This post was edited/updated on April 5, 2015.
Table of Contents
In this article, we will cover the deployment of the current StoreVirtual VSA release (LeftHand OS11) including the Centralized Management Console (CMC). A second blog post will cover the management group cluster configuration, and a third blog post will cover Hyper-V Cluster configuration using Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2. The three posts are focused on LeftHand OS11 and Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2.
HPE Software-Defined Storage Overview
HPE brought Software-Defined Storage as a bundle with StoreVirtual VSA (Virtual Storage Appliance) with every purchase of a new ProLiant Gen8 Server. The new offer, announced Last November 2013, is available with 10 models of ProLiant and includes a 1TB free entitlement license. The license can be combined on up to 3 nodes for a total capacity of 3TB of total storage in a free software SAN.
[Example of software-defined storage on HPE ProLiant servers with the StoreVirtual VSA – Source HPE]
The new offer is awesome for small and medium office deployments where typically only a few Hyper-V servers are deployed. HP VSA completely eliminates any need for an expensive SAN or NAS or other physical shared storage. 100% less hardware, so CapEx is reduced because there’s no need to buy expensive hardware, and OpEx is lowered because there’s less hardware to maintain.
If you want more than 1TB capacity which is the case in production, you can upgrade to a retail copy of StoreVirtual VSA, and the licensing scheme starts @ 4,10, 20, 30, 40, and 50TB for 3 nodes each and includes 3 years of support.
HP StoreVirtual application integrated very well with Microsoft Hyper-V such as HP Insight Control for Microsoft System Center, HP Management Pack for SCOM, VSS provider and requestor functions, LeftHand DSM for MPIO, Application-Aware Snapshot Manager, Recovery Manager for Windows, Windows Active Directory, and SMI-S support for System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
Ok, so having this explained, let’s move now to the deployment process, but before we start the setup wizard, we have to think about the goals of our setup. There are some things, that we need to consider.
The deployment process can be divided into 3 steps:
Planning the installation
Preparation for StoreVirtual VSA:
Make sure to update all firmware and driver components, and consider installing all required Windows Server roles and features (Windows Failover Clustering, MPIO, etc.) before starting the deployment of StoreVirtual VSA.
The underlying hardware on each Hyper-V host should be similar when used in the same StoreVirtual VSA cluster for ideal performance. This is especially true for the storage and networking configuration.
The network is a key component in every HP StoreVirtual deployment. It is critical to the communication among storage nodes as well as for Hyper-V hosts accessing volumes via iSCSI. Therefore the network segment for StoreVirtual VSA should be isolated from other networks using a separate VLAN.
Hyper-V Host networking: We need a minimum of four network interfaces. On Hyper-V, the StoreVirtual VSA uses a virtual network switch (vSwitch), which is typically connected to two or more physical network interfaces on the server.
Let’s assume we have four NICs on the Hyper-V host, the recommended configuration is to dedicate two NICs to a vSwitch for StoreVirtual VSA. In addition, it can be shared by the host to access volumes via iSCSI, and by leveraging Hyper-V Converged Networks, the remaining two NICs on a second vSwitch are used for Virtual Machines traffic as well as for ManagementOS, Backup, Cluster, and Live Migration traffic.
[Expanded networking configuration for StoreVirtual VSA on Hyper-V – Source HPE]
As best practices, it is recommended to use individual network interfaces for Multipath I/O to connect to iSCSI targets instead of teaming network interfaces.
HP StoreVirtual DSM for MPIO can also be used to improve sequential throughput and lower latency when connecting to volumes on an HP StoreVirtual cluster. By establishing an iSCSI session for each StoreVirtual VSA in the cluster, blocks of data can be efficiently retrieved from the StoreVirtual VSAs where the block actually resides. The software can be installed on the Hyper-V host.
StoreVirtual VSA relies on hardware RAID to protect its data disks. It is strongly recommended to validate the storage configuration to be the same on all Hyper-V servers designated to run HP StoreVirtual VSA for optimal performance.
Adaptive Optimization: LeftHand OS 11.0 introduces simple and smart sub-volume auto-tiering with a technology called Adaptive Optimization in the StoreVirtual VSA. This concept is the same used in Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Tiered Spaces, It allows two types of storage tiers to be used in a single StoreVirtual VSA instance, moving more frequently accessed blocks to the faster storage tier (for instance SSDs), and keeping the less accessed blocks on a tier with lower performance and potentially lower cost (for example SAS drives), however, the Adaptive Optimization is only available for 10TB license and above.
