Industry trends indicate that data center transformation is occurring towards a hybrid cloud infrastructure with on-premises shared infrastructure, cloud computing, and the connectivity enabled by data fabric powered by NetApp to seamlessly provide data where it is needed. In addition, organizations seek a simple, reliable, and scalable VMware solution infrastructure for remote and branch offices.
In this blog, I will provide an overview of the three-tier solution architecture design and the FlexPod ® Express NetApp Verified Architecture, which implements a resilient three-tier VMware solution with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp ® AFF or FAS systems.
For a VMware solution to deliver the outcomes that companies depend on, it should be simple to design, deploy, maintain, and also flexible to scale and grow. Figure 1 shows a three-tier solution architecture with resiliency built into the design, including three servers, two network switches, and one highly available storage that supports NAS and SAN protocols.
Figure 1) A resilient three-tier solution architecture.
With this design, workloads can be balanced among the compute servers and compute resources can be scaled by adding additional servers or additional memories in each server. The workload and virtual machines can be live migrated off a server for server maintenance or upgrade purposes.
The networking tier includes two switches to provide redundant connectivity between the servers and the storage system.
The storage tier should meet the performance, capacity, and cost objectives, and provide the storage protocol the solution requires, such as NFS for NAS and iSCSI for SAN.
The redundant components and connectivity in the design ensures high availability for various single-point-of-failure scenarios and allows the component and software upgrade to take place without impacting the availability of the solution.
Figure 2 shows how the FlexPod Express for VMware vSphere 7.0 solution architecture implements the three-tier architecture that we discussed. It includes a Cisco UCS Mini for compute, a NetApp AFF C190, AFF A220, or FAS 2700 series storage system, and two Cisco Nexus 3000 series switches with redundant connectivity between the component tiers.
Figure 2) FlexPod Express solution architecture with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp AFF/FAS.
The Cisco UCS 6324 Fabric Interconnects embedded in chassis simplify the connectivity between the servers, switches, and the storage system. You can start with a small solution configuration using just three blade servers. Additional blades can be added into the chassis to grow the solution without requiring any additional cables. You can boot a server from its local SD card or from the iSCSI SAN.
You can choose the NetApp storage system that best meets your solution requirements and future growth projections. For a small solution, you can deploy the AFF C190 with only eight SSDs to start. You can use AFF A220 if higher storage capacity or higher I/O performance is required. If minimizing cost is your objective, you can use the FAS 2700 series storage systems.
With the NetApp ONTAP ® storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, deduplication, compression, and compaction, your data is very efficiently stored in the system. When your data grows, you can add additional disks or disk shelves for more capacity. In addition, you can take advantage of the NetApp FabricPool technology to tier infrequently accessed cold data to the public cloud or to the on-premises object storage using the S3 protocols.
Finally, if you already have an existing networking infrastructure with switches that meets the compliant switches requirements, you can build your solution with those switches and the Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp storage to reduce costs.
There are three important benefits the solution provides:
A highly flexible architecture with choices of components to meet the performance, capacity, and cost objectives of your VMware solution.
A highly available solution design with multiprotocol support, 3x storage efficiency guarantee for mixed workload, and cloud connected data fabric, making the solution simple to deploy, maintain, and easy to scale and grow.
A highly reliable infrastructure with tier-1 enterprise HW from NetApp and Cisco backed by a cooperative support model.
In summary, customers can count on NetApp, Cisco, and the FlexPod Express for VMware vSphere with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp AFF and FAS solution to deliver a highly available, highly flexible, and highly scalable converged infrastructure. This solution will simplify your VMware solution design, deployment, and growth.
FlexPod Express for VMware vSphere 7.0 with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp AFF/FAS NVA Design Guide https://www.netapp.com/pdf.html?item=/media/22621-nva-1154-DESIGN.pdf
FlexPod Express for VMware vSphere 7.0 with Cisco UCS Mini and NetApp AFF/FAS NVA Deployment Guide https://www.netapp.com/pdf.html?item=/media/21938-nva-1154-DEPLOY.pdf
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The most awaited NetApp ONTAP Connector with Cisco Intersight Technical Preview is out and comes with exciting new approach to manage your FlexPod from a single pane of view.
Cisco Intersight is the Cloud based system management as a service that really allows IT to operate at scale at speed beyond human limitations. Cisco Intersight capabilities include Intuitive experience, enhanced support, proactive guidance, secure and extensible SaaS. Through Device Connector Technology Cisco Intersight extends these capabilities to third party devices. VMWare Integrations are already available in Cisco Intersight using this technology. NetApp ONTAP connector is integrated with Cisco Intersight Assist, to extend these capabilities for NetApp ONTAP storage environment.
