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Application awareness for VMware is a new feature of Unisphere for PowerMax, which allows users to troubleshoot storage related problems to ESXi servers.


Using a read only vCenter user account, a vCenter or an individual ESXi server can be added to Unisphere.


The discovered items are then associated with local storage devices to Unisphere and mapped to storage related objects making it easier to investigate possible storage related problems.


The following are some of the actions a user can view on this new feature:


  • Masking Views related to ESXi server
  • Performance KPIs related to ESXi Server
  • Details of ESXi Server
  • Virtual Machines on ESXi Server
  • Storage Groups related to ESXi Server
  • Local Storage Capacity of ESXi Server
  • Details of Virtual Disk under a VM
  • Allows you to find the ESXi Server a VM resides on and related storage objects.


It is easy to identify potential storage related issues associated with your ESXi server by examining the main vCentre/ESXi server list view.


If any Storage Group is out of compliance an indication will display too highlight, also if there is a problem with Front End Ports utilization then this will able be indicated. Clear relationships between the storage objects and vCenter/Esxi server(s) make diagnosis of a potential problem swift.


The ability to locate an ESXi when given a particular VM name accelerates troubleshooting efforts and can rule in/out the problem having anything to do with the local storage array.


Discovery of VMware related objects can be scheduled by using the Job feature of Unisphere for PowerMax.


** Please Note currently no VMware related statistics are retrieved.


Getting Started with VMware Unisphere


Login to Unisphere for PowerMax


Select HOME > VMWARE > vCenters and ESXi




The user can then register a whole vCenter or add individual ESXi servers. Registering is easy!


All that is required is the vCenter/ESXi server name or IP address and a username and password.


The user then has the option to run the discovery now or Add to Job List and run at the required time.



Once done you get can view the esxi servers listed for the vCenter - note this only shows Esxi servers local to PowerMAX!


Storage group compliance and Front End colour coded status indicators draws your eye quickly to any potential issue. More information is readily available such as the VMware version and build number, CPU cores, Memory by double clicking one to the esxi server.




Investigate a potential SG Compliance Problem


In this use case the user is presented with a yellow warning triangle in the Storage Group compliance column in the main list view.


This means this Storage Group is outside of the maximum response time for it's defined service level and might indicate a potential problem. Workload Planner calculates its weighted response time for the past 4 hours and for the past 2 weeks, and then compares the two values to the maximum response time associated with its given service level.


If one of them is in compliance and the other is out of compliance, then the compliance state is MARGINAL. If both are out of compliance, then the compliance state is CRITICAL.




To investigate further you can View All Details of an ESXi and navigate to the Performance tab.




Here you can see more KPIs and some other related performance objects.


Once the potential troublesome SG is determined the user can also now navigate to the Performance section of Unisphere and investigate further.




A tip/trick I found useful when trying to locate an Esxi server or VM is to use the Unisphere for PowerMax search icon.





Great to hear your thoughts on this fantastic VMware application awareness in Unisphere!


Blog Authored by Derek O'Mahony @DerekOMah

Getting The Most From Unisphere Database Storage Analyzer


Database Storage Analyzer (DSA) is a feature of Dell EMC Unisphere for PowerMax, that provides a full representation of the mapping and performance between database objects and Dell EMC PowerMax storage devices.


DSA can clearly highlight the location of a potential problem with a database (Oracle/Microsoft SQL Server) or associated local Dell EMC PowerMax storage array.With no additional cost associated it’s definitely worth kicking the Unisphere Database Storage Analyzer tires!


Array properties, devices, storage groups and allocated capacity associated with the Database storage are just some information available in DSA. The DSA Storage group(s) link allows you to drill down into the performance and masking view (host initiator, ports etc) details of your environment.


Database objects with the most IO wait time associated host, host device, sessions, wait classes focusing troubleshooting and diagnostic efforts for a particular database can all be easily identified.


As well as viewing performance, the DSA FAST hinting feature on PowerMax Hybrid arrays allows you to accelerate your mission critical processes while maintaining the designated service level enabled by the FAST engine on your Storage Groups.



Simply login to Unisphere for PowerMax




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Initial Setup/Registration of your Database with DSA


To add Oracle or MS SQL Server Database(s) use the Register Monitored Environment wizard.As root (or superuser) access over SSH is often disabled, but DSA can also cater for SUDO users where the DB Host Administrator would set up a designated account and grant them the necessary subset of the root privileges via SUDO. This /etc/sudoers config allows the qa11 user to run the as root without a password, from ALL hosts.


"qa11 ALL=NOPASSWD:/var/tmp/UnisphereMapper_Unispherehostname_ora33_on_dbhostname/ map -file dbfiles.dat -log_file dbc_mapper.log, /bin/ksh"

From a security view point, DSA uses role based access, so restricting who does what with respect to the database and storage areas of Unisphere for PowerMax, very useful indeed!


Let’s take a look at some Database Storage Analyzer use cases :


Use Case #1:  Host CPU impacting Database Performance



The Database Storage Analyzer list view clearly indicates that the Oracle database ora33 is experiencing poor performance response time by colouring part of the database response time status red.

The storage read response time appears to be as expected however the database read response time is high at 84.83.




Select the VIEW ALL DETAILS button to investigate further.


