per file system
    • Tree quotas on new or existing directories
    • Per file system quota policy
  • NDMP for backups
  • Snapshots and replication
    • Fully unified, uses the same ROW
    • Schedulable
  • Fast Cache and Fast VP
  • Encryption
    • DARE

Application Integration

  • VMware NFS Datastores
    • Automatically mounted to vSphere after creation
    • Configure host I/O size to match intended application


I am currently at EMC World and being part of EMC Elect I was able to take a tour of SUPERNAP in Las Vegas.  I have been in a lot of datacenters in my career and I have to admit that this is the most impressive facility I have ever seen.  Below are some of the highlights;


  • Dual 200-mph rated roofing system.
  • Designed in mind that roofs need maintenance. So you can work on one of them and not affect the other.

Switch T-SCIF

  • A cabinet that contains the heat dissipation from all of the hardware. It separates the hot and cold air and lets the hot air rise and moves it out of the building

Switch WDMD

  • This allows 100% power uptime
  • Each facility is divided into three separate N + 2 power systems.
  • Each customer gets 2 circuits which comes with two completely separate N + 2 power systems
  • This allows maintenance without any interruptions

Switch TSC 1000 ROTOFLY

  • Multi-node HVAC platform that site entirely outside and does not eat the floor space.
  • The ROTOFLY supports refrigeration and temperature controls during a power outage
  • Ties in with the LIVING DATA CENTER software automating the process


  • LDC is a proprietary automatic building adjustment management system developed by SUPERNAP
  • Uses real-time monitoring to react and make adjustments
  • This makes these data centers the most efficient


  • Steel Infrastructure matrix that radiates cold to maintain temps.
  • All the weight is transferred to the 22 inch concrete slab that can hold 4,500 pounds per square inch.

They also have a highly trained security staff which guarantees there security and safety  of the equipment on-site.  One huge advantage is the Fiber network in place.  They have 50+ telecom providers and over 4,000 fibers.  They are connected by a SUPERLOOP which is 7ms to the Bay area and LA Metro.  One small bit of info that you may find interesting is that they have never had an outage. I would say that is the most impressive fact of all.  Check out https://www.supernap.com to find out more info.

In conclusion if I am running a datacenter I want it in SUPERNAP.

VMAX: Behind The White Light Of The All Flash VMAX 450F/FX & 850F/FX

Summary of the VMAX All Flash Session

  • 4M IOPS
  • 8TB SSD
  • Simple, Simple, Simple
  • 2 models, VMAX 450 and VMAX 850
  • 4PBu
  • FC, FICON and iSCSI
  • Scales up to 192 ports
  • V-BRICK = 2 DAEs
  • Raid 5 (7+1) and Raid 6 (14+2)
  • Engine connections are thru infiniband
  • Participates in the Xpect More program
  • Software licensed based on the Hardware
  • Cache acceleration
  • 100% writes are cached
  • ~50% of reads are cached
  • Writes stay in cache for minutes to help deal with re-writes
  • Cache and disks trace at 128k
  • AES-256, chips on the backend, Embedded RSA encryption key manager
  • SnapVX can do up to 256 snaps

Unity: Performance Best Practices

Pre-Production Testing

  • Use tools like VDbench
  • Understand the limits
  • Populate the data first then run your workload
  • Document your testing with timestamps, changes, etc
  • Mimic your production environment as much as possible
  • Don’t run defaults. They are not use case scenario’s
  • Validate processes before testing. Unmap for Fast Cache, zeroing when reusing disk and turn on encryption out the gate

Considerations for Production

  • Pools
    • All flash vs Hybrid
    • Hybrid can’t have more than 50% flash
    • Think of Metadata for snaps
  • I/O Modules
    • PCIe 8 & 16
    • 12Gb SAS
    • 16GB FC
    • 1GbE front end
    • 10GB iSCSI
    • Can’t change CNA ports from iSCSI or FC
    • I/O modules are persistent once put in
  • Port utilization
    • Multicore
    • CAN offloads for iSCSI
    • Recommend to do as many FE ports as possible
  • NAS
    • LACP for 1GB
    • Split NAS across SPs
  • Advanced Data Services
    • FAST VP
    • Unified Snapshots
    • Asynchronous Replication
    • Synchronous Replication
  • Analysis
    • Storage Analytics
    • Viper SRM
    • Mitrends
    • Unisphere Central
    • CloudIQ

Data Domain: What’s New In 2016

Data Domain: What’s New In 2016

Below is my notes for the What’s New in DataDomain in 2016. DataDomain continues to improve and evolve.

Cloud Enabled

  • Native Tier to the Cloud
  • Simple management
  • No separate cloud gateway or Virtual Appliance
  • Data is sent directly from DD to cloud object storage
  • Protect up to 51 PB of logical capacity to the cloud
  • Scales 2x the max capacity of the active tier
  • Send only unique data to the cloud
  • Data lands in the cloud already deduplicated
  • Only recalls unique data from the cloud
  • Supported with DD Encryption and Retention Lock
  • Supports ECS, AWS, Azure and Virtustream

Enterprise Ready

  • Secure Multi-Tenancy
  • Quotas for replication as a service
  • Physical Capacity Measurement
  • Detailed Space Utilization
  • Active/standby with automatic failover
  • DD OS 5.7 has 256 active MTrees on DD9500
  • DS60 Dense Shelf. Supported with DD 4200, 4500, 7200 and 9500
  • Online storage migration

Software Defined

  • DDVE
  • 2TB/hr with DD Boost
  • Logical capacity up to 800TB
  • Useable up to 16TB
  • Easy OVA deployment
  • ROBO
  • DataDomain Management Center. Manage up to 100 DD/DDVE
  • Try and Buy option


  • VCE Data Protection Appliance
  • Pre-configured by VCE