The architecture of the Integration starts with the instance of Active IQ Unified Manager deployed in your datacenter to manage one or more ONTAP Clusters. Cisco Intersight assist with NetApp ONTAP Connector is deployed as a virtual appliance on-premises. This ONTAP Connector acts as your onsite data collector to transmit data to the cloud. The ONTAP connector is really mapping the Intersight APIs to that of AIQ UM and your ONTAP storage by following NetApp’s latest REST API standards and object representations. So once your storage data is up there with Intersight, UI-SDK (built for NetApp Storage Inventory) enables you to get full access to the key attributes of the NetApp storage from Intersight Inventory view.
This collaboration with Cisco is really looking to make sure that we grow the ONTAP storage support with Cisco Intersight but do that in a way that is complementary to NetApp storage Management tools that you would traditionally have in your environment with NetApp and make sure that in doing so we are well represented into the Intersight eco-system.
Here is a link to the video to can help you Get started with the Tech Preview of NetApp ONTAP Storage for Cisco Intersight.
Minimum Tech Preview Hardware & software Requirement
Monitoring NetApp Storage from Cisco Intersight
Orchestrate workflows across physical compute, storage and virtualization environment.
Standalone (without Fabric Interconnect)
C-Series M5 claimed in Intersight
Cisco IMC Software 3.1 and later
Standalone (without Fabric Interconnect)
C-Series M4 claimed in Intersight
Cisco IMC Software 3.0(4) and later
Nexus 9.3(5), MDS 8.4(1a)
AFF A400, A800, A700, A700s, A300, A220, C190
FAS 9000, 8700, 8300, 8200, 2700
AIQ Unified Manager
9.8 (Will be available by Tech Preview start)
Lab Configuration minimum requirements
Minimum Intersight Tech Preview Configuration
Lab Topology Examples
This example shows an option where one or more C220 servers are connected to Nexus 93180YC-FX switches with a converged (IP and FCoE) connection. A C220 M5 would contain either the VIC 1455 or 1457 at 10 or 25 Gbps. A C220 M4 would contain a VIC 1225 at 10 Gbps. The Nexus 93180YC-FX is used for both FC SAN and LAN switching. If the fully redundant configuration with vPC is used only one link to each switch (2 of the 4 ports on the VIC 1455/57) can be used since the links are carrying FCoE. Since the VIC FCoE is setup in the Cisco IMC on the server, initiator WWPNs could be queried programmatically in this configuration. Since this is a Tech Preview, it would be acceptable to use only one switch and one storage controller.
This example is similar to the one in the previous slide, except instead of using FCoE from the VIC, a third-party FC card from Emulex or Qlogic (listed as supported in the C220 Spec Sheets) is used to connect the FC to the 93180YC-FX which is again used for both SAN and LAN switching. Since this is a Tech Preview, it would be acceptable to use only one switch and one storage controller.
In this example, an MDS switch is used for the FC switching. Because of this any Nexus switch that supports 10 or 25 Gbps interfaces can be used for the LAN switching. Again, since this is a Tech Preview, it would be acceptable to use only one switch and one storage controller.
Claim NetApp ONTAP Storage from Cisco Intersight
Here is a link to video that demo's the claim process.
Start with using your existing NetApp Active IQ Unified manager 9.8 instance and connect to Cisco Intersight.
Note: Ensure that API Gateway is enabled in Active IQ Unified Manager (Settings / General / Feature Settings)
Step 1: License tier Check.
A minimum of Advantage tier license is required to enable monitoring of the NetApp storage object via widget and from Storage inventory.
Premium tier licensee is required to orchestrate workflows across physical compute, storage and virtual environment.
Step 2: Claim the AIQ UM device
In Admin TAB Select Targets-> Claim a New Target
Select Storage -> NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager and Click Start
Enter the HostName/IP for the device
Enter the user credentials and click Claim
Ensure that the storage device status is connected.
Tech Preview Feature Introduction
The primary features introduced in this release of NetApp ONTAP Storage Integration with Cisco Intersight are monitoring of NetApp Storage Inventory and perform workflow Orchestration for NetApp ONTAP storage from Cisco Intersight via NetApp AIQUM device, which is claimed by Cisco Intersight.
Support for SAN and NAS storage protocols
Supports SAN (FC, ISCSI) and NAS(NFS) Protocols, Meaning Both SAN and NAS objects can be now monitored and managed from Cisco Intersight.
Monitoring ONTAP Storage
Here is a link to video that demo's the Monitoring of NetApp ONTAP Storage from Cisco Intersight.
ONTAP Storage can be monitored from Cisco Intersight from the Dashboard widgets or Storage inventory tab.