The Active Session Wait chart illustrates that there is a large amount of CPU Count and OS CPU activity on the database host.




For further confirmation that the storage is performing as expected the database and storage reads, writes and redo writes can be investigated on the Response Time and IOPS charts.




Use Case #2: Determine the cause of  high response time for both DB and storage, potentially caused by a long running Database backup.




Database ocrlhercules has a high DB and Storage Read Response time




View details, graph titled ‘Response Time ms’ showing the high DB and Storage reads response times for a defined time period.




Select the Analytics tab, the database object with the largest IO wait time can be quickly identified.




Details about this object such as the program with the largest IO wait time is also ease to find.




The associated devices for this database object are obtained by clicking the devices tab.

Shout, if you require any assistance getting started with Database Storage Analyzer!


Hopefully you enjoyed this blog !


For a video on DSA please visit here: Database Storage Analyzer - Troubleshooting a DB RT Issue


Blog Authored by Derek O'Mahony @DerekOMah

An essential part of Array management is monitoring for specific events or error conditions. When an event or error does occur Unisphere displays an alert and, if configured to do so, notifies you of the alert by the way of Email, SNMP or Syslog. If you wish to find out more about configuring SNMP and the Syslog please refer to this guide.


For a brief over view please click here.


Alert Policies

To begin with let’s start with the Alert Policies section. In the following examples we have focused on a 5977 PowerMax array. To navigate to here please select the Settings button as displayed by a “cog” icon in the upper right hand corner of Unisphere.


alert policies.PNG.png


When you install Unisphere some of these categories come enabled by default. However in order to capture a complete picture of the health, capacity and behaviour of the array we would recommend the following categories you can see to be enabled:


  • Array Component Events
  • Array Events
  • Device Config Change
  • Director Status
  • Hotspare Invoked
  • Port Link Status
  • Port Status
  • SRDF Link Status
  • Storage Pool Projection Alert

You can see here that the notifications turned on is email. It can also be via SNMP or the syslog.



To configure these please select the Notifications on the left hand side navigation:




Here select the configure button below email in order to set it up. You can configure email addresses to which notifications, alerts, and reports are sent. You can configure a single email address for all notification instances, or you can use different email addresses for different notifications on different storage systems.


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In the Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP) section you need to specify the IP Address or Host and also the port you are using. In the User Information you will need to provide a sender email address that will make sense and here we have just called it out as You select create to configure an email address that will receive the alerts, in general it will be the storage team monitoring this so would be a valid and relevant mail address.


Finally select which array and category which is relevant to you so here we have selected System, Performance and reports as we want to be alerted on these.


Compliance Alert Policies

This section is concerned with monitoring the service level compliance state of our storage groups.


compliance alerts.PNG.png


Here we have selected all the storage groups on array 0111 and the state we wish to monitor for is marginal or critical as we are not concerned with a stable SG state.


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As you can see here we can have enabled email notifications for a certain number of SG’s if their state goes marginal or critical.


Performance Threshold and Alerts

This category will allow you to monitor the overall performance of the array and alert on it accordingly.

performance tresholds and alerts.PNG.png

In this example we are focused on the 0111 Array. Here we are focused on the array category which will allow us to track and alert when we go over a certain number in terms of a threshold across a variety of categories that we can see on the list. You can see that this list includes the KPI’s and generally the KPI’s that we pre-configure for the customer will satisfy most people’s needs but you may want to adjust the values based on your own preference.


As well as Array there are 5 other categories such as Storage & Hosts, Directors & Ports, Storage Resources, Data Protection and System Internals.


So I wanted to show a use case example here so I will select Storage & Hosts > Storage Groups.


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So for this example I am very sensitive about the Response Time of my SG’s on this array so I choose the pencil icon next to RT so I can edit it.


edit performance treshold alert.PNG.png


The default values were 20 and 30 so I have reduced them to 10 and 20. Next I select the trigger alert on the lower part of the screen.


trigger alert.PNG.png


I have selected the checkbox for trigger an alert and my first threshold is just a warning but the 2nd is a critical alert. The number of occurrences in the data samples which must happen before the alert is triggered. For example, if the threshold is breached 3 times out of 5 samples, an alert is imitated. The number of occurrences in the data samples which must happen before the alert is triggered. For example, if the threshold is breached 3 times out of 5 samples, an alert is initiated.

As I stated previously most people are happy to accept the pre-configured thresholds that are automatically setup when you install Unisphere. If you do wish to change these you have that ability and we have shown you a practical example above.

Symmetrix Threshold Alerts

These are set of alerts based on certain categories such as capacity consumption, Meta Data Utilization and Local Replication Utilization.


symm treshholds and alerts.PNG.png


In this example the array is a 0111 PowerMax box so we have 6 categories Storage Resource Pool Utilization, Storage Container Utilization, Frontend Meta Data Usage, Backend Meta Data Usage, Local Replication Utilization and System Meta Data Utilization. There are different categories for older arrays such as Fast and thin pools but are not applicable to the newer arrays.


In terms of the 3 various thresholds Warning, Critical and Fatal we have gone with the default values. We can of course customize these if we wish also and in terms of notifications we have again chose email but SNMP and syslog are also available.


Following these guidelines will enable you to successfully monitor your array's performance. I hope you have found this blog helpful and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out with questions.