Introducing VCE VxRAIL

A Quantum Leap in Hyper-Converged Appliances

EMC|VCE and VMware have added a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliance (HCIA) offering named VxRail to the existing CI portfolio of Vblocks, VxBlocks, VxRacks  (Blocks,Racks,Appliances).  


Vxrail1VxRail is built on a modular scale out clustering architecture that comprises of appliances (Base building block) where each appliance can house up to 4x industry standard x86 hardware compute nodes (four independent ESXi hosts) inclusive of storage. The appliance has a small footprint which is consuming only two rack units ‘2U’ in height, thus we will use the term ‘2U4N’ as abbreviation for the rack space and compute node count within the appliance. With the initial launch (Q1 2016) VxRail will have the ability to scale up to 8x appliances allowing for a total of 32x compute nodes (the Q2 VxRail release will allow for twice these scaling counts allowing for up to 16x Appliances resulting in a max total of 64 nodes in a VxRail cluster).

Continue reading

EMC VNX – SMI-S Configuration & Discovery

The following are some configuration notes for configuring SMI-S to allow communication with the ‘VNX Storage Processors’, SMI-S can then be leveraged by for example VCE Vision or ViPR to configure/report on the VNX array. Before proceeding ensure you have the both VNX Storage Processor A&B IP addresses to hand, the SMI-S host will use these IP’s to allow for out-of-band communication over IP with the VNX. EMC SMI-S provider is included as part of ‘Solutions Enabler with SMIS’ install package which can be downloaded from ‘’.

Begin by installing SMI-S Provider, ensuring you select the ‘Array provider’ (Windows does not require Host provider) and chose the option for SMISPROVIDER_COMPONENT:

From the windows services.msc console check that both the ‘ECOM’ and ‘storsrvd’ services are set to automatic and in a running state:
Check that EMC storsrvd daemon is installed and running from a Windows cmd prompt using stordaemon.exe:
stordaemon install storsrvd -autostart
stordaemon start storsrvd
stordaemon.exe list

Or using the SC (service control) command you can query/start/config the ECOM and storsrvd services:
sc query ECOM.exe
sc query storsrvd
sc start ECOM.exe
sc start storsrvd
sc config ECOM.exe start=auto
sc config storsrvd start=auto


Run netstat -a and check the host is listening on ports 5988 5989:

Add the SYMCLI installation directory path (DRIVE:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\BIN) to the list of system paths:
Or use the windows CLI to add the SYMCLI and ECOM directories to the PATH environment variable:

setx /M PATH "%PATH%;C:\Program Files\EMC\SYMCLI\bin;C:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\bin"

If experiencing issues such as the ECOM service failing to start it is worth rebooting the mgmt server at this stage.

Provided all the validations are successful then proceed to login to the ECOM server and create the user you would like to use for (Vision/ViPR) connectivity:
Open https://localhost:5989/ecomconfig
Login with default credentials of: admin / #1Password

Select the option to add a new user and create the Vision user with administrator role and scope local:

Windows Firewall
If the Windows firewall is enabled then rules will need to be created to allow ECOM ports TCP 5988&5989 and SLP port UDP 427. For example using the windows command line netsh to create rules for SLP and ECOM:

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="SLP" dir=in protocol=UDP localport=427 action=allow

netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”ECOM” dir=in protocol=TCP localport=5988-5989 action=allow

netsh advfirewall firewall show rule name=SLP
netsh advfirewall firewall show rule name=ECOM


Discover and Add the VNX using TestSMIProvider:
Confirm communication to the VNX from the SMI-S host by running the navicli getagent cmd on both VNX Storage Processors from the Element Manager cmd prompt:
naviseccli -h SPA-IP getagent
choose option 2 if prompted
naviseccli -h SPB-IP getagent
choose option 2 if prompted

Or using credentials:
naviseccli -h SPIP -user sysadmin -password sysadmin -scope 0 getagent

Open a Windows cmd prompt session as admin user, if the environment variable has not been set then you will need to ‘cd’ to ‘cd D:\Program Files\EMC\SYMCLI\bin
symcfg auth add -host SPA_IP -username sysuser -password syspw
symcfg auth add -host SPB_IP -username sysuser -password syspw

Create a text file, for example called SPIP.txt that contains the IP addresses for SP A&B. Then run the following commands to discover and list the VNX:
symcfg discover -clariion -file D:\spip.txt
symcfg list -clariion

Again from a Windows cmd prompt session as admin user, if the environment variable has not been set then you will need to ‘cd’ to c:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\BIN. Type TestSMIProvider.exe at the prompt, from here chose all defaults except for the Vision user and password created through the ECOM console:

At the prompt type ‘addsys’ to confirm connectivity between the VNX Array and the SMI-S Host:

(localhost:5988) ? addsys
Add System {y|n} [n]: y

ArrayType (1=Clar, 2=Symm) [1]:
One or more IP address or Hostname or Array ID

Elements for Addresses
IP address or hostname or array id 0 (blank to quit): SPA_IP
IP address or hostname or array id 1 (blank to quit): SPB_IP
IP address or hostname or array id 2 (blank to quit):
Address types corresponding to addresses specified above.
(1=URL, 2=IP/Nodename, 3=Array ID)
Address Type (0) [default=2]:
Address Type (1) [default=2]:
User [null]: sysuser
Password [null]: syspw
++++ EMCAddSystem ++++
Legend:0=Success, 1=Not Supported, 2=Unknown, 3=Timeout, 4=Failed
5=Invalid Parameter
4096=Job Queued, 4097=Size Not Supported
Note: Not all above values apply to all methods – see MOF for the method.

