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vSphere Plugin User Guide: Virtual Volumes (vVols) Management

This KB covers how to use the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin to manage the Virtual Volumes (vVols) Environment from the vCenter UI.

Registering VASA Providers

The vSphere Plugin allows users with Permissions to register Storage Providers the ability to register a FlashArray's VASA Providers that has been Added to the FlashArray list.  The workflow to register the Storage Providers for vCenters in non-linked or linked mode is outlined blow and also in the Demo Video.  Click to expand the workflow. 

Registering the VASA Providers with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. A FlashArray will need to be added/registered in the Plugin to register the Storage Provider for the a given FlashArray.  Once the FlashArray is registered, Navigate to the main Plugin Page, select the FlashArray and then click on "Register Storage Provider".
    vvols-plugin-kb-01-registering-sp-1.png
  2. The recommended practice is to have a local FlashArray Array Admin user to register the storage providers with.  In the example below (and in the demo video), there is a local array admin named "vvols-admin" that the Storage Providers will be registered with.  In the event that the vCenter is in Enhanced Linked Mode, the option to choose which vCenter to register the storage providers with will be given.
    Registering the Storage Provider with a Single vCenter
    vvols-plugin-kb-01-registering-sp-2.png
    Registering the Storage Provider with a vCenter in Linked Mode
    vvols-plugin-kb-01-registering-sp-4.png
  3. Once the Storage Provider is successfully registered, navigate to the vCenter Server page, then Config and the Storage Providers tab.  Confirm that the storage providers are online and healthy.
    vvols-plugin-kb-01-registering-sp-3.png

Mounting a vVol Datastore

Once the Storage Providers are registered the vVol Datastore can be created and mounted using the vSphere Plugin.  Click blow to expand the workflow for creating the vVol Datastore and mounting it to an ESXi Cluster.  The workflow can also be found in the demo video at this point.

Mounting the vVol Datastore with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin

The ESXi hosts will need to have been added to the FlashArray and best practice is to correlate the ESXi cluster to a FlashArray Host Group. Then each ESXi host that is in that Cluster should be added to the FlashArray Host Group.

  1. Right Click on the ESXi Cluster that you want to create and mount the vVol Datastore.  Go to the Pure Storage option and then click on Create Datastore.
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-1.png
  2. Choose to create a vVol FlashArray Storage Container (vVol Datastore).
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-2.png
  3. Choose a name for the vVol Datastore
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-3.png
  4. Select the ESXi Cluster that will be the compute resource to mount the vVol Datastore to.  Best Practice for vVols is to mount the vVol Datastore to the host group and not individual ESX hosts.  Why is this important?  During this step, the Plugin will check to see that the Host Group on the FlashArray is connected to a Protocol Endpoint.  In the event that there is no connection, the Plugin will automatically connect the Protocol Endpoint on that FA to the Host Group.  Best practice is to connect PEs to Host Groups and not to individual ESXi Hosts.
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-4.png
  5. Confirm the FlashArray that the vVol Datastore will be created for.

    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-5.png
  6. Review the information and finish the workflow.
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-6.png
  7. From the Datastore Page, click on the newly created vVol Datastore and then check the Connectivity with the Hosts in the ESXi Cluster to ensure that they are connected and healthy.
    vvols-plugin-kb-02-mounting-vvol-ds-7.png

Importing Protection Groups as SPBM Policies

The vSphere Plugin allows users that have Permissions to create vCenter Storage Policies the ability to import a FlashArray Protection Groups Schedule as Policy Rules.   This process is covered in the Demo Video here.  Click to expand the workflow below.

