3PAR StorServ 7000 series best practices for vSphere 5.1

This is part 4 in a multi-part series about 3PAR arrays from an EVA Administrator’s point of view – and specifically here, for the VMware Administrator, too. Running 3PAR StorServ with vSphere 5.1 comes with a short list of best practices from HP, which is great since VMware ESXi does most of the work for you.  The best practices for EVA are the same as the best practices for 3PAR StorServ, except the IOPS count.  In summary, the best practices are:

  • In 3PAR Management Console, set the host persona to host persona 11/VMware if running 3PAR OS 3.1.2 or later, which ships with the StorServ 7000 series arrays.
  • Set the default VMware Path Selection Policy (PSP) to VMW_PSP_RR.
  • Set the default VMware Storage Array Type Plugin (SATP) to VMW_SATP_ALUA.
  • Set the IOPS value for 3PAR data LUNs to a value of 100.

Create a Host Persona for the ESXi server

Using the 3PAR OS CLI, log into your 3PAR array and you will need to create a host where you can export your storage.  Since this post focuses on the 3PAR StorServ 7000 series, these units ship with OS 3.1.2, so you should use host persona 11 – the VMware ALUA persona.  3PAR OS 3.1.2 includes support for asymmetric logical unit access (ALUA) and the host persona 11/VMware and new ESXi hosts should use this persona according to the HP 3PAR VMware ESX Implementation Guide, revision March 2013.

createhost -persona 11 ESXiHostName WWN/iSCSI_Port_ID1 WWN/iSCSI_Port_ID2

With a host created in the 3PAR, you can now export Virtual Volumes (VV) to hosts.  But before you export any LUNs from the 3PAR, you will want to configure your ESXi hosts with a default storage array type plugin and path selection policy.

Set the default SATP to VMW_SATP_ALUA and PSP to VMW_PSP_RR

With 3PAR OS 3.1.2 using host persona 11/VMware in your hosts objects on the 3PAR array, the array supports ALUA and we should set your storage type array plugin (SATP) to match by default in VMware – otherwise, you have to set this setting on each LUN presented/exported.  In addition, the recommended path selection policy (PSP) is Round Robin.  Most Recently Used (MRU) is also acceptable, but not the optimal path selection policy.  To set this on your ESXi hosts, use the esxcli below.  (If you haven’t used vSphere CLI/esxcli – see this blog post at VMware for some tips on how to provide credentials).

esxcli storage nmp satp set -s VMW_SATP_ALUA -P VMW_PSP_RR

For anyone wanting a way to accomplish this in PowerCLI, you should check out Jonathan Medd’s post adapting the esxcli command to PowerCLI. If you have storage that was presented prior to setting the default, you will need to go through and set these LUNs to Round Robin from MRU, which is the out-of-box default.

Get-VMHost | Get-ScsiLun -CanonicalName "naa.600*" | Set-ScsiLun -MultipathPolicy "roundrobin"

You will also need to create a custom rule to set the IOPS value on each LUN added.

esxcli storage nmp satp rule add -s "VMW_SATP_ALUA" -P "VMW_PSP_RR" -O iops=100 -c "tpgs_on" -V "3PARdata" -M "VV" -e "HP 3PAR Custom iSCSI/FC/FCoE ALUA Rule"

Now for the same in PowerShell, here’s a short group of commands to accomplish the same.  First, you have to connect directly to a ESX host and to a vCenter instance.  Second, issue these:

Connect-VIServer -Server [servername]
$esxcli = Get-EsxCli
$esxcli.storage.nmp.device.list() | where {$_.device -like "naa.600*"} | %{
  $configBefore = $esxcli.storage.nmp.psp.roundrobin.deviceconfig.get($_.device)
  $esxcli.storage.nmp.psp.roundrobin.deviceconfig.set(0, 1, $_.device, [long]100, "iops", $false)
  $configAfter = $esxcli.storage.nmp.psp.roundrobin.deviceconfig.get($_.device)
  # Uncomment the following lines if you want to report the settings
  # $configBefore
  # $configAfter

Lastly, in earlier versions of 3PAR OS, you needed to add a plugin for VAAI to ESXi in order to gain the benefits of VAAI – offloading processes directly to the array from the ESXi host.  With 3PAR OS 3.1.1, it is no longer needed –

HP 3PAR VAAI Plug 2.2.0 should not be installed on the ESXi 5.x if connected to an HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage running HP 3PAR OS 3.1.1 or later, because the VAAI primitives are handled by the default T10 VMware plugin and do not require the HP 3PAR VAAI plugin.

Supporting best practices for multiple storage systems in a single VMware environment can be tough, but in my experience supporting both EVA and 3PAR in the same environment is very simple and straight forward if you’re using 3PAR OS 3.1.2. As another tip, Host Profiles work well for picking up SAN settings on a single host and applying them again the other nodes in the cluster.  If you boot from SAN, you may have to go into a profile and disable some settings specific to boot LUNs on a host, but otherwise, the storage settings from the host profile should work well for replicating settings.

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Author Information

Philip is a IT solutions engineer working for AmWINS Group, Inc., an insurance brokerage firm in Charlotte, NC. With a focus on data center technologies, he has built a career helping his customers and his employers deploy better IT solutions to solve their problems. Philip holds certifications in VMware and Microsoft technologies and he is a technical jack of all trades that is passionate about IT infrastructure and all things Apple. He's a part-time blogger and author here at Techazine.com.

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