VMware

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0 Release Notes

vSphere Storage Appliance Manager Installer 1.0 | 24 Aug 2011 | EXE Build 458417

vSphere Storage Appliance Automated Installer 1.0 | 24 Aug 2011 | ZIP Build 458467 | ISO Build 458467

Check frequently for additions and updates to these release notes.

What's in the Release Notes

The release notes cover the following topics:

These release notes provide information on VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0, a distributed shared storage solution for VMware vSphere 5.0.

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0 Features

VMware vSphere Storage Appliance 1.0 provides a distributed shared storage solution that abstracts the computing and internal hard disk resources of two or three ESXi 5.0 hosts to form a VSA cluster. The VSA cluster enables vSphere High Availability and vSphere vMotion.

VSA Cluster Features

A VSA cluster provides the following set of features:

  • Shared datastores for all hosts in the datacenter
  • Replica of each shared datastore
  • VMware vMotion and VMware High Availability
  • Failover and failback capabilities from hardware and software failures
  • Replacement of a failed VSA cluster member
    Note: VSA cluster member is an ESXi host with a running vSphere Storage Appliance that participates in a VSA cluster.
  • Recovery of an existing VSA cluster
  • Collection of VSA cluster logs

VSA Cluster Components

  • vCenter Server 5.0
  • Two or three ESXi 5.0 hosts
  • vSphere Storage Appliance
  • vSphere Storage Appliance Manager
  • vSphere Storage Applance Cluster Service (used only in a VSA cluster with two ESXi hosts)

Documentation

The vSphere Storage Appliance documentation is available in HTML, PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.

Open vSphere Storage Appliance Documentation in HTML Format

  1. Open vSphere 5.0 Documentation Center.
  2. From the hierarchy tree, expand ESXi and vCenter Server 5.0 Documentation, within it expand vSphere Storage, and select vSphere Storage Appliance.

Open vSphere Storage Appliance Documentation in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI Formats

  1. Open vSphere 5.0 Documentation Center.
  2. From the hierarchy tree, select PDF and E-book Product Documentation and under it select PDF and E-book Product Documentation.
  3. Select the vSphere Storage Appliance tab on the right and download the vSphere Storage Appliance documents in PDF, EPUB, or MOBI format.

    For information about installing and configuring the software and hardware components needed to create a VSA cluster, read VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Configuration.

    For information about maintaining, monitoring, and troubleshooting a VSA cluster, read VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Administration.

Installation Notes

vSphere Storage Appliance supports the VSA Manager Installer wizard and the VSA Automated Installer script as installation workflows. The following table shows a comparison of the requirements for each.

Installation Requirements VSA Manager Installer VSA Automated Installer
Hardware Requirements
Two or three servers with homogenous hardware configuration
  • CPU 64-bit x86 Intel or AMD processor, 2GHz or faster
  • Memory
    • 6GB, minimum
    • 24GB, recommended
    • 72GB, maximum tested
      Note: You can have more than 72GB memory per ESXi host as there is no memory limitation for the VSA cluster.
  • Hard disks
    • Hard disks that are of the same model, capacity, and performance characteristics per ESXi host. For possible configurations, see RAID Settings and Requirements.
    • Supported hard disk types
      • SAS 2 - at least 7200RPM
      • SATA - at least 7200RPM
  • NIC 4 single-port or 2 dual-port Gigabit Ethernet NICs
  • RAID controller See RAID Settings and Requirements.
Yes Yes
vCenter Server 5.0 system that does not run within the VSA cluster
  • CPU 64-bit x86 Intel or AMD processor, 2GHz or faster
  • Memory 3GB, minimum
  • Hard disk space 4GB, minimum
  • NIC 1 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
    Note: You cannot enable the VSA Manager plug-in if the vCenter Server system has 2 NICs configured on different networks.
Yes Yes
Network Hardware Requirements and Configuration
  • Two Gigabit Ethernet switches, recommended
    Note: Network configuration with two switches eliminates SPOF in the physical network layer.
  • One Gigabit Ethernet switch, minimum
Yes Yes
Static IP addresses in the vCenter Server subnet Yes Yes
(Optional) Two VLAN IDs configured on the Ethernet switches Yes Yes
Software Installations
ESXi 5.0 on each host Yes Yes
Windows Server 2003 or 2008 64-bit installation Yes Yes
vCenter Server 5.0 on a physical system or a virtual machine that is not in the VSA cluster Yes No
vSphere Client 5.0 Yes No

Read the VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Installation and Configuration document to learn more about each workflow.

