Reposting an update to NexentaStor version 3.14, with credit to @MattVogt

Nexenta VAAI-NAS Beta Released

Posted on April 3, 2013

Along with the release of NexentaStor 3.1.4, Nexenta Systems today officially released the (very) Beta VAAI-NAS plugin for VMware vSphere 5.x via the community NexentaStor.org forums. VAAI-NAS is still not widely supported in the NAS world, and of those that do, not all support all the primitives.  You can search the VMware Compatibility Guide for vendors that are VAAI-NAS certified.

VAAI, to catch up, is the the suite of primitives (instructions) that allow vSphere to offload certain VM operations to the array. For NAS Hardware Acceleration, these are:

  • Full File Clone – Enables virtual disks to be cloned by the NAS device (but not ‘hot’, the VM must be powered off).
  • Native Snapshot Support – Allows creation of virtual machine snapshots to be offloaded to the array.
  • Extended Statistics – Shows actual space usage on NAS datastores (great for thin provisioning).
  • Reserve Space – Enables creation of thick virtual disk files on NAS.

Everything you wanted to know about VAAI (but were afraid to ask)
http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/techpaper/VMware-vSphere-Storage-API-Array-Integration.pdf

At this point, all primitives are working (or supposed to, it’s beta, right?) save for the Native Snapshots.

Here’s a quick tutorial to install the agent in NexentaStor and the plugin in VMware Vsphere.

 

** IMPORTANT NOTE **
This is in no way supported in a production environment. Installation/configuration requires use of the command line which is NOT supported on production systems under a support contract and in fact may void your support contract. Basically, if you do put it into production and get caught, you may not reference this post. :) Also, this is beta, it may delete all the things, so don’t put into production. Also, don’t put into production.

Repeat after me: “Even if the product blows my mind and saves me 500 hours a week, I <name> will not put this in production for fear of my life and data.”

As you can see, Hardware Acceleration is currently not supported on my NFS Datastore.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.20.55 PM

  1. Download and extract the contents of the zip file
    http://downloads.nexenta.com/cdn/beta/VAAI-NAS/nas_vaai_installer_1.0-128.zip
  2. Run the NASVAAIInstaller.exe
  3. Choose ‘Install Nexenta NAS VAAI agent and plugin
    Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.24.07 PM
  4. Enter the hostname or IP of the NexentaStor host and the root credentials and click Next
    1. The operational log should tell you if the installation was successful or not
      Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.25.12 PMScreen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.25.49 PM
  5. Click Next
  6. Enter the root credentials for the ESX host you want to install the plugin. This performs the following:
    1. Sets the VIB acceptance level
    2. Checks for currently installed plugin (and upgrades it if it exists)
    3. Installs the plugin and prompts for a host reboot
      Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.45.18 PM Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 3.25.49 PM
  7. ????
  8. Profit

Well, maybe not yet. While the agent is installed on the Nexenta host and the plugin installed on ESX, you still have to start the agent by hand. This would normally have to be done every time the Nexenta host boots, but we’re going to create a startup rc3 link.

  1. SSH into your Nexenta host as root, set the ‘expert mode’ option and drop to the shell.
    option expert_mode=1
     
    !bash
     
    You are about to enter the Unix ("raw") shell and execute low-level Unix command(s). Warning: using low-level Unix commands is not recommended! Execute? Yes
     
    root@ns1:/volumes#
  2. Rename the start up script (having an extension in the sym link doesn’t seem to work)
    mv /etc/init.d/nasvaaisrv.sh /etc/init.d/nasvaaisrv
  3. Create a link in the rc3.d directory to the start script
    ln -s /etc/init.d/nasvaaisrv /etc/rc3.d/S99nasvaaisrv
  4. Start the agent (will start on subsequent boots)
    /etc/init.d/nasvaaisrv start
    Starting NAS VAAI Agent Server
    Service started successfully.

The VAAI-NAS agent is now installed and started and the plugin is installed on your ESX host.

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 4.19.51 PM

As you can see, Thick Provisioning is now available on this NFS datastore (utilizing the Reserve Space primitive)
Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 4.43.31 PM

We’re taking feedback on the plugin in this forum:
http://nexentastor.org/boards/13/topics/9315

So please, install it, use it, break it, suggest improvements (already submitted to Engineering to allow ad hoc and multiple vSphere host installation)

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