Importing FlashArray Protection Groups as SPBM Policies with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the main plugin page, select the FlashArray to import the protection group settings and click on "Import Protection Groups"
    vvols-plugin-kb-03-importing-pgroup-1.png
  2. The screen that shows up next will list the FlashArray protection groups.  In the parentheses the schedule and capabilities of the protection group will be listed.  In the event that a Storage Policy in vCenter already matches the FlashArray pgroup schedule the option to select that pgroup will be grayed out. Select the policy or policies and click Import.
    vvols-plugin-kb-03-importing-pgroup-2.png
  3. Navigate to "Policies and Profiles" and click on the VM Storage Policies tab.  From here you will see that the Storage Policies have been created.  The naming schema for these policies will be [FlashArray] [either Snapshot or Replication] [Schedule Interval].  Below there is a Replication and Snapshot policy shown.
    vvols-plugin-kb-03-importing-pgroup-3.png

Viewing VM vVol details

When a FlashArray is registered with the vSphere Plugin there will be details reported in vCenter for vVols based Virtual Machines that are stored on that FlashArray.  These details are explained here in the Demo Video.  Click to expand the explanation below.

Viewing the Virtual Machine vVol Details with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machine view and Summary Tab, there is a FlashArray widget box.  This will show whether or not the VM has Undelete Protection.  Undelete Protection means that there is currently a FlashArray Snapshot of this VMs Config vVol.
    vvols-plugin-kb-04-VM-Details-1.png
  2. On the Virtual Machine's Configure Page, there is a Pure Storage Virtual Volumes tab.  
    vvols-plugin-kb-04-VM-Details-2.png

    The page will allow end users to run the workflows to Import a virtual disk (vVol), restore a destroyed vVol or to Overwrite an existing vVol.
    Additionally the page contains important information about the VMs Data vVols.  Some of the important information here would be the Virtual Device (SCSI controller connection), the vVol Datastore that the vVol is on, which Array the vVol is on and the FlashArray Volume Group Name and Volume name.

Restoring a vVol from a FlashArray Snapshot

The Pure Storage vSphere plugin has the ability to recover a destroyed vVol within 24 hours of when the vVol was destroyed.  There is also an integration to overwrite an existing vVol with a previous FlashArray snapshot of the vVol.  These workflows are covered in the Demo Video here.  Click to expand the workflows below.

Restoring a Destroyed vVol with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machines Configure page, navigate to the Pure Storage - Virtual Volumes tab, select Restore Deleted Disk.

    When deleting a Data vVol, the FlashArray will destroy the volume and the volume will be in a Pending Eradication state for 24 hours.

    In this workflow example, the VM 405-Win-VM-2 has had the virtual disk "Hard disk 2" deleted from disk.  
    vvols-plugin-kb-05-Restoring-vvol-1.png
  2. After selecting the Restory Deleted Disk option, any Data vVols that have been destroyed and are pending eradication will be displayed.  Select the Data vVol that should be restored and click Restore to complete the workflow.
    vvols-plugin-kb-05-Restoring-vvol-2.png
  3. After the workflow is complete, the recovered vVol will be displayed in the Pure Storage Virtual Volumes tab.
    vvols-plugin-kb-05-Restoring-vvol-3.png
Rolling Back a vVol with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machines Configure page, navigate to the Pure Storage - Virtual Volumes tab, select Overwrite Disk.
    vvols-plugin-kb-05-Restoring-vvol-4.png
  2. From this page, select the vVol based VM and the Data vVol from that VM that you want to use to overwrite the Data vVol with.  While this can be a different vVol VM or the same vVol VM that you want to import the data vVol to, the example show will be to roll back this Data vVol to a previous snapshot.  Here Hard Disk 2 is selected and when expanded all Snapshots for that vVol are shown.  In this case, the one selected in a Snapshot from the FlashArray pgroup "vSphere-Plugin-pgroup-2" and the Snapshot Name of "Safe-Snapshot".
    vvols-plugin-kb-05-Restoring-vvol-5.png
    In the Volume Information for the selected snapshot, we can see when the snapshot was created and the information for this vVol that will be used to Overwrite the Existing Data vVol.
    Click on Overwrite to complete the workflow. 

Creating a vVol Copy

With the Pure Storage vSphere plugin there is the ability to import a vVol from the same vVol VM or from another vVol VM.  The source can be either a FlashArray Snapshot or a Managed Snapshot.  The workflows for importing the same vVol from either a FA Snapshot or a Managed Snapshot is walked through below as well as in the Demo Video here.

