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OracleVM.pngThe EMC Storage Integrator (ESI) for Oracle VM version 3.3 is a plug-in that enables Oracle VM to discover and provision EMC Storage arrays. The Integration Module is built upon the Oracle VM Storage Connect (OCS) framework. The framework provides a set of storage discovery and provisioning Application Programming Interfaces (API) that enhance the ability to manage and provision EMC storage in an Oracle VM environment.

 


Installation

Pre-requisites

  • EMC SMI-S Provider server to provision and manage VMAX arrays

These are the steps for installing the ESI for Oracle VM plug-in. We encourage you to visit EMC online support to updates to the ESI installation steps.

  1. Download the installation package file from EMC online support
  2. Log on as the root user to the Oracle VM server
  3. Type the following command to install the package
    # rpm –ivh ./emc-osc-isa1.0.0.1-1.e16.x86_64.rpm

 

Edit the ESI for Oracle VM configuration file:

 

The ESI for Oracle VM uses isa.conf to define its runtime behavior. For example:

Properties

Values

Descriptions

AccessGroupPrefix

A string composed of alphanumerical characters, “_” or “-“

User defined prefix for OSC

managed initiator group, port

group, device group, and

masking view on VMAX arrays.

This prefix makes it easier to

differentiate between OSC

managed groups and other

managed groups.

AutoMetaEnabled

True or False

Specifies whether VMAX auto meta is enabled (true) or disabled (false).

LogLevel

Debug

Sets to verbose logging for troubleshooting.

 

The properties in the above table can be set in the isa.conf file. This file is manually created in plain text under the directory:

/opt/storage-connect/plugins/emc/isa/

 

The root user must have permissions to the isa.conf file.


Register a VMAX storage Array


The Oracle VM administrator will have to work with the EMC storage administrator for this one time registration of the storage array. As the list below does have sensitive information the recommendation is to have the EMC storage administrator enter the information.

  • Name of the storage array
  • Storage Plugin – Select EMC FC SCSI Plugin
  • Plugin Private Data – Storage array type and ID for example: SYMMETRIX+000195900311
  • Admin Host – Host name or IP address of the host where SMI-S provider is installed
    • Amin Username – to connect to the SMI-S provider
    • Admin Password – to connect to the SMI-S provider

Repeat these steps for each VMAX array that supports Oracle VM.


LUN Discovery

 

Once the VMAX storage array has been registered the Oracle VM administrator can refresh the list of available storage arrays and see the newly added EMC storage array(s). Clicking on the storage array the Oracle VM administrator will see storage available for use.


Create and remove thin LUNs

 

Provisioning storage is very easy as the Oracle VM administrator would follow the normal steps in creating a storage repository to present to the Oracle VM server(s) as a storage pool. Once the storage repository is available the administrator can add the storage resources to virtual machines.

It is important to know how storage is created on the EMC arrays as part of the preparing and configuring storage resources. The parameter “AutoMetaEnabled” directs the EMC storage array to create a thin device on of two ways:

  • If  “AutoMetaEnabled=False” then the plug-in creates a concatenated meta device using newly-created member devices and presented to the Oracle VM administrator. For example, a request for 500GB of space will result in the plug-in using 240GB of one LUN, 240GB of another and 20GB of a third LUN. A concatenated meta device is a group of storage devices concatenated together to form a larger LUN. When filling a concatenated meta device the first device fills first, followed by the second, and so on until the end.
  • If  “AutoMetaEnabled=True” then the plug-in requests the storage array to create the LUN. This offloads the provisioning of the disk space to the VMAX array which will automatically create one concatenated 500GB (240+240+20)meta device (reusing the same example as above).


Tip: Planning thin devices for Oracle databases The maximum size of a stand thin device in a Symmetrix VMAX is 240 GB. If a larger size is needed, then a metavolume comprised of thin devices can be created. When host striping is used, like Oracle ASM, it is recommended that the metavolume be concatenated rather than striped since the host will provide a layer of striping, and the thin pool is already striped based on data devices.

 

After the repository is created all the Oracle VM administrator needs to do is present the repository. Presenting the repository involves selecting which Oracle VM servers can use the current storage repository. It’s that easy!


Use Auto-Provisioning (LUN masking)

 

Making the discovered array usable by your Oracle VM servers involves access groups. An access group has a name and sometimes a description but most importantly the administrator can select from a list of available storage initiators and assign which storage initiators belong to the access group. A storage initiator is similar to an email address as it allows communication between people. Adding a storage initiator to a access group means the administrator is granting access to the underlying storage. Not adding or removing a storage initiator from an access group is called, “masking” and is a way to prevent access to the storage array.

 

Create Clones

 

Creating clones is a simple four step process that enables the Oracle VM administrator to very quickly create point in time copies of virtual machines. A newly created clone is immediately accessible to the host, even while data copying is occurring in the background. Here are the steps:

  • Select the EMC storage as the Clone Target Type
  • Type the source device name as the Clone Target
  • Select Thin Clone as the Clone Type
  • Click on OK

 

The ability to create very quick clones of virtual machines enables DBA teams and application owners to save time in activities like patching and functional testing. At EMC we have embraced the use of virtualization and automation to drive Database-as-a-Service within the company and can now provision Oracle, SQL Server and other databases in one hour. To learn more I recommend reading, “EMC IT’s Database-as-a-Service” paper and viewing the video, “EMC IT’s eCALM Demo.”

 

Summary

 

What I found amazing about writing this blog is how easy it is to start using the EMC Storage Integrator for Oracle VM and the immediate benefits of auto discovery, fast storage provisioning and ease of management. I was able to summarize the installation steps in about half a page! EMC is integrating up the Oracle stack enabling the Oracle VM administrator and DBA to do more with our storage arrays and this ESI integration is a strong example. Other points of integration include our FREE Plug-in for Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and the new application (Oracle database) awareness in Unisphere 8.0. Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and let us know if you are using the ESI storage integrator.