I previously wrote a post or two related to NetApp’s Virtual Storage Console for VMware vCenter, including its uses and how to install it. In this post I would like to highlight its importance in a NetApp/VMware or FlexPod environment.
NetApp’s VSC is a very handy tool that will allow you to achieve many tasks in an automated fashion rather than doing them manually; therefore, it will save you time and eliminate the possibility of human error. During the configuration and provisioning process, the human error factor can result in a lot of frustration for the admin/engineer, as troubleshooting often ends with the finding of a simple step that was missed. VSC is not a new tool, but there is a new version (6.0) that introduces new features and fixes. VVols requires VSC 6.0 , by the way.
One of the coolest features of VSC (IMHO), is the provisioning of storage from the VMware Web client. If we were to create an NFS datastore for VMware, the manual process will include the creation of a volume, granting the correct permissions for the export, and then mounting the datastore to each host. This takes quite a bit of time and requires having to jump between UIs.
VSC allows you to do all the aforementioned steps from the VMware client (Web or C#) from one easy to use provisioning wizard. You can provision datastores, volumes, exports, and permissions by simply right-clicking the cluster or an individual host. If you do this from the cluster level, VSC will create the volume and exports which is cool, but the coolest part is that it will also add the hosts’ IP addresses with the necessary permissions to the export, and it creates and mounts the datastores on all hosts within the cluster, NFS in this case. That alone is a good reason to have VSC, albeit there are many other tasks that VSC is capable of.
One of the frequently asked questions I see on both the VMware and NetApp communities, relates to errors and failure to mount an NFS datastore in vCenter. Often times it relates to the permissions within the exports, so VSC will do all this for you and prevent such issues.
Note: Please refer to NetApp’s Interoperability Matrix Tool (IMT) to determine which version you need. Specific versions are needed for VMware’s Web client and the same goes for the vSphere Client.
VSC options for Cluster
VSC options for Host