RAID Settings and Requirements

RAID Type
SATA Drives
SAS Drives
RAID5
Not supported
Only these configurations are supported:
  • 3 to 8 drives each of capacity <= 1T
  • 3 to 6 drives of capacity >1T and <= 1.5T
  • 3 to 5 drives of capacity > 1.5T and <= 2T
  • 3 to 4 drives of capacity > 2T and <= 2.5T
  • 3 drives of capacity > 2.5T and <= 3T

RAID6
Both SATA and SAS drives support the following configurations:
  • 4 to 8 drives
  • Total storage size does not exceed 8T 
Use the following examples when configuring RAID6:
  • 3T disks:
    4 x 3T = 6T
  • 2T disks:
    6 x 2T = 8T
    5 x 2T = 6T
    4 x 2T = 4T
RAID10
Both SATA and SAS drives support the following configurations:
  • 4 to 8 drives
  • Total storage size does not exceed 8T 
Use the following examples when configuring RAID10:
  • 3T disks:
    4 x 3T = 6T
  • 2T disks:
    8 x 2T = 8T
    6 x 2T = 6T
    4 x 2T = 4T
  • 1T disks:
    8 x 1T = 4T
RAID0
Not supported
JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks)
Not supported

Known Issues

The known issues in this vSphere Storage Appliance release are grouped as follows:

Installation

  • New vSphere Storage Appliance Manager installation requires local administrator rights
    To install vSphere Storage Appliance Manager, you must log in to the Windows server as a local administrator. Other users, such as local users or domain users with local administrator privileges, do not have appropriate permissions to perform installation. This limitation is due to User Access Control (UAC) settings in Windows Vista, Server 2008, and later.
    Workaround:
    • Install VSA Manager as a Windows "Administrator" user.
    • To install as another user, local or domain, log into vCenter Server and assign administrative privileges to the specified user. The user can then install VSA manager.
  • You cannot enable the VSA Manager plug-in on a vCenter Server system that has more than one NIC or IP address configured
    If your vCenter Server system has more than one NIC or IP address configured, and you install VSA Manager, you cannot enable the VSA Manager plug-in in the vSphere Client.
    Workaround: For more information about resolving this issue, see KB 2004839.

Interoperability with vSphere

  • VSA cluster does not support memory overcommitment
    Virtual machines might stop working if their allocated memory exceeds the physical memory of the ESXi host. For example, if each ESXi host in the VSA cluster has 24GB of memory, the total amount of memory allocated to all virtual machines running on a host must not exceed 24GB.
    Workaround: For more information about avoiding memory overcommitment in a VSA cluster, read VMware vSphere Storage Appliance Administration document.
  • Storage vMotion task of a virtual machine fails when a vSphere Storage Appliance recovers from failure
    If you use Storage vMotion to migrate a virtual machine while a vSphere Storage Appliance is recovering from a failure, the Storage vMotion process might fail. While the failed vSphere Storage Appliance is recovering, the migration process might become slow, and the vSphere Client might display the Timed out waiting for migration data error message.
    Workaround: After the vSphere Storage Appliance recovers from the failure, restart the Storage vMotion task.
  • vSphere Update Manager scan and remediation tasks fail on ESXi hosts that are part of a VSA cluster
    When you perform scan and remediation tasks with vSphere Update Manager on ESXi hosts that are part of a VSA cluster, the tasks might fail.
    Workaround: Before you perform scan and remediation tasks, place the VSA cluster member in maintenance mode.
    1. In the VSA Manager tab, click Appliances.
    2. In the Host column, right-click the ESXi host for which you want to perform scan and remediation tasks and select Enter Appliance Maintenance Mode.
    3. In the confirmation dialog box, click Yes.
      The status of the VSA cluster member changes to Maintenance.
    4. In the Entering Maintenance Mode dialog box, click Close.
    5. Perform scan and remediation tasks on the ESXi host that accommodates the VSA virtual machine that is in maintenance mode.
    6. In the VSA Manager tab, click Appliances.
    7. Right-click the VSA cluster member that is in maintenance mode and select Exit Appliance Maintenance Mode.
    8. In the Exiting Maintenance Mode dialog box, click Close
    9. Repeat the steps for each ESXi host for which you want to perform stage and remediation tasks.