The RAID sets used for the StoreVirtual VSA’s data disks should not be shared with other workloads. On a Hyper-V host, the base image of the StoreVirtual VSA is typically stored on the local boot device of the server along with the installation of Windows Server; alternatively, it can be stored on the lower performing tier when virtual hard disk files are used.
Storage capacity can be presented to the StoreVirtual VSA via Virtual Hard Disks (VHDX; up to 64 TB) or directly as pass-through Disks. Note that the StoreVirtual VSA’s OS image is a VHDX file which is typically stored on the slower storage tiers along with the StoreVirtual VSA’s data disks, but for the majority of deployments, Virtual Machine Disk (VHDX) files are typically used and easier to manage.
[Mapping storage resources to StoreVirtual VSA – Source HP
CPU & Memory Considerations:
CPU and memory resources have to be reserved. You should have at least two 2GHz cores reserved for each VSA node. The memory requirements depend on the virtualized storage capacity. For example, 1-4 TB, you should have 5GB RAM for each VSA node (Please refer to the table below for all VSA capacity with or without Adaptive Optimization):
[Virtual memory requirements for StoreVirtual VSA – Source HPE]
Meaningful hostnames facilitate management later using the Centralized Management Console (CMC). I named my HP VSA nodes in my Lab to HP-VSA01, HP-VSA02. Feel free to name your VSAs as you like.
Now assume that storage and network are configured on all Hyper-V hosts that should run the StoreVirtual VSA, the next step is to start the deployment of the software on each host. HP StoreVirtual VSA Installer and HP StoreVirtual DSM for MPIO help to install and configure the StoreVirtual VSA on the local server. This means that you need to run the installer on each Hyper-V host individually.
Deploying HP StoreVirtual DSM for MPIO:
Note: Installing the DSM for MPIO requires a server reboot to complete the installation.
The setup file (HP_StoreVirtual_DSM_for_Microsoft_MPIO_Installer_AT004-10511.exe) is self-extracting.
Please repeat the above steps on the second Hyper-V node as well.
Deploying HPE StoreVirtual VSA on Hyper-V
Note: Installing the StoreVirtual VSA on Hyper-V requires .NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0) to be installed before you start the deployment.
The setup file (HP_StoreVirtual_VSA_2014_Installer_for_Microsoft_Hyper-V_TA688-10517.exe) is self-extracting.
On the Welcome screen, click “Next”…
Accept the Agreement…
Select the Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) and click “Next”…
Choose the location for the HP VSA Virtual Machine configuration file and the virtual hard disks, as I mentioned above the base image of the StoreVirtual VSA is typically stored on the local boot device of the Hyper-V server along with the installation of Windows Server; alternatively, it can be stored on the lower performing tier when virtual hard disk files are used.
Now it’s time to give a name to the Host Name (in my case node 1), specify a static IP address, and then select a dedicated Hyper-V Virtual Switch for HP StoreVirtual VSA.
Now it’s time to give a name to the VM and create Virtual Hard Drives (VHDX) where the data will be stored.
You can create up to 7 VHDX, and based on the licensing scheme you can increase from 1TB to 50TB.
At the end of the wizard and before the actual installation is started, the installer presents a summary page of the settings. Please review this page carefully and compare it with your planning guides.
After a couple of minutes, the deployment is finished. Hit “Close”. Now it’s time to start the Centralized Management Console (CMC) deployment.
Let’s open the Hyper-V Manager console and check the settings of the StoreVirtual VSA VM.
Please repeat the above steps on the second Hyper-V node as well.
Deploying HPE StoreVirtual Centralized Management Console (CMC)
The setup file (HP_StoreVirtual_Centralized_Management_Console_for_Windows_BM480-10562.exe) is self-extracting.
The installation of the Centralized Management Console is straightforward…
After the successful deployment using the installation wizard, the StoreVirtual VSA instance will be available on the designated network. Make sure that the StoreVirtual VSA is listed as an available system in the HP StoreVirtual Centralized Management Console (CMC).
CMC will open and you can start discovering your VSA nodes.
For the latest information about the StoreVirtual VSA offer and how to take advantage, visit the HPE website at http://hp.com/go/FreeVSA.
Part II will cover the cluster configuration of the management group, and Part III will cover Hyper-V Cluster and SCVMM. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below:
Stay tuned… Until then, enjoy your day!