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October 16, 2014

Getting Started with Atlantis USX - Part 2

Dane Young - Entisys Solutions


Before we get started configuring volumes, we need to make sure all our prerequisites are in place and we have a bit of initial setup to run through. The two most important of which are a vSphere 5.1 or later environment with: 1) Minimum of three hosts, and 2) 10GbE network. As a software-only solution, USX is imported into a vSphere environment by using the familiar “Deploy OVF Template” process. The OVF process is fairly straight forward, simply login to your vSphere client and select File –> Deploy OVF Template. Browse to the path of the USX Manager OVF and follow the wizard.  A couple key questions to fill out when importing the virtual appliance are shown below:



Once imported and powered on, fire up your browser of choice and navigate to the IP Address that you configured during the import process ( Login with the default username and password (admin/poweruser):


When you first login, you’ll be guided through a number of first-time setup steps. Prior to getting started with these steps, I’ll typically review the global preferences and make a couple basic adjustments. To review the global preferences, select Settings –> Preferences from the top right corner.


Below are the default global preferences:



For this environment, I’ll perform the following:
– Select ‘Enable Advanced Settings’ (Many more options presented when configuring volumes)
– Deselect ‘Enable Hypervisor Reservations’ (I’m running in a lab with fairly constrained resources, so I’ll turn this off for now. Not recommended for production environments but very useful for engineering labs)
– Deselect ‘Include all local storage’ (Affects initial hypervisors and storage selection process)
– Change ‘Max Storage Allocation’ to 80% (Again, because I’m running in a lab. Review your environment and consider how much storage you want allocated to USX)
– Change ‘Max Memory Allocation’ to 80% (Again, because I’m running in a lab. Review your environment and consider how much memory you want allocated to USX)

A couple other handy options are to ‘Prefer SSD for VM OS disk’ and ‘Prefer shared storage for USX VM OS disk’ although I’ll leave those deselected for this walk-through. Once all global preferences have been adjusted, click OK and we’ll walk through the five initial setup steps. Before we do, here’s a quick review of the vSphere environment I’ll be using for this walkthrough from a host and storage perspective:


You can see I have six hosts in this cluster and from a datastore perspective I have shared iSCSI SAN storage available (1.9TB) along with local SAS (256GB) and local SSD (64GB) in each of my hosts. This will provide an optimal environment to demonstrate USX’s capabilities to accelerate existing SAN/NAS or create a hyper-converged storage platform from local DAS. Let’s get started!

Click Step 1: Add VM Manager:


Enter a friendly name for your VM Manager (vCenter Server), IP Address/DNS, Username, and Password. Click OK once complete:


Review and click the small Back image arrow in the top left corner to return to the list of steps.


Click Step 2: Select Hypervisors and Storage:


Select the applicable hosts and local storage from the list of available options:


If applicable, select the Shared Storage tab and select available iSCSI/FC/NFS storage presented to the hosts:


Once you’ve completed your selection, be sure to click the floppy icon image to save your changes. When changes to this screen have been saved, the little red tick marks will be removed (these red tick marks indicate unsaved changes):


Click the back arrow to return.

Click Step 3: Define Networking


USX gives you the option to isolate storage traffic from management traffic, if you have a non-routed iSCSI/NFS network for example. Isolating this traffic allows you to have ICMP/SNMP tools monitor the routed interfaces, while keeping the NFS/iSCSI exports on dedicated back-end networks. For my simple environment, I’ll just use a single flat network, so I’ll select ‘Yes’ for the Storage Network field. Enter applicable subnet details and click Next:


Select the appropriate hosts and click the drop down to select the corresponding VMware Port Group for this network (VMware Standard Switch and vSphere Distributed Switch port groups will both be available). Click Next to proceed. My lab environment is very simple, just a single flat 10GbE network for all traffic:


Review and click Finish:


If you need to add additional networks, now is the time to do so:


Otherwise, click the back arrow.

Click Step 4: Add Name Template:


The name template will define the naming convention to be used when deploying service/aggregator VMs. This does not affect the volume VM names, those you will be able to name manually during the volume creation process. Configure the template name (friendly name for reference) and prefix and you’ll see a sample below. Click OK:


Click the back arrow and we’re ready to proceed.

Step 5: Create Volume!


For the volume type, you’ll see the five options I mentioned earlier in this blog post (Hybrid, All Flash, In-Memory, Simple Hybrid, and Simple In-Memory):


Continue to Part 3, Deploying a Hybrid SAN/NAS Volume

If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to comment below, message me on twitter or e-mail. If you want to get in contact with your local Atlantis team, use the Atlantis contact form here.


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