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How To: Identify Pure Storage Namespaces on ESXi

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One of the important things that a storage vendor must do is ensure that the volumes they are presenting to individual servers can be uniquely identified. If a volume (or a disk as a host would see it) is unable to be uniquely identified, this could cause some serious problems down the road. 

The way in which we achieve this goal with NVMe-oF based volumes is by using a Namespace Globally Unique Identifier (NGUID) for every volume presented to a host.

For the Pure Storage FlashArray an NGUID is broken into 3 parts: 

  • Identifier Extension (First 7 bytes of the FlashArray ID)
  • IEEE Company_id (Pure Storage unique ID)
  • Vendor Specific Extention Identifier (Last 5 bytes of the FlashArray volume)

Note that the LUN ID as shown in the Pure Storage GUI does not correlate with the LUN ID shown in the VMware interfaces--this is one place with NVMe differs from SCSI. VMware instead will show the namespace ID minus 1. For example, if the namespace ID is 00018816 the VMware LUN ID will be 18815.

Furthermore, unlike SCSI (whose identifier starts with naa), the identifier for the NVMe disk will start with "eui" (meaning, Extended Unique Identifier):

[root@andy:~] esxcli nvme namespace list
Name                                  Controller Number  Namespace ID  Block Size  Capacity in MB
------------------------------------  -----------------  ------------  ----------  --------------
eui.003b7b308d98f94224a9375e00018816                260        100374         512          205824

With our eui now available, we can break it down into its respective parts to verify whether or not this is a Pure Storage based namespace:

1. The first 8 bytes of the string will be the begin with "00" and then the first 7 bytes of the FlashArray ID (as reported from the 'purearray list' output):


If we look at our FlashArray ID it reports the following (highlighting the first 7 bytes, not including the hyphens):

root@sn1-x50r2-e05-31-ct0:~# purearray list
Name              ID                                    OS          Version
sn1-x50r2-e05-31  3b7b308d-98f9-425e-87a1-3e57ada49658  Purity//FA  5.3.4

2. The next 3 bytes of the string are the Unique Company ID for Pure Storage (24a937):


If you see "24a937", as highlighted above, in bytes [8 - 10] then that is a Pure Storage backed namespace.

NOTE: It is bytes 8,9,10 if you are starting count from "0", if starting count from "1" it is bytes 9,10,11.

3. Lastly, the remaining 5 bytes will be the unique identifier of the individual volume on the FlashArray:


If we grep for those last 5 bytes on the FlashArray, we get our volume of interest:

root@sn1-x50r2-e05-31-ct0:~# purevol list |grep -i 5e00018816
nvme-of-vol14            201G  -       2019-12-05 16:28:46 PST  3B7B308D98F9425E00018816

So that NVMe namespace on the ESXi host coincides with "nvme-of-vol14" on the Pure Storage FlashArray.

This concept is the same as using the Network Addressing Authority (NAA) identifier when utilizing SCSI as the underlying protocol. For information on how to identify Pure Storage LUNs using SCSI as the underlying protocol you can review: VMware vSphere: ESXi Host Troubleshooting.