Using the UIMp Service Adoption Utility 3.1.1


Recently included with UIMp is the Service Adoption Utility.

The Service Adoption Utility was originally a standalone tool to assist customers who wanted to import environments into UIMp that had not been provisioned with UIMp.

The problem with older versions of UIMp was that there was no Service Adoption Utility and therefore all provisioning needed to be made through UIMp. This caused a whole host of issues…

If you for example added a datastore natively in Unisphere and masked it to all your ESXi hosts, it would not be visible in UIMp as part of the existing service offering. If that service offering was ever expanded, by adding a blade to the service offering, that datastore that you had manually masked to your ESXi hosts would not be automatically masked to the new ESXi host that you had just added to the service offering. This inflexibility was infuriating and was not just an issue with datastores, but across all UIMp managed components. Want to add a new VLAN to your service offering in UCS Manager? Bad idea for the same reason and until recently you could not add new VLANs to existing service offerings. This put organisations into a real catch 22 – Because UIMp was incapable of detecting or importing changes made outside of UIMp, you could no longer use the native management tools but UIMp until recently didn’t have any elasticity functionality.  I spent the whole Christmas week in 2011 rebuilding our entire service offering with VCE because we wanted to add some new storage grades to our existing service offering. There was no elasticity or Service Adoption Utility at that time so we spent 5 days re-provisioning the cluster and getting it back into a production state.

Now with the Service Adoption Utility all those troubles are a distant past. You can now run a mixed environment. You can make changes outside UIMp with the knowledge that these changes can be imported back into your existing service offerings, if required.

Not only that but if you ever have any issues provisioning new datastores or VLANS, you can finish the configuration manually in Unisphere or UCS manager and run the SAU to import the changes. Not only will the SAU import the new config, but it will delete the partially provisioned objects from with UIMp. Frikkin awesome!

Before you run the service adoption utility you need to ensure the following:

  1. You’ve added your vBlock and all the credentials and the discovery must first be successful without any failures.
  2. You’ve run ‘Validate Setup’. Setup Validation must return a status of Warning or Ready. If status shows “Failed” then you will need to click this link and review the Compliance Rules that came back with a Compliance Status of “Error”.
  3. Ensure you have installed UIMp correctly, i.e. you’ve imported the certificate from UCS Manager, configured all your Identity Pools, Blade and Storage Grades, and added vCenter. (This is not a complete list!)

Once these are successful, you can then proceed with the Service Adoption Utility to import your existing hosts, LUNs, etc.

Note: This is best done with EMC (at least the first time), just to be on the safe side.

Connect to the UIMp SAU:

UIMp is accessed through the URL: https://uimserver/slm/sau

Select your vBlock and continue:

Begin Discovery:

The tool will do a discovery of your infrastructure to determine which components are not currently included in an existing service offering.

Select Services for Adoption:

UIMp will spit out a list of Blades, VLANS and datastores for you to import. You have to assign the grades for the blades (you can see the warning ‘grade not set’ below as this has not been done yet. Datastores will automatically be imported depending on the storage pool.

Adoption in Progress:

Once you hit OK the adoption will commence…

Adoption Finished:

And finally you should hopefully see a nice ‘Adoption Succeeded’ status as per the screenshot below. Job done!

Confirm imported Service Offerings in Administration:

Logging into UIMp you should now see the new service offering available under the Administration->Service Offering tab as per the screenshot below.

 

The service adoption utility has revolutionised UIMp. It single handedly takes away its major weakness – its inflexibility to co-exist with existing environments, and environments that change outside of UIMp.

Good job IONIX UIMp team!

 

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EMC IONIX UIMp 3.1.1.2 Review


EMC Ionix Unified Infrastructure Manager/Provisioning or better known as UIMp is the vBlock provisioning tool.

I must say I have been a big UIMp sceptic. When I got my hands on a vBlock in December 2011 UIMp was around version 2 and it was crap!

UIMp was only fit for purpose during the vBlock deployment in Cork. It could provision multiple service offerings (ESXi Clusters) automatically, performing a number of manual tasks across UCS, VNX, Nexus and vSphere services, allowing VCE to meet their 30 day bare-metal to customer install lead times, but once the service offerings were provisioned that was pretty much it.

