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August 30, 2018 Previous day Next day

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




where is dsa.png


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