We recently rolled out the latest release of UCP Advisor, v1.2, our flag ship infrastructure automation software for converged, hyper-converged and standalone storage. In a previous blog, I included a longish voice over video which rolled through the various features but I thought I would take the opportunity to peel back the features in a shorter bites while also referencing the latest value features introduced in version 1.2
An essential element in converged automation is simplifying the operations and deployment of ESXi hosts, datastores and virtual to physical VLAN synchronization actions. These entities are what UCP Advisor calls virtual/logical resources. <Click animated GIF for visual>
Taking the all important datastore management which traditionally involve multiple admin groups and many days for completion of service tickets. UCP Advisor provides an intuitive interface and workflows for VMFS/NFS datastore creation and hides all the creation complexities and validation of FC zoning across multiple SAN switches, checking that WWPN of ESXi host(s) are in active zone and storage host groups, performing storage LUN creation/masking and finally attachment to ESXi cluster into single click operation. Provisioning times are now at least sub 1 minute. With v1.2 release, we now provide full end to end workflow support for iSCSI and NFS datastores as well.
But we have taken this a step further and also generate unique vCenter tagging of the storage capabilities of the just created VMFS datastore(s) using associated HDS VASA Provider software (v3.4). Now the characteristics of that datastore (performance, availability, cost, encryption etc. etc.) are tagged and available to vSphere administrators to exploit in vCenter policy based management framework for provisioning operations whether from vCenter or higher level cloud automation. The vCenter tags also enable admins to quickly find all related objects, for example all datastores that match Tier 1 IOPS Performance + provide data at rest encryption. Pretty cool SPBM for VMFS. <Click animated GIF for full visual>
As referenced earlier, UCP Advisor supports vSAN based hyperconverged like UCP HC (updated support in v1.2 for vSAN 6.6), converged infrastructure like UCP 2000 that uses compute and external storage and a mode called Logical UCP which can manage flexible configurations including standalone storage. For vSAN based UCP HC, UCP Advisor provides visibility to health and capacity of the vSAN compute nodes respective SSD/HDD(s) that form the cache and capacity tiers of vSAN datastores and also visibility to non allocated devices. It also provides access to compute inventory, topology and operations such as boot order, power and LID operations and most importantly firmware management which I'll cover in subsequent blog in this series <Click on animated GIF for full visual>
Speaking of ESXi compute nodes, UCP Advisor can also deploy new node(s) or non-allocated ESXi compute nodes into ESXi clusters running on UCP 2000. It will surface up un-allocated compute nodes on UCP 2000 config (which are SAN Boot ESXi nodes), it will check/update the firmware of node(s) match the cluster, verify WWPNs on new host are correctly configured in active SAN zones and after deployment, it will ensure all existing VMFS and NFS datastores in the cluster are now available and presented to the new node(s). Again, this dramatically increases the time to use for new compute resources added into environment and providing the turnaround times now expected in the age of public computing expectations.
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In the next part 2 of this series, I will cover aspects of networking mgmt, on-boarding administration, topology views and integrated data protection and more in part 3