Objective 3.3 – Create and Configure VMFS and NFS Datastores

For this objective I used the following documents:

  • Documents listed in the Tools section

Objective 3.3 – Create and Configure VMFS and NFS Datastores

**ITEMS IN BOLD ARE TOPICS PULLED FROM THE BLUEPRINT**

Knowledge

  • Identify VMFS and NFS Datastore properties
    • VMFS Datastore Properties
      • Logical container that provides a uniformed model for storing virtual machines by hiding certain properties of the physical storage
      • Can format SCSI-based storage devices into VMFS datastores
      • Deployed on block storage
      • VMFS3 and VMFS5 are read/write in ESXi5, but VMFS2 is not available
      • VMFS is optimized to store virtual machines
      • Can span multiple physical storage extents
      • The ability to increase the size of a VMFS datastore while virtual machines are running on it
      • Can store other files besides virtual machine files
    • NFS Datastore Properties
      • Uses an NFS volume on a NAS device and allows you mount it as a datastore
      • Can be mounted as read-only
      • Can be used to store files other than virtual machine files
      • vMotion, DRS, and HA is supported
      • virtual machine snapshots are supported

 

  • Identify VMFS5 capabilities
    • VMFS5 is a major improvement over VMFS3 (IMHO) with one of the biggest improvements being the 32x increase in datastore capacity, a whopping 64TB!
    • Here is a list of VMFS5 capabilities:
      • Supports greater than 2TB storage devices for each VMFS extent
      • All block sizes are now standard at 1MB
      • Support for greater than 2TB disks for RDM (physical compatibility mode)
      • Scalability improvements for storage devices supporting hardware acceleration (VAAI)
        • ESXi supports NAS plug-ins for array integration
      • Atomic test and set (ATS) locking on storage devices that support hardware acceleration is now the default locking mechanism
      • Can reclaim physical storage space on thin provisioned storage devices
      • Online upgrades of datastores without service disruption

 

  • Create/Rename/Delete/Unmount a VMFS Datastore
    • Create a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Click the Add Storage… hyperlink
        5. Select Disk/LUN for the storage type > click Next
        6. Select the disk you want to use > click Next
        7. Select VMFS-5 for the file system version > click Next > click Next
        8. Input a datastore name > click Next  (you should make it something descriptive)
        9. Choose whether to use Maximum available space or Custom Space (if choosing Custom space enter in the amount you want to use, in GB) > click Next
        10. Click Finish
    • Rename a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want to rename and select Rename
        5. Enter in the new name and press enter or click a different area of the screen to commit the change
    • Delete a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want to delete and select Delete
        5. Choose Yes to confirm the deletion operation (this will delete all files and virtual machines on this datastore
    • Unmount a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want to unmount and select Unmount
        5. At this point there are five checks that are performed before you can Unmount a datastore (If one or more of these checks fail you must remediate it and repeat this step):
          1. No virtual machines can reside on the datastore
          2. The datastore can’t be part of a datastore cluster
          3. The datastore can’t be managed by storage DRS
          4. The datastore must have Storage I/O control disabled
          5. The datastore can’t be used for vSphere HA heartbeat
        6. Click OK

NOTE: to mount, right-click the inactive datastore and select Mount

 

  • Mount/Unmount an NFS Datastore
    • Mount an NFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Click the Add Storage… hyperlink
        5. Select Network File System > click Next
        6. Enter in the server name or IP address in the Server field
        7. Enter in the folder path for the NFS share in the Folder field
        8. Check the Mount NFS read only checkbox if you want to mount the NFS volume as read only
        9. Enter in a name for the datastore in the Datastore Name field > click Next
        10. Click Finish
        11. The new NFS datastore should now appear in the Datastores view
    • Unmount an NFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click the NFS datastore you want to unmounts and select Unmount
        5. Click Yes to confirm the remove datastore operation

 

  • Extend/Expand VMFS Datastores
    • Extend/Expand a VMFS Datastore – Adding Extents negates your ability to use Storage I/O Control (SIOC) for that VMFS datastore
        1. Log in directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want to extend/expand and select Properties…
        5. Click the Increase… button under Volume Properties
        6. Choose the device you want to use to extend the datastore > click Next > click Next
        7. Choose the Custom space setting option and enter in how much space you want to use in GB or choose the Maximum available space option > click Next
        8. Click Finish
        9. Click Close to return to the Datastores view

 

  • Upgrade a VMFS3 Datastore to VMFS5
    • When you upgrade the datastore, the ESXi file-locking mechanism ensures that no local processes or remote hosts can access the datastore
    • This is a one-way only process; no downgrading
    • How to upgrade a VMFS3 Datastore to VMFS5 – will not change block size to 1MB
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Click on the datastore you want to upgrade
        5. Click the Upgrade to VMFS-5… hyperlink located towards the bottom right
        6. Click OK to confirm and start the VMFS-5 upgrade process

 

  • Place a VMFS Datastore in Maintenance Mode
    • How to place a VMFS datastore into Maintenance Mode
        1. Log in to vCenter using the VI Client
        2. Click the View menu at the top > select Inventory > select Datastores and Datastore Clusters (or Ctrl + Shift + D)
        3. Select the datastore on the left that you want to place in maintenance mode
        4. Click the Summary tab
        5. In the Commands pane, click the Enter SDRS Maintenance Mode hyperlink
        6. To exit maintenance mode click the Exit SDRS Maintenance Mode hyperlink

 

  • Select the Preferred Path for a VMFS Datastore
    • How to select a Preferred Path for a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want and select Properties…
        5. Click the Manage Paths… button
        6. Right-click on the path you want to set as preferred and select Preferred
        7. Once you do this there should be a checkbox next to Preferred in the context menu and an asterisk (*) next to that path under the Preferred column
        8. Click Close twice

 

  • Disable a path to a VMFS Datastore
    • How to disable a particular path(s) to a VMFS Datastore
        1. Log in to vCenter or directly to the host using the VI Client
        2. Select a host from the left pane and then click the Configuration tab on the right
        3. Select Storage  in the left column of the center pane
        4. Right-click on the datastore you want and select Properties…
        5. Click the Manage Paths… button
        6. Right-click on the path you want to disable and select Disable
        7. Once you do this there should be a checkbox next to Disable in the context menu and the Status should say Disabled
        8. Click Close twice

 

  • Determine use case for multiple VMFS/NFS Datastores
    • There are a few big use cases for using multiple VMFS/NFS Datastores
      • Datastores sit on backend storage that have physical disks configured in a particular way.  If you have a requirement where some applications need more space, or need to be faster than others, creating multiple datastores with different characteristics can answer that requirement
      • Disk contention could be a problem, having different datastores will allow you to spread those workloads over different physical disks
      • HA and resiliency – having multiple datastores allows you to spread your VMs across them.  If you lose a datastore, all of your VMs won’t go down, only VMs located on that particular datastore

 

  • Determine the appropriate Path Selection Policy for a given VMFS Datastore
    • Determining the appropriate Path Selection Policy (PSP) for a given VMFS Datastore, of course, depends on the situation:
      • Different storage back-ends support different PSP, some are active/passive, some are active/active (ALUA)
      • Number of physical storage adapters are also a  factor; if you have one physical adapter with paths to 2 storage processors, you are protected againast a storage processor failure, but if the physical NIC fails, you get into an All Paths Down(APD) scenario, which = not good!
      • If you are using virtualized storage, such as EMC VPLEX or NetApp Metro-Cluster, you may not want to use Round-Robin
      • There are also third-party pathing plug-ins, such as EMC PowerPath/VE, which will dynamically load balance, perform failback, and is VM/Storage aware

Tools

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