Saturday, August 7, 2010

One Step Provisioning

When I managed an enterprise storage team one of the pain points I had to deal with was my organization's desire (for many reason) for separation of duties. Simply put my storage team and contractors weren't given access to operating systems to complete storage provisioning tasks - they basically stopped at the HBA. Some of it had to do with audit controls but there were also lines of responsibility that made server managers reluctant to allow anyone outside their team to have administrative credentials.

As you can imagine this added time and complexity to the relatively simple task of fully provisioning a new volume on a Windows or VMware ESX server.

So, I was pretty delighted to see Compellent introduce VMware integration into Enterprise Manager version 5 which allows a storage administrator to not only carve out storage and map/mask LUNs (or volumes in Compellent's world) to ESX servers but to then have the related storage tasks in vCenter performed as well. With one activity and one administrator storage is provisioned, mounted, formatted and available for use.  I can also configure and kick off replication (Remote Instant Replay) and snapshots (Data Instant Replay) if required at provisioning time.

By the way, this same functionality is available for MS Windows servers which are running Server Agent.

Here's a screen shot of the volume creation dialog from within Enterprise Manager you'll see when selecting an ESX server or cluster as the target for a new volume (that's right, I can create a volume and assign it to multiple nodes simultaneously).

When I click OK, Enterprise Manager will coordinate and issue commands to Storage Center for volume creation, mapping and replication, then the appropriate administrative steps will be taken with VMware to rescan for the new storage, create the new data store and present it to the ESX server or cluster.

I can also select a guest and perform soup to nuts RDM provisioning as well (again, including replication).

Super easy.  Here's a shot of the volume creation dialog with a Windows server as the target.  Note that I can assign a drive letter if needed or set up as a mount point.

If you're managing Compellent Storage Center and not using Enterprise Manager for day-to-day administration you may want to reconsider.  With version 5.3 there's really not much you can't do from Enterprise Manager and the additional benefit of one step provisioning may make your life a little simpler.


  1. hooray for VAAI and CML! nice post John, good stuff Compellent.

  2. Thanks - just to be clear, this feature set is not tied to VAAI. However, Compellent is working on VAAI integration and as soon as I can communicate a delivery date on that I will.