So, I've noticed that there isn't a specific document out there for the embedded management feature of Unisphere for VMAX.  I originally intended to write a paper but travel schedule and other commitments have gotten in the way so I decided a blog might be a good place to put down some of this information.  I'll add to this blog over time and if you have a specific feature you want to get more information on log a comment and I'll try to write something up.


OK so here goes,


What is Unisphere for VMAX?


Unisphere for VMAX is an advanced Graphical User Interface (GUI) that provides a common EMC user experience across storage platforms. Unisphere for VMAX enables customers to easily provision, manage, and monitor VMAX environments. Unisphere 8.1 has been enhanced to support the new capabilities of the VMAX3 family and VMAX all Flash arrays.


Unisphere for VMAX has traditionally been installed in the customers environment on a dedicated server, windows or Linux or deployed as a vAPP.  This approach enables the customer to manage multiple VMAX systems from a single Unisphere instance however the drawback is that it's another piece of software the customer must keep up to date and manage.


With the release of HYPERMAX OS Q3 2015 SR and later it is possible to run Unisphere for VMAX as an Guest Operating system directly on the VMAX controllers within the VMAX3 native Hypervisor.  This option is called embedded management (eManagement) removes the need to an external management host to control and manage the VMAX array.  Embedded management must be specified when ordering the VMAX system as CPU and memory requirements must be sized appropriately.  When opting for embedded management your Pre-Sales SAS specialist will feed this option into VMAX sizer to ensure that the overhead is accounted for and you will get the correct sized system for your needs.



Is there any additional hardware needed? - The answer here is no, but you do need to connect two additional Ethernet cables to the VMAX MMCS to provide access from the customer network to the embedded Unisphere instance.  This interface is a multi-homed IP port that can provide access to eNAS management station as well as Unisphere for VMAX.    There are two of these ports for redundancy on on MMCS1 on director 1 and one on MMCS Director 2.  The Image below show's its clearly labeled for customer network.



How many IP addresses will it need?  2 external IP addresses are required Unisphere for VMAX is designed for high availablility, if for any reason you have a problem accessing on one IP you will be able to access on the other, these must be on the customer network,  Internally the system uses private NAT addresses so you can change the external IP's later if you want without having to worry about affecting the system stable values.  You can change the IP address with the management interface provided.


How do I access the system once it's installed?


If your VMAX was ordered with eManagement then you can access the Unisphere instance via the IP addresses provided through a secure HTTP connection.








How do I update eManagment software running on my VMAX array?

The good news here is you don't have to, when a new release of HYPERMAX OS (the VMAX operating environment) is installed the container running the eManagement software is updated for you automatically.  One less moving part to have to worry about, and you will automatically have new features in the microcode available to you through the latest user interface..


What can I do with eManagement?


eManagement is a fully functional install of Unisphere for VMAX, you can do everything that is possible with Unisphere.  So you have full control over array management, performance statistics, reports, Database Storage Analyzer and a full REST API.


So what happens if I need command line access for any reason, is that still possible?  The answer is yes it's still possible you can always have an external host with solutions enabler installed and gatekeepers mapped if this is something you will require on an ongoing basis.  You can also configure client server access to connect and utilize the solutions enabler instance on the eManagment server.  I'll take you through that in the next section.



Providing Client Server access to eManagement with Solutions Enabler


Solutions Enabler provides your host with the Symmetrix Command Line Interface (SYMCLI). The SYMCLI is a comprehensive command set for managing your environment. SYMCLI commands can be invoked on the command line or within scripts. These commands can be used to monitor device configuration and status and perform control operations on devices and data objects within your EMC VMAX storage environment.  The embedded management running directly on the VMAX hardware doesn’t provide an direct command line interface for administrators that want to be able to utilize the feature rich command line of Solutions Enabler, it does however provide a client server mechanism by which this can be achieved.


Configuring the Server for Client Access


The eManagement server must be configured to accept client server connections.  This is done by configuring the storsrvd daemon process.  Access for administering the system is via vApp Manager for eManagement accessible through a web browser on https://ipdaddress:5480/. When the user logs in for the first time the default login is used username and password seconfig.  As shown below




The eManagment vApp cab configured as a server, which runs the storsrvd daemon and provides the SYMAPI server access. Only hosts that are configured through the nethost settings can connect as clients to run solutions enabler symcli commands. Providing your Managment server was configured with DNS servers that are able to resolve the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of your host that will run solutions enabler you can enter the FQDN of your server and an authorized user into the nethosts file using the dialogue show in below if not the IP address of the server can be entered.   If multiple users are to be specified for a server they must be entered one at a time, wild cards are also accepted on the user field however this is not advisable for obvious security concerns.


The nethosts file configuration menu is accessed from the command execuation tab as shown here.


Once you have all your entries for client hosts and users are configured the settings can be verified from the Appliance Info tab.

In the Operations panel on the top right of the screen, click Display Nethosts.


A list of clients and respective users configured in the current nethosts file displays in the drop down as shown below. If no nethosts are configured for the appliance a message displays, and the Display Nethosts link is disabled. If a mistake has been made or a decision has been made to revoke client server access for a host an option to remove the hostname and user is next to the dropdown, simply select the entry to remove and select the action.



Set USE ACCESS ID = ANY in Solutions Enabler Base Configuration from the configuration tab.  Apologies image is very small, it's right down the end. Click to enlarge

set access id.png



Configuring the client


Once the nethosts file has been setup on the server the next step is to configure the client for access to the server. Solutions enabler needs to be installed on your client host.  Download the appropriate version from and follow the install instructions.   With solutions enabler installed the netcfg file needs to be configured to point to the server which will be the eManagment server that has just been configured.


The netcfg file is located in C:\Program Files\EMC\SYMAPI\config on windows system and /var/symapi/config if the host is linux or most variants of unix.  If the default locations were changed on the install of solutions enabler then this file may be located elsewhere.

Open the nethost file in a text editor and scroll to the end, Default entries similar to those shown below



The default entries can be used by removing the # at the start and end of the lines and enter the IP address for the two external
(NAT) IP for your eManagment servers. The Ordered entries will try to connect to the first and if that fails it will connect to the second as per the High Availability setup.   In the example shown in here the netcfg file has been modified to add a custom connect string.  Using this method it’s possible to have multiple entries and choose to manage one of many systems.












Now that the netcfg file has been configured, all that remains is to set an environment variable in your command prompt to connect the client to the server and verify the connection. The image below shows the SYMCLI_CONNECT variable being set on a windows system to match the entry in the netcfg file.  On Linux/Unix hosts the export command is substituted for set.



Now that everything is setup we can test our connection, running a simple command such as symcfg list to show which systems I can monitor will give me an indication of whether or not my setup is correct.



The example shown here is for a single eMGMT instance, however you can have multiple entries in your netcfg file and use the same client to connect to any you choose, this simly requires you to set the SYMCLI_CONNECT value to a different connect string and you can point to a different target server.


One point to note is that DNS is required for this to all work smoothly, if DNS was not entered into the binfile at the time of install it can be added non-disruptively,   however changes to DNS settings will require that the embedded managment vAPP be restarted.  This can be done from the vAPP manager on port 5480.


If for any reason you are not sucessful following the steps above, you can contact Dell EMC support and Quote KB article 000303794



Part 2 is available

Embedded Managment for VMAX All Flash and VMAX3 - Part 2 Gathering log files and pulling data and reports for offline ac…


Also series of REST API blogs linked off to the right of this page