Three Storage widgets are available in this release to monitor the
Storage Version Summary
Top 5 Arrays by Utilization
Top Volumes by Utilization
Storage Version Summary: View the ONTAP Model and version summary of all the ONTAP storage arrays connected via the Active IQ Unified Manager
Top 5 Arrays by Utilization: List of the top 5 ONTAP Storage Arrays based on utilization
Top 5 Volumes by Utilization: List of the top 5 ONTAP Storage Volumes across all the ONTAP Clusters in the storage inventory listed based on Utilization.
NetApp ONTAP Storage Inventory
ONTAP Storage Inventory presents a general view and an Inventory view. NetApp Storage objects in the inventory view are listed in two Sections
Physical Ports (Ethernet and Fiber Channel)
Storage Virtual Machine
SAN Initiator Groups
Storage Inventory General View
Below is a link to demo Orchestration of NetApp ONTAP Storage Workflows from Cisco Intersight
Cisco Intersight enables Orchestration of workflows across the physical Compute, Storage and Virtualization environments. Reference workflows are available out of box for you to orchestrate NetApp Storage objects workflows and Storage workflows for VMware VMFS and NFS datastores.
The New, Update and Remove Hypervisor Datastore workflows combine Storage and Virtualization tasks and enable you to create, expand and delete both VMFS and NFS datastores
The New, Remove and Update Storage Host workflows enable you to manage SAN Initiator groups
The New and remove export Policy workflows enable you to manage Export Policies required NFS
The New Storage Virtual Machine workflows enables you to create SVM, enable FC, ISCSI and NFS services and gives you an option to create a SVM Management LIF.
The New Storage Logical Interfaces workflows enable you to create either or both IP and FC logical interfaces for your SVM.
Using the vSphere OVF deploy workflow you can deploy a Virtual Machine using an OVF template on NetApp Storage configured as NFS or VMFS datastore.
New HyperVisor DataStore
1. Create New Storage LUN or Volume. 2 Connect Storage to Host. 3. Create NFS and VMFS DataStore
Update HyperVisor DataStore
1. Get Hypervisor Datastore 2. Find Storage LUN/Volume by ID 3. Expand Storage 4. Expand Hypervisor Datastore
Remove HyperVisor DataStore
1. Remove a VMFS DataStore 2. Find Storage by ID 3. Disconnect LUN from StorageHost
New Storage VM
1. Create New SVM and services
New Logical Interfaces
1. Create New IP Interfaces 2. Create New FC Interfaces
New Storage Host
1. Add new Storage host. 2. Add WWNs or IQNs
Upgrade Storage Host
Disconnect or Connect WWNs or IQNs
Remove Storge Host
1. Remove WWNs or IQNs 2. Remove Storage host
New Export Policy
1. New Storage Export Policy. 2. Add Export Policy to Volume
Remove Export Policy
1. Remove Export Policy
Create VM from OVF on Hypervisor datastore
1. Create New VM on a NFS or VMFS datastore.
20 NetApp ONTAP Storage Tasks are available in the Cisco Intersight storage Library. Storage Administrators can use these tasks and build custom-defined workflows as per your operational needs
NetApp Storage Management Tasks Implemented from Cisco Intersight
Add Storage Export Policy to Volume
Add an export policy to a volume with Storage Virtual Machine name, Volume name, Export Policy name as the inputs. On successful execution Volume name and Export policy added are generated as outputs.
Connect Initiators to Storage Host
Connect a WWN or IQN list to storage host or iGroup. Inputs are host or iGroup name and list of WWNs or IQNs. Outputs generated are host/iGroup name created, IQN or WWN list associated with the host or iGroup. Task can be used with either WWNs or IQNs. For non-NetApp ONTAP Storage devices if both inputs are given then WWNs are given priority and added.
Expand Storage LUN
Expand a storage LUN with LUN path, Storage Virtual Machine name and LUN size as the inputs. On successful execution path and size of the expanded LUN are generated as outputs.
Expand Storage Volume
Expand a volume with volume name and size as inputs. On successful execution, volume name and size are generated as outputs.
Find NetApp IGroup LUN Map
Find if an Initiator Group is mapped to a LUN with give initiator Group name, Storage Virtual Machine name as the inputs. If initiator Group is mapped to any LUNs then initiator Group name and list of LUN names are generated as outputs, else task will fail with an error "No LUN mapped to the Initiator Group".
New Storage Export Policy
Create a storage export policy with storage virtual machine name, export policy name, Client Match List, Superuser Security Type, list of protocols, list of Read Only export policy rules, list of Read Write export policy rules as the inputs. On successful execution name of the export policy created is generated as output.