Creating the Copy from a FlashArray Snapshot with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machines Configure page, navigate to the Pure Storage - Virtual Volumes tab, select Import Disk.
    vvols-plugin-kb-06-vvol-copy-1.png
  2. From this page, select the vVol based VM and the Data vVol from that VM that you want to recover.  This can be a different vVol VM or the same vVol VM that you want to import the data vVol to.  In this example the Hard Disk 2 is selected and when expanded all Snapshots for that vVol are shown.  In this case, the one selected in a Snapshot from the FlashArray pgroup "vSphere-Plugin-pgroup-2" and the Snapshot Name of "53".
    vvols-plugin-kb-06-vvol-copy-2.png
    In the Volume Information for the selected snapshot, we can see when the snapshot was created and the information for this vVol that will be imported.
    Click on Import to complete the workflow. 
Creating the Copy from a Managed Snapshot with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machines Configure page, navigate to the Pure Storage - Virtual Volumes tab, select Import Disk.
    vvols-plugin-kb-06-vvol-copy-1.png
  2. Instead of using a FlashArray pgroup snapshot to import the vVol, this time a Managed Snapshot will be selected.  Notice the difference in the naming for the selected vVol.  There is no pgroup or snapshot name associated with it.  Just the volume group and data vvol name, followed by a "-snap" indicating that this is a managed snapshot for this vVol.  
    vvols-plugin-kb-06-vvol-copy-3.png
    The same type of information is provided in the Volume Information for Managed Snapshot or FlashArray Snapshots.
    To complete the import workflow, click on Import.
     
  3. Once the Import Workflows have completed, the new Data vVols will show up on the Virtual Volumes page.
    vvols-plugin-kb-06-vvol-copy-4.png

Recovering a Deleted VM from a FlashArray Snapshot (VM Undelete)

The Pure Storage vSphere Plugin has a workflow that can recover a vVol based VM that has a FlashArray snapshot of the VMs config vVol.  The section in the Demo Video that covers this workflow can be found here.  Click below to expand the workflow in the KB.

Recovering a Deleted vVol VM with the Pure Storage vSphere Plugin
  1. From the Virtual Machine view, there is a FlashArray box.  This will explain whether or not the VM has Undelete Protection.  Undelete Protection means that there is currently a FlashArray Snapshot of this VMs Config vVol.  This is required for the Undelete workflow because of the following reasons:
    1. When a vVol VM is deleted, VMware will first delete the information of the Data vVols inventory from the config.
    2. After that is complete, VMware issues a volume unbind and destroy the Config vVol.  This means that by the time the FlashArray has destroyed the Config vVol, the inventory mapping and Data vVol information has been deleted.  
    3. In order to recover a VM that has been deleted, the Config vVol has to be overwritten with the snapshot of that Config vVol
  2. From the Virtual Machine view, we can see that the last snapshot of the Config vVol on the FlashArray is at 3:17 PM on July 21st.  Which means, that if there have been any edits to the VM such as CPU, Memory, new vVols, etc, it will not be recovered.  The state of the VM at the Undelete Protection timestamp will be what is recovered.
    vvols-plugin-kb-04-VM-Details-1.png
  3. This VM has been powered off and is now going to be deleted.
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-1.png
  4. From the Datastore tab, select the vVol Datastore.  Right Click on the vVol Datastore, go to the Pure Storage option, and select "Undelete Virtual Machine"
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-2.png
  5. The first page "Virtual Machine" will let you select which destroyed VM you want to recover.  The caveat is that by default, a volume on the FlashArray that is destroyed has 24 hours until it is eradicated.  This page will notify how much Time Remaining the VM has to be recovered.
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-3.png
  6. The next page, "Compute Resource", select the ESXi host that will recover the VM.
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-4.png
  7. Review the details and then select Finish.
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-5.png
  8. Power on the VM and check that everything is powering on and is healthy.
    vvols-plugin-kb-07-vm-undelete-6.png

Video Demo 

Here is a Video Demo that walks through each of these steps covered in the KB