System : //SPA_IP/root/emc:Clar_StorageSystem.CreationClassName=”Clar_Stora

In 12.468753 Seconds

Please press enter key to continue…

At the prompt type ‘dv‘ to confirm connectivity between the VNX and SMI-S Host:

For any troubleshooting please refer to: ‘C:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\log’

Note: When configuring VCE Vision please ensure to use the ‘SMI-S Host’ IP address for VNX Block entries in the Vblock.xml configuration file, the NAS portion of the VNX uses the Control Station IP addresses for communication which have ECOM configured by default.

How to remove VNX systems using SMI-S “remsys” command:

  1. Log into the SMI-S Provider server
  2. Open a command prompt (cmd).
  3. Change (cd) to C:\Program Files\EMC\ECIM\ECOM\bin
  4. Run TestSmiProvider.exe
  5. Enter ein
  6. Enter symm_StorageSystem
  7. Copy the line that specifies the VNX system you want to remove:
  8. Enter remsys
  9. Enter Y
  10. Paste the line specifying the VNX system you want to remove that you copied in the preceding step.
  11. Enter Y
  12. Run a dv command to confirm the VNX system has been removed.

Built with EMC SMI-S Provider: V4.6.2
Namespace: root/emc
repeat count: 1
(localhost:5988) ? remsys
Remove System {y|n} [n]: y
System’s ObjectPath[null]: Clar_StorageSystem.CreationClassName=”Clar_StorageSys
About to delete system Clar_StorageSystem.CreationClassName=”Clar_StorageSystem”
Are you sure {y|n} [n]: y


The Vblock vCake

Created by Cliff Cahill @CliffCahill

In conjunction with the announcement of the ‘Vblock 740’ @VCE’s latest addition to the Vblock range Cliff kindly put his creative and baking skills to good effect by creating the ‘Vblock 740 vCake’. The Vblock System 740 is VCE’s flagship converged infrastructure, an IT infrastructure built on industry-leading technology combining Network and Compute components from Cisco, Storage in the form of the EMC VMAX³ and virtualization from VMWare – all market leaders in their respective technology sectors.

The steps below outline the process that was followed in order to deliver the Vblock vCake:

1. Logical Configuration Summary(LCS) & Bill Of Materials(BOM)
2. Physical Build Commences
3. Configuring the Advanced Management Platform (AMP)
4. Configuring the Cisco Network Components (MDS, NEXUS) & Compute Components (Cisco UCS)
5. Configuring the EMC VMAX³ & VMWare Virtualization Infrastructure (ESXi, vCenter, VUM)
6. Logical Configuration QA
7. Vblock Sent to Distribution
8. Deployment and Implentation Begins
9. Deployment and Implentation Knowledge Transfer
10. Vblock Enters Production

1. Logical Configuration Summary and Bill of Materials
The vArchitect has taken the customers requirements and expertly sized the Vblock to deliver optimum performance for the customers mission critical applications. The bill of materials has been completed and the Technical Program Team has qualified and validated the solution design. The Logical Configuration Survey has been signed off with the customer and the Vblock has been added to the Production Schedule. All components are laid out in preparation for integration:


2. Physical Build Commences
Next our manufacturing team place each part of the Vblock platform into its correct location within the cabinet:

The Cisco UCS, fabric interconnects, network switches and EMC VMAX³ are now installed:

Then the power outlet units (POU’s) and all network and power cabling get installed and connected to the appropriate ports based on a Master Port Map:

3. Configuring the Advanced Management Platform (AMP)
Next the Vblock platform goes through the Logical integration phase where it is expertly configured by the LB Team to meet specific customer requirements, beginning with the AMP configuration which runs the software that manages the platform (Cisco C220 servers and EMC VNXe storage array):

4. Configuring the Cisco Network Components (MDS, NEXUS) & Compute Components (Cisco UCS)
Code Upgrades are complete based on the fully tested and validated RCM. Initial and advanced scripting executed:

5. Configuring the EMC VMAX³ & VMware Virtualization infrastructure (ESXi, vCenter, VUM)
The EMC VMAX³ Bin File has been loaded and the VMWare ESXi clusters are provisioned via UIM:

6. Logical Configuration QA
Logical Configuration Complete, QA Done and VCE Vision verifies compliance with RCM. Hand Off Email Sent:

7. Vblock Sent to Distribution
The Vblock is down in distribution and ready for dispatch. Customer agreed delivery date is achieved. Vblock is covered to ensure immaculate delivery to its proud new owner:

8. Deployment and Implementation Begins
Vblock arrives at the customer site as a piece of truly converged infrastructure and the Deployment and Implementation phase commences:
photo 1
photo 2

9. Deployment and Implentation Knowledge Transfer
The Vblock has been integrated into the customer environment and Deployment & Implementation knowledge transfer begins:
photo 3

10. Vblock Enters Production
The Vblock is now in operation – End User is already after taking a few compute slices:
photo 4
photo 5

Vblock Infrastructure Platform is Transforming IT
vCake Final

BOM for Biscuit Cake
400g digestives
2 Crunchies
450g milk choc
90g butter
5tbsp double cream
1tbsp golden syrup

BOM for Ganache:
180ml double cream
28g butter
227g dark choc

Logical Build Instructions for vCake
Biscuit Cake
Melt milk choc with butter over pot of simmering water.
Break up biscuits and crush crunchies in a large bowl.
Once milk choc melted, cool slightly and then add cream and golden syrup.
Mix using a whisk until completely mixed through.
Add to digestives and make sure every biscuit is covered.
Put it in to a prelared tim lined with cling film and refrigerate.

Break Dark chocolate into Single Squares and add to Glass Bowl
Slowly Bring cream and butter to the boil and poor over dark chocolate.
Allow to sit for a couple of minutes and then mix thoroughly until choc completely melted.
Allow to set until desired consistency has been reached.