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vCenter Server Integration and Facilitating VMware SRM Implementations Round Out How HP 3PAR Optimizes Its VMware vSphere Integration

Using a common console to manage servers and storage coupled with a roadmap to automated disaster recovery (DR) are becoming almost prerequisites in VMware vSphere deployments. Key to delivering on these emerging requirements is  employing a midrange array that (1) integrates with and is managed by vCenter Server, and (2) facilitates the implementation of VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager (SRM).

HP 3PAR f-class.JPGOver the last couple of weeks I have been examining through a series of blog entries the six key ways that the HP 3PAR platform differentiates itself from other midrange arrays through vSphere integration that goes beyond what was covered in the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide. Today I complete that series by taking a look at the last two ways in which midrange HP 3PAR systems differentiate themselves from other midrange arrays with respect to vSphere integration.

  • Integration with vCenter Server to provide visibility into and management of HP 3PAR arrays. Midrange array integration with vCenter Server is on the upswing as organizations look to manage both VMs and storage from the vCenter Server management console. However, there are varying levels of vCenter integration ranging from visibility into the array to providing management capabilities.

HP 3PAR Storage satisfies the more expansive definition of vCenter Server integration, with both management and recovery manager vCenter Server plug-ins. These plug-ins provide visibility into the array to include displaying how LUNs are mapped as well as giving administrators the ability to provision LUNs to specific VMs from a vCenter Server management console.

Further, HP 3PAR Autonomic Groups software makes provisioning HP 3PAR storage in clustered vSphere environments faster, simpler, and more reliable. Autonomic Groups eliminates many tedious administrative tasks as it reduces the number of commands required to provision multiple volumes to multiple virtual servers that may normally take hours or even days to complete on traditional storage arrays.

The HP 3PAR platform also offers a plug-in for VASA, the new VMWare API for Storage Awareness, which passes fifteen unique storage descriptors from the HP 3PAR system to vCenter Server. These pass very granular information about the HP 3PAR arrays to VMware so it may then make decisions about storage in ways that it never before could.

Examples include: (1) dividing the available storage into different tiers of performance and (2) determining the exact capabilities of storage volumes such as their specific availability, performance and storage efficiency characteristics.

  • Facilitating the implementation of VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.0. Hosting multiple VMs on a single ESX/ESXi host heightens the needs for automated business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) solutions. In this area, a sizeable gap exists between those midrange arrays that deliver this functionality and those that do not.

The midrange HP 3PAR systems again clearly fall among the group of midrange arrays that deliver this functionality. HP 3PAR Storage Replication Adapter (SRA) software for VMware vCenter SRM centralizes recovery management and automates VM failover and failback by using HP 3PAR Remote Copy and Virtual Copy software for replication  in conjunction with VMware SRM 5.0 to deliver this functionality.

Enterprise organizations today are making the decision to adopt VMware at an accelerating rate. But as they do, they need to choose the right midrange array that will meet their immediate storage needs, scale with them as they grow and facilitate the introduction of new features such as centralized administration and automated business continuity.

While HP 3PAR F400 and F200 systems support all key vSphere Integration features covered in the DCIG 2012 Midrange Array Buyer’s Guide, these points of vSphere integration are only where the platform’s VMware integration starts, not where it ends.

As this series of three blog entries has illustrated, the entire underlying architecture of the HP 3PAR platform was built in anticipation of meeting the management, performance, storage efficiency, and recovery needs of today’s virtualized environments. But what is also equally important, the architecture and software available for all HP 3PAR systems put organizations on a path toward creating tomorrow’s private storage clouds today.

In Part I in this 3-part series, I examined how midrange HP 3PAR systems take full advantage of vSphere VAAI primitives and increase VM density in VMware vSphere deployments.

In Part II of this 3-part series, I examined how midrange HP 3PAR systems expand the use cases for VM snapshots as well as provide advanced storage optimization and utilization technologies.

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