The only practical feature available to customers was to add datastores to your service offering. Woaw! Slow down tiger! And VCE had the cheek to charge you a fortune for the licenses… It was alot easier just to turn UIMp off and use the native management tools directly, which is what a lot of customers ended up doing.

Back in the day if you wanted to add a blade to an existing ESXi cluster… no problem, just decommission and recreate the service offering – that means blowing away the cluster, UCS profiles, storage LUNS, and ESXi hosts. No small feat and if you are a single company, you’re normally going to have one or two service offerings, say Production and Test&Dev. Not exactly usable.

Well things have improved dramatically since then. Flexible service offerings were introduced in v3.0, if I remember correctly, and they allowed customers to add blades to (expand) an existing service offering. It was a big improvement and a step in the right direction.

As more and more customers have bought vBlocks, the pressure on the IONIX team to deliver a robust, mature product has increased and they have risen to the challenge. UIMp keeps on getting better and better. Their stated aim is to negate the need to use the native management tools (i.e. UCS manager, MDS Fabric Manager, Unisphere) and automate the vBlock provisioning and management tasks…

No small feat and not easy to do without taking away some features found only in the native tools. So there has always been a big enough trade off to put me off UIMp…

But I must say having just installed UIMp 3.1.1.2, which is the latest version just released in the last few weeks with the newest vBlock Compatibility Matrix, I am slowly being converted.

One of the reasons I am slowly being converted is that while UIMp was out of action I tried to manually provision some blades and I could not get the zoning and masking configured correctly… I ended up putting it off until I had completed this install, which made me appreciate how simple UIMp makes even the most difficult provisioning tasks.

The GUI is very slick now, so much more responsive. It was painless to install and configure to.An hour’s webex was all it took and I had a new service offering configured. (That’s also due to VCE’s excellent support – reason enough to go ahead if you are thinking of getting a vBlock.)

As I deployed a fresh install, I ran the service adoption utility (more to come in another post), which is extremely slick and had our existing vBlock service offerings imported in a few minutes.

What’s missing? There are a couple of native features that are on the todo list I believe. I would really like to be able to choose the LUN ID when deploying datastores. It is extremely useful if you are replicating datastores between two different arrays, with for example, EMC RecoverPoint, to have the same LUN ID in both datacentres.

Other than that, if you have a vBlock and are thinking of upgrading, I highly recommend it.

My grade:

Site visit to VCE


I recently had the pleasure of spending some time at the EMC Factory in Cork, Ireland where vBlocks are assembled for the EMEA region.

The full name as shown at the entrance below is the ‘EMC Ireland Centre of Excellence’… not sure what a Centre of Excellence is but I guess it sounds better than the EMC Ireland Factory.

EMC Entrance

I cant think of many adjectives that do the size of the factory justice – gargantuan springs to mind. Visiting the EMC factory must be every storage engineers wet dream. A couple of football fields worth of every bit of EMC storage kit you can imagine.

The purpose of the visit was to spend time with the VCE team while they complete the logical configuration of the vBlock 300HX for our client’s main data centres. This involved trying not to get in their way as all the components were configured and trying to assimilate as much information as possible about the AMP Cluster, VNXe, the VNX 7500, UCS Manager, Service Profiles, IONIX UIM and Unisphere.

Once the vBlock order has been raised, the first week is usually spent with physical assembly. Weeks 2 and 3 are spent doing the logical configuration before the vBlocks get shipped to site in the 4th week, meeting the 30 day lead time. As 95% of the configuration is done onsite at EMC the time required at each client site is minimal. This usually involves DOA testing to make sure there has been no damage during transit, integration with the clients aggregation network and then a thorough test plan where every components is pulled, badgered and poked to stress test every possible failure scenario to ensure all parts are acting as required.

Not wanting to get anyone in trouble, I obviously couldn’t take any photos even though the urge was overwhelming. I did however recognise this picture on the web. All vBlocks outside the North America region were assembled in the hallowed turf shown in the picture below.

VCE Entrance

And lastly I must add that even though this was my first visit to a Centre of Excellence, I was pleasantly surprised at the local talent.