Performance

  • I/O throughput to VSA datastores is slower when virtual machines perform disk writes whose sizes are not multiples of 4KB or are not aligned on a 4KB boundary
    If an application is configured to perform disk writes that are not multiples of 4KB or are not aligned on a 4KB boundary, the I/O throughput on the VSA datastore that contains the virtual disks is affected by the need to read the contents of the data blocks before writing them to the VSA datastore.
    Workaround: To avoid the issue, make sure that your configuration meets the following conditions:
    1. Disk partitions of the virtual machine start on a 4KB boundary
    2. Applications that are either bypassing a file system or writing directly to files are issuing I/O that is both aligned and sized to 4KB multiples
  • If a VSA cluster member fails in a 3-member VSA cluster, you can perform only up to two Storage vMotion tasks
    If one of the VSA cluster members fails in a 3-member VSA cluster, you cannot perform more than two Storage vMotion tasks between the VSA datastores. If you run three simultaneous Storage vMotion tasks, one of the tasks might time out.
    Workaround: Do not run more than two Storage vMotion tasks in a VSA cluster.

Maintenance

  • Rebooting a VSA virtual machine three times in a period of 15 minutes causes the VSA virtual machine to enter maintenance mode
    If you reboot a VSA virtual machine three times in a period of 15 minutes, it enters maintenance mode. This is expected behavior.
    Workaround: Make the VSA virtual machine exit maintenance mode
    1. In the VSA Manager tab, select the VSAs button.
    2. Right-click the VSA virtual machine that is in maintenance mode and select Exit Maintenance Mode.
      The VSA virtual machine powers on and exits maintenance mode.
    Avoid restarting the VSA virtual machine more than three times in a period of 15 minutes.
  • Replacement VSA cluster member fails to power on in a 2-member VSA cluster
    When you replace a VSA cluster member in a 2-member VSA cluster with 6GB memory per ESXi host, the replaced VSA virtual machine might fail to power on due to default HA admission control settings for 2-member VSA cluster. To perform virtual machine power-on operations, HA admission control reserves 50% of the VSA cluster CPU and memory resources by default. Because the remaining resources might be insufficient to power on the new VSA virtual machine, the power-on operation fails.
    Workaround: Temporarily change the HA admission control settings and restart the Replace VSA Cluster Member wizard.
    1. In the vCenter Server inventory, right-click the VSA HA cluster object and select Edit Settings.
    2. Select vSphere HA from the list.
    3. Under the Admission Control Policy section, change the CPU and Memory percentage from 50% to 25% and click OK.
    4. Replace the failed VSA cluster member with the Replace VSA Cluster Member wizard.
    5. When the replacement task completes, change the CPU and Memory reservations settings back to 50%.
  • Reconfigure VSA Cluster Network wizard does not check for IP address conflicts in the back-end network
    When you perform network reconfiguration of the VSA cluster with the Reconfigure VSA Cluster Network wizard, the wizard does not check for IP address conflicts in the back-end network. The VSA cluster back-end network uses IP addresses in the 192.168.x.x subnet.
    Workaround: No workaround is available. You should ensure that the addresses you assign to the back-end network are not used by other hosts or devices.
  • VSA cluster member status changes to Offline when you place it in maintenance mode
    If you place a VSA cluster member in maintenance mode, the VSA virtual machine powers off and the VSA cluster member might appear in an Offline state in the VSA Manager tab instead of Maintenance.
    Workaround: Manually power on the VSA virtual machine that powered off and the VSA cluster member state changes to Maintenance.

Documentation

  • VSA Manager Online Help contains a topic that describes removed functionality
    In the vSphere Client, you open the VSA Manager Online Help by selecting Help > VSA Manager Help. The topic Change the VSA Cluster IP Address provides information about changing the VSA cluster IP address from the Properties dialog box. This dialog box and functionality do not exist in VSA Manager 1.0, and the Help topic content is incorrect.
    Workaround: You cannot delete the topic from the help. If you want to change the VSA cluster IP address, you can use the Reconfigure VSA Cluster Network wizard.