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XtremeIO – Part 1 – Adding Hosts and Datastores

I’ve been running a new POC for XtremeIO AFA in the last couple of weeks. To say that its easy to provision storage and manage is an understatement. This hardware (and software) makes every other storage system I have ever used look ancient and sluggish.

The beauty of this All Flash Array is that everything is redundant staring with the number of controllers to the fabric connections or iSCSI connections and with the number of batteries for each xBrick.

We can have upto 8 (going to 16 in the future) xBricks in a cluster and have multiple clusters. But each cluster must be managed by a single XMS, aka Management Server. There is a very good blog post by Jason Nash about the architecture of the XtremeIO AFA.

Now lets move onto the real stuff.

Adding Initiators (Host HBA)

Assuming that you’ve zoned everything correctly and properly (single initiator zoning), you should be able to add the host initiators in less than 2 steps for each initiator.

1. Logon to the XMS using the admin credentials

2. Click on the Configuration Link. Click on the Add Initiator Group link.

3. In the window that pops open, enter a name of the Group. I’ve called it ESX_VDI.

4. Enter the details of the Initiator, give it a name and select the appropriate Port Address.


5. Follow the same steps to add the other initiators in the group.

6. Click Next and then Finish.

You’ve added the hosts. Now lets give them some storage to play with.


Creating Volumes 

There is no RAID to configure, no spindle numbers to calculate, no calculation required for creating a volume in XtremeIO. Each xBrick gives us a usable capacity of 7TB of physical storage. Logically thanks to the de-duplication capability of the XtremeIO software, we can get at least 7:1 logical to physical storage. So you can create volumes at least of  50 TB size. I have successfully run VMs on 10:1 logical to physical before I saw performance hit on the VMs, want to know how much that hit was .. 1ms. Yes you saw it right. On a over commit of 10:1 I got a latency of 1ms on my VMs.

OK enough rambling, now lets see some pictures.

1. On the LHS of the Configuration pane, Click on Add.

2. Give the volume a name and how big you want the volume to be.

AddingStorage 1


3. Click Next. Choose a folder name and Click Finish.

4. Thats it. In my example below, I created a 4TB volume.

AddingStorage 2

5. You can also add multiple volumes with same size and naming convention. Click on Add multiple and follow the same steps.

Now lets give these volumes to the hosts.


Masking Volumes to the hosts

1. Select the Initiator Group you want to add storage to.

2. Select the volume you want to mask.

3. Click on Map All Button.

Mapping 1


4. Give it a LUN ID.



5. Click Apply. You’re done.


There it is. Now logon to the vCenter Server and rescan the cluster(s) to see the new storage. You can then format it as VMFS or whatever you want to.

Next part will cover a little bit of security and monitoring within XtremeIO.




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