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Pure Storage FlashArray Solutions Extension for Windows Admin Center

Overview

Windows Admin Center (WAC) is Microsoft’s next generation management tool for Servers, Clustering and Compute. Unlike the Windows Server Manager which has been part of Windows Server for many years WAC has a full extensibility model. With that extensibility the Pure Storage FlashArray Management Extension for Windows Admin Center was build to provide ability to manage Pure Storage all-flash storage arrays. Both on-premises and cloud deployed FlashArrays can be managed. Today Cloud Block Store for AWS deployments can be added to Windows Admin Center and there will be support for Cloud Block Store for Azure in the future. 

The new Pure Storage FlashArray Management Extension provides these key features:

  • Ability to connect and manage multiple on-premises and cloud FlashArrays.
  • A comprehensive dashboard view of the FlashArray with all the key metrics that can be viewed with the main Web Management. That includes:
    • IOPS, Bandwidth, Latency, Data Reduction and Space Management.
  • Consolidated view for managing Host Groups and Hosts, including details about protocols, iSCSI Qualified Name (IQNs) and World Wide Names (WWNs). 
  • Protection Group management for setting up Targets and creating snapshots. In order to add Members it requires the use of the Web Management GUI.
  • Volume Management which includes the ability to create and destroy volumes. When a volume is destroyed, it will be placed in the Destroyed items bucket. Eradication of the destroyed volume must be done from the Web Management GUI.
  • Manage connected servers to the FlashArray which is determined by analyzing the connected servers in Windows Admin Center.
  • View connected disks (volumes) to individual Windows Servers and check if MultiPath-IO (MPIO) is installed and properly configured. Create and mount the new volumes.
  • Support for Light and Dark mode through WAC personalization.

Below is a demonstration video showing a tour of the Windows Admin Center integration.

In order to develop your own WAC extensions please follow this documentation from Microsoft to configure the environment.

 

Installation

There are no installation packages to download. The extension is available from Microsoft's main NuGet and will automatically show up in the Available Extensions view.

To install the Pure Storage FlashArray extension perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings gear icon in the upper right hand corner of WAC.
  2. Select Gateway Extensions. This will display the Available extensions.  As you scroll down the Pure Storage FlashArray extension (v1.0.57) is shown.
  3. Click Install.
  4. Once the extension has been installed click the Installed extensions, as shown below. 

Accessing Management Extension

To access the extension navigate to the Windows Admin Center dropdown menu and select Pure Storage FlashArray Manager. 

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FlashArray Connection

Once the extension has been clicked the Pure Storage Connections view will be displayed. There are two FlashArrays connected as an example.

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To connect a FlashArray follow these steps:

1. Click Add to begin the login process. After clicking Add a login sidebar will be opened. Adding a connection can be either an IP address (shown below) or a Fully Qualified Domain Name. Enter the credentials for the FlashArray and click Add. 

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Connection tags can be used to identify the systems. In the above example the FlashArray model, Purity Operating Environment and FlashArray have been added for this connection.

Once connected to the FlashArray the main Overview will be displayed.

 

Management Extension Feature Overviews

Below are screenshots of the Windows Admin Center integration showing the different feature areas.

Overview

Like the FlashArray Web Management tool, all of the elements of the web Dashboard are represented in the Overview section of the extension. All navigation to the different areas of the extension is accomplished on in the left side bar under Extensions.

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Managing Hosts and Host Groups

The Hosts view provides the ability to view Hosts and Host Groups with details. New Hosts and Host Groups can be added, deleted and renamed.

Click + New Host or + Host Group to enter a name and OK. 

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To add either an iSCSI IQN or WWN select the host and in the bottom pane ports can be added. 

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Hosts can be removed from Host Groups using the disconnect icon.

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Manage Initiators

The Initiators view allows for the management of individual servers. If the WAC deployment has 100 servers but only 6 are connected to the FlashArray only those will be displayed. 

Best Practices 

There are specific best practices that Pure Storage recommends. 

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By clicking on the three ellipses a dialog is brought up showing which best practices for the FlashArray are displayed. If there are any issues a Fix It option is available to correct those entries. 

When the Fix It option is clicked a dialog will be shown with what changes will be made. 

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When Confirm is clicked an additional dialog will be shown that changes have been made and the option to Reboot Now or Reboot Later can be selected. 

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Along with Best Practices the Disks can be viewed that are connected to the selected initiator. 

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Once Show Disks is selected a dialog box displaying both all of the details. In the example below the C: drive is connected to a different FlashArray than the current connection we are managing. 

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A new volume can be created and immediately Mounted to the selected initiator. 

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Managing Protections Groups

New Protection Groups can be added using the + New Protection Group, enter a name and click OK. Once a Protection Group has been created the name can be edited using the edit icon (the pencil). In the bottom pane New Target FlashArrays can be added after selecting a specific Protection Group. Snapshots can also be created by navigating to the Snapshots tab. 

The FlashArray Web Management tool is required in order to add Members to a Protection Group. Once they are added they will be visible in the above view. 

 

Managing Volumes

Using the + New Volume option a new volume can be created by entering a name and size. The name can also be edited using the edit option (pencil icon). Once a volume is selected, the bottom pane allows you to Create Snapshot, Connect to Host, and Connect to Host Group.

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For more information about Windows Admin Center please see the below documentation from Microsoft.