I have been working predominantly with LeftHand and EVA systems, but have now moved to a role where they have a CX-300... I am looking to get up to speed with how to work with it, but can seem to find no documentation on the EMC site at all (Am I missing something)...
Really looking for guides on how to use NaviSphere and best practices for the CX-300 usage with vSphere 4.1...
If anyone can help that would be great... I also keep reading things about a live chat feature on this site? Does this exist?
Firstly, Welcome to the EMC Support forums,
For documentation on the CX300 please go to http://powerlink.emc.com and navigate as follows:
Home > Support > Technical Documentation and Advisories > Hardware/Platforms Documentation > CLARiiON CX Series Systems > CLARiiON CX300
There is an excellent EMC Techbook available called "Using EMC CLARiiON Storage with VMware vSphere and VMware Infrastructure"
Available from here
Or navigate as follows on http://powerlink.emc.com
Home > Support > Technical Documentation and Advisories > TechBooks [Guide is on page 3]
Another quality source of information is the ESX Host Connectivity Guide
Or navigate as follows on http://powerlink.emc.com
Home > Support > Technical Documentation and Advisories > Host Connectivity/HBAs > Installation/Configuration
And finally if you still have questions after getting through all of that either ask here, or for live chat, go to http://powerlink.emc.com and navigate as follows:
Home > Support > Request Support > Live Chat
From there, select "CLARiiON Products" from the dropdown.
Well it seems that CX300 is not supported by VMware in vSphere 4.x (thanks Rafael) and you can only use it up to ESX 3.5 U5:
But... if you plan not to use it for production environments there is stil one thing you can do with it:
Use it as a disk source for the Celerra Virtual Storage Appliance.
This way you will get all the benefits from Unisphere and still will be reusing your CX300.
For more info in how to setup and download the VSA, please, follow any of these three links:
Where you will find detailed instructions, info and videos with how to get started. By the way, I would seriously encourage you to subscribe to these three excellent blogs for fresh and detailed new information regarding VMware and EMC technologies.
Also, you could subscribe to the following webcast for tomorrow where it will be explained how to setup the VSA:
Hope this information may be useful for you.
I have attempted those links but it says my account does not have enough rights. I have therefore requested an upgrade of my account...
Regarding vSphere... yes I too have noticed it is not on the HCL...
I do see accounts of people using VMware vSphere 4.1 and 4.0 on the CX300 though...
I am looking to get some kind of answer about this fairly sharpish so wondered if anyone could help?
It does seem a bit amazing that we have this bit of kit which is not that old and probably cost a fair amount to buy, but now we can not use it for what we want because VMware have dropped it from their support list?
I am seriously contemplating 3.5 U5 which is the last version to support the CX300 according to the HCL, for security/comfort reasons but obviously I would prefer not to do this as it makes the investment to vSphere a bit of a waste.
Do EMC have any comment on this?
Keep in mind that the CX300 predicates the CX3 and CX4 and now the VNX-line of mid-range storage arrays. Said differently, the array you are using is pretty old. But that doesnt mean it's not usable. The recommendation of using the Celerra virtual appliance is a good recommendation because it does allow you to use your CX300 block storage with your vmware infrastructure and take advantage of connectivity methods such as iSCSI, NFS, CIFS which are all well documented connectivity methods with VMWare. Some might agrue that they are equivulant and/or superior to direct-attached.
Check out virtual geek's 101 guide on this. I apologize if I'm double-linking it - but frankly it's worth it - it's that good.
If you have an EMC sale rep that you work with routinely, they can help you understand what your options are for potentially replacing the CX300 with something a little more mainstream. EMC does a good job of buying back older arrays for newer arrays and making them pretty price attractive.
Hope this helps...
CX300 would be on average something like 6 to 8 year old 2 Gbit FC systems; keeping that in mind, I would follow Tom's advice and think of a good buy back option. Most probably for the price of the maintenance and the buy back you could get an interesting opportunity to move on.
Or, again, if you do not want to invest any additional $ you can always use it as a disk source for the VSA.
Would you like to use this piece of hardware for vSphere production or just test environments?
Ideally I want to use it for vSphere production as it is the only SAN I have available.
I am thinking of doing this anyway as I have no real choice. Some other users on the VMware community have reported that it seems to be OK, and I guess thats going to have to be enough of an answer (Although its not ideal), for the sake of a single HCL test as well...
I shall also check out options to bring it into more recent product lines but it is frustrating on VMware's part to keep paying for software updates etc, only to be potentially denied the chance to use them because they drop hardware support along the way...
What I would do is make sure the CX300 is on the latest level of FLARE code. I'm not sure if FLARE 30 is supported on the 300 but if so, I would upgrade it. If FLARE 30 is not available, I would upgrade it to the highest available. If you open a chat with EMC support, simply give them the serial number of the array and they can let you know what FLARE version is the latest for your array. How many drives are in your array?
What kind of server technology are you installing vSphere on? Be aware the unless you're running a limited amount of apps, direct-attached to the 300 has limitations of two front-end 2G fabric ports that you can connect either to a dedicated SAN fabric or direct to the host's themselves. Just know that ANY server you buy today is going have a min of 4G HBA's and some now are shipping with 2/4/8G HBA's today. My concern about you using the CX300 isn't so much the array but the tendancy that one VM becomes 10 VM's which become 100 VM's very quickly. Otherwise called VM-spawl. The little cx300 won't be able to sustain VM-spawl as well as the newer arrays. Do I have doubts it will work - nah it will. Block storage to VMware has been happening for a long time and vSphere makes it even easier with it's EMC awareness at the vStorage API-level. This is why again you want to be on the as latest version of FLARE.
It sounds like moving away from the 300 is not an option now so I would do everything possible to get the array as current as possible but at the same time I would really consider engaging with an EMC rep and talk to them about what you need to do and then look at options with your CX300 as a buy-back option for maybe a low-end VNX or even a VNXe device that is fully compatible with vSphere and beyond. The performance and features/capabilities are staggering versus the cx300 and (as was mentioned above) the maintenance costs for the cx300 will probably pay for the bulk of the costs of the VNXe if you go that route. If you use your rep's properly, you can really make them help you look like a rockstar in the eye's of your operating budget guy or gal.
Hope this helps...