New Storage Fibre Channel Interface
Create a FC interface with interface name, Storage Virtual Machine name, Data Protocol and location properties as the inputs. On successful execution Interface Name, WWNN, WWPN are generated as outputs.
New Storage Host
Create a storage host or iGroup with host or iGroup name and list of WWNs and IQNs to be associated with it as input. Outputs are host or iGroup name, and associated IQN or WWN list. NOTE: iGroup is referred as Host for input.
New Storage IP Interface
Create a storage IP interface with IP interface name, interface IP address, interface netmask, ipspace name, storage virtual machine name and location properties as the inputs. On successful execution interface name, interface IP address, interface netmask is generated as outputs.
New Storage LUN
Create a storage LUN with inputs as LUN name, Volume name, Operating System name, Storage Virtual Machine name, size of LUN. On successful execution LUN path, NAAID and LUN capacity are generated as outputs
New Storage LUN ID
For NetApp ONTAP Storage: Connect storage LUN to a iGroup with Inputs as LUN name and iGroup name. On successful execution iGroup name, LUN name and LUN number are generated as outputs. NOTE: iGroup is referred as Host for input. Other Storage devices: Connect storage volume to a host with volume name, host name and LUN number as inputs. On successful execution, host name, volume name and LUN number allocated to connection are generated as outputs.
New Storage Virtual Machine
Create a Storage Virtual Machine with Storage Virtual Machine name and list of protocols to be enabled as inputs. optional parameters for the Management interface include Interface name, Interface IP address, Interface Netmask, Broadcast Domain, location Node name as the inputs. On successful execution Storage Virtual Machine name, Storage Virtual Machine root Volume name, Management IP address, Protocols enabled are generated as outputs.
New Storage Volume
Create a storage volume with volume name and volume size as inputs. Generates the volume name and volume size as outputs.
Remove Storage Export Policy
Remove a storage export policy with export policy name and storage virtual machine name as the inputs. On successful execution name of the export policy removed is generated as output.
Remove Storage Host
Remove a storage host or iGroup with host or iGroup name as input. On successful execution, the host or iGroup name deleted is generated as output. NOTE: iGroup is referred as Host for input.
Remove Storage LUN
Remove a LUN with LUN path and storage virtual machine name as the inputs. On successful execution the path for the LUN removed is generated as output.
Remove Storage LUN ID
For NetApp ONTAP Storage: Disconnect Storage LUN from a iGroup with LUN name and iGroup name as inputs. On Successful execution iGroup name and the LUN Path are generated as outputs. NOTE: iGroup is referred as Host for input. Other Storage devices: Disconnect storage Volume from a storage Host with Volume name and Host name as inputs. On successful execution, host name and volume name are generated as outputs.
Remove Storage Volume
Remove Storage Volume with Volume name as input. On Successful execution, the deleted Volume and Snapshot name is generated as output For NetApp ONTAP storage only deleted Volume name will be listed.
Use Case 1: View the NetApp Storage Inventory and Widgets after setup
Deploy Intersight Assist OVA (OnPrem task in customer vCenter Environment)
Add NetApp AIQ UM devices in Intersight Assist
Navigate the NetApp Storage Inventory
Add Widgets for Storage on Monitor Dashboard
Use Case 2: NetApp Storage orchestration to setup Storage Virtual Machines/ logical Interfaces/ Volume/ LUN / Host or iGroup / Export policy
Add vCenter target to Intersight via Intersight Assist (OVA deployed in Use Case 1 above)
Create storage SVM/ IP or FC Interfaces/ export policy/ Host(iGroup)/ Volume/ LUN on NetApp Storage
Add host to vCenter cluster and scan for Datastore in vCenter
Use Case 3: Workflow Designer Free Form
With NetApp Storage Added + vCenter environment you can custom build workflows using the tasks provided in the workflow designer. Navigate to the Orchestration tab in Intersight and select Create New Workflow.
To benefit from all these features in Cisco Intersight, claim your existing NetApp Active IQ Unified manager 9.8 instance and connect to Cisco Intersight.
John George |TME | Cisco : Helping with the Lab topologies.
Sree is a Senior Solutions Architect at NetApp. She has more than 12 years of experience in data center infrastructure solutions, both in traditional and in hybrid/public cloud space. She collaborates with Marketing, Product management and engineering teams to develop and deliver technical marketing product material, which includes Reference Architectures, technical Report, presentations, blogs, demo videos and white papers. This material is aimed at educating customers, partners or sales team. She has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and an artist in the field of Kuchipudi dance, an Indian classical dance form from Andhra Pradesh. She enjoys organic gardening, hiking and running.
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