A downside to VVols

I picked up a Dell Equallogic PS6000 for my homelab.  Updated it to the latest firmware and discovered it’s capable of VVols.  Yay!  I created a container and (eventually) migrated nearly everything to it.  Seriously, every VM except  Avamar VE.  Started creating and destroying VMs; DRS is happily moving VMs among the hosts.

UNTIL (dun dun dun)

The Equallogic VSM, running the VASA storage provider gets stuck during a vMotion.  Hmm, I notice that all of the powered-off VMs now have a status of “inaccessible”.  On the hosts, the VVol “datastore” is inaccessible.  

Ok, that’s bad.  Thank goodness for Cormac Hogan’s post about this issue.  It boils down to a chicken-and-egg problem.  vCenter relies on the VASA provider to supply information about the VVol.  If the VASA provider resides on the VVols, there’s no apparent way to recover it.  There’s no datastore to find the vmx and re-register, the connections to the VVols are based on the VM, so if it’s not running, there’s no connection to it.

To resolve, I had to create a new instance of the Equallogic VSM, re-register it with vCenter, re-register it as a VASA provider and add the Equallogic group.  Thankfully, the array itself is the source-of-truth for the VVol configuration, so the New VSM picked it up seamlessly.

So your options are apparently to place the VSM/VASA provider on a non-VVol or build a new one every time it shuts down.  Not cool.



Expanding a VMDK for OpenFiler

In my lab, I have an OpenFiler 2.99.1 VM running on the physical host providing storage via iSCSI to my virtual hosts.

Increasing the size of the VMDK used by the OpenFiler VM does not equate to more storage shared by the OpenFiler. I banged my head against the wall for a few hours figuring it out; here’s how I did it.

  1. Expand VMDK
  2. Download GParted Live CD
  3. Stop anything consuming storage provided by OpenFiler
  4. Shut Down OpenFiler VM
  5. Boot OpenFiler from GParted Live CD
  6. Create additional LVM2 PV in the unused storage
  7. Apply changes
  8. Unmount Gparted ISO, reboot OpenFiler
  9. In the OpenFiler Web Interface, navigate to Volume Groups
  10. Add new PV to the Volume Group
  11. Navigate to Manage Volumes
  12. Select the VG, Edit the Volume, enter the new size (same as the volume group’s total space) in my case
  13. Restart iSCSI service
  14. In vSphere, view the properties of the iSCSI datastore to increase its size

What a pain, why is this necessary?
There is apparently an uncorrected bug in OpenFiler in that it will not create additional partitions on a block device. Attempting to create the PV/Partition from the CLI using parted will not accept the cylinders I provide, instead attempting to make the volume half as big as asked. – If someone knows why this is and how to correct, please comment.
In the future, if my OpenFiler needs more storage to share, I’ll just add a new VMDK, create the PV on it, add it to the Volume Group and increase the volume that way.