Recently, we had a request for informal demo of Hitachi Storage Connector for VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO Storage Connector) for an HDS partner. The last time I had used this software was back in October 2014 when we originally set it up to demo at VMworld. So I thought I had better brush up on it prior to this upcoming session. What I found out is that there isn't a lot of information out there on this plugin, which is too bad because I think this plugin has a lot of potential. By the end of this blog series, maybe you will agree too.
What is vCenter Orchestrator?
Simply put, VMware vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) is a free tool to automate tasks.
For example, take a common task like provisioning a virtual machine (VM) for a new employee. Not many things change between creating a new VM for employee #100 versus employ #1000. VMware’s Distributed Resource Scheduler and Storage Distributed Resource Scheduler automatically determines the appropriate host and datastore, respectively, for the new VM. This leaves very few variables to be manually entered, maybe the VM name for example.
So with vCO, a VMware administrator could create a workflow with the known variables already entered. In our example, this would include things like the VM template to deploy from, the guest customization profile, ESXi cluster to deploy to, and datastore cluster that will host the new VM. The workflow would also have fields for the unknown variables and the user will have to enter those at runtime. Once the workflow has been created, it would be very simple to generate a new VM. In fact, the goal is to make it so that a person without extensive VMware knowledge can perform the most common VMware operations at a company.
Where Does Hitachi Storage Connector Fit In?
vCO comes with many workflows. Just counting the ones that are related to vCenter Server, there are 211.
But of course none of them can interact with the HDS arrays or HNAS that are used as storage. This is where the Hitachi Storage Connector comes in. The vCO Storage Connector adds storage and HNAS related workflows. For example, they include provisioning new volumes, creating host groups, creating snapshots, provisioning file systems, creating NFS exports, and cloning virtual machines.
vCO Storage Connector in Details
The Storage Connector, as of version 1.0.0, supports all of HDS latest block and file products. This includes:
- HNAS 12.1
- VSP G1000
- HUS VM
As an added bonus, it communicates to these products using the Hitachi storage REST service so Hitachi Command Suite is not needed! Specifically, TCP/IP connectivity is required for the HNAS and HUS while SCSI connectivity is required for the VSP, VSP G1000, and HUS VM. Yes, that means Command Devices are required for the latter. I will discuss this in more details later.
For VMware, vCenter Orchestrator version 5.5 or later is required.
Install & Configuration
Let’s examine the deployment process. I am assuming that the reader’s environment already has the basics in place, e.g. functioning vCenter Server, ESXi hosts, HDS arrays and/or HNAS. These directions are also assuming that the reader has configured vCO to authenticate with an existing AD domain.
Finally, in this example, Storage Connector is installed on the same server with vCenter. However, this is not necessary. You can install it on a separate server.
- First, download the Storage Connector plugin from here: https://solutionexchange.vmware.com/store/products/hitachi-storage-connector-for-vcenter-orchestrator-vco.
- Copy the executable (Hitachi-vCOStorageConnector-setup(01.0.0)-(x64)-01.exe) to your vCenter Server and run it. The install process is simple so I won’t cover it here.
- If it isn’t running, start the service “VMware vCenter Orchestrator Configuration”. Log in to the vCO Configuration webpage (https://vcenter_ip:8283/). The default login is vmware/vmware.
- Go to Plug-ins.
- Under “Install new plug-in”, click the magnify button to browse.
- Browse to \Program Files\Hitachi\vCOStorageConnector\dist. Select the file “HiVCOPlugin.dar”.
- Click “Upload and install”.
- Now we need to restart vCO. Go to Startup Options.
- Click Restart service. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Log back in. Go to Plug-ins. There is now a new entry called “Hitachi Storage Connector…”
- On the left side, click “Hitachi Storage Connector…” If the Server IP and Server Port fields are empty, enter the IP address of the server where Storage Connector is installed. The default port number is 2022. Also, if you plan to use the HNAS V2I workflows and have V2I installed, enter its IP address here.
- On the left side, click vCenter Server > click SSL Certificates.
- Enter the IP address of your vCenter Server. Click Import. If a warning comes up, click Import again. Once imported, it should be displayed like below.
- Log in using the vCO client. If you don’t already have it installed, it is available on the vCenter Server DVD, under \vCenter-Server\vCO.
- Under the Workflows tab, there should be an Hitachi folder.
In the next blog, we will examine how to set up a Command Device, which is required in order to run the workflows for Enterprise arrays. We will also see some of the workflows in action. Until then!