Storage Informer
Storage Informer

vSphere 4.1 – Cross-EMC support – what’ s the good/bad/ugly?

by on Jul.13, 2010, under Storage

vSphere 4.1 – Cross-EMC support – what’s the good/bad/ugly?

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Whenever there is a major VMware release, a common question from EMCers, EMC customers, and EMC partners is: “what is supported day one, and what will break if I upgrade?”

Any vendor who tells you “nothing will break” is either:

  1. lying (lying maliciously)
  2. delusional (lying, but unintentionally) – if you’re a competitor that piles on to this post, remember I have most competitor’s products myself, and I’ll call you on it :-)
  3. a one-product company

As soon as you have a broad portfolio – getting everything to line up is impossible.  As we near major VMware releases, as the “face for VMware inside EMC”, I rally across the product teams to make sure we’re aligning.   We all work hard, and push as much as possible – but inevitably there are little time gaps.    They are all on eLab and the VMware HCL – but I’ve found it’s useful to have it integrated in one place. 

So – I’m taking the high road here and being as explicit as possible – even with gaps.  

Read on for details, but in a nutshell – core storage support is a rock on day one, and almost everything else lands within Q3, with some Q4 stragglers.

BTW – also getting the inevitable “can I get a Vblock with vSphere 4.1?”.  That one is a firm NO right now.   Remember – the core idea of a Vblock is that it’s all integrated and tested so you don’t need to.   That means that by definition it will always lag any given component a little bit – and that’s a GOOD thing.   Of course, expect an update soon :-)

Remember everyone – always test before putting anything into production!!!!

Read on for details…

  • Storage:
  • Platforms = YES.  Day 1 support is perfect – and you can see it here.   Every EMC storage platform target (Iomega, CLARiiON, EMC Unified/Celerra, Symmetrix and VPLEX) is on the VMware HCL day one across all protocols.  This was a chunk of work – so thank you from me to the VMware and EMC teams that made that happen.
  • VAAI support:   VAAI support doesn’t come from a “plugin”, it is a function of the array target’s responses to SCSI commands, so in other words, it’s a firmware/array software thing.   EMC’s committed VAAI support is right around the corner on the CLARiiON CX4, EMC Unified in the FLARE 30 update, and in Q4 on EMC VMAX in the Enginuity 5875 update.  You can read more about that here
  • PowerPath/VE = YES.   There are some caveats here – PowerPath/VE 5.4.1 (GA today) works – but management and updates via VUM were broken (you fall back to CLI based updates/management).  Also, vSphere 4.1 ESX completed it’s certification testing, but ESXi did not in time.  RPQs are being accepted on ESXi.   PowerPath/VE 5.4.2 (which lifts all caveats listed earlier) is Q3.
  • EMC Replication Manager = NO.   Replication Manager will support vSphere 4.1 in Q3.
  • vCenter Plugins
    • EMC Virtual Storage Integrator = NO.   EMC Virtual Storage Integrator (currently at v3.0) supports vSphere 4 (including update 2).  The next release (v3.0.1) which along with vSphere 4.1 support also includes support for various other new things is targeted for the end of July, so very close.   v3.1 targeted for Q4 has LOTS of goodies (I can’t wait!!)
    • EMC NFS Plugin = NO.  The next release which along with vSphere 4.1 support also includes merges block storage management for a Unified platform plugin (see below) and various other goodies.  It’s scheduled for the end of Q3.
    • EMC CLARiiON Plugin = NO.   The next version of the plugin is folded into a Unified platform plugin (see above)
  • Backup
    • Data Domain = YES.   Data Domain is an easy yes, as it’s independent from VMware from an interop standpoint.
    • Avamar = NO.   Getting the final status on this, and will provide an update.
    • NetWorker = NO.   NetWorker 7.6 SP2 – is where NetWorker gains integration with VADP, and is supported with vSphere 4.1.  Target is Q4.
  • RSA
    • Envision = NO – support arrives in Q3
    • SecureID = NO – support arrives in Q3
    • DLP = YES – no vSphere dependency

    Thanks – if there’s something you’re curious about, comment, and I’ll work to get the answer!

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