Do you trust your VMware administrator?

I know the walls are coming down… but there are still many organizational barriers that can exist in IT.  How about:

  • The Networking team (who may possibly be allied to or at war with the firewall/security team)
  • The Storage admin team  (possibly split between open and System z)
  • The Systems admin teams (possibly split between System z and open and then split again into Windows and Unix or VMware and Unix)
  • The Applications admin teams (don’t get me started on how those guys and gals can get split up)
  • The Security team

Team work and co-operation?   Sure it’s an option…. but then an option means its optional….  right?

So when vendors come along with plug-ins and products that dare to connect two worlds… is this a unifying force, or is it anti-matter, or do they just get ignored and not used?

A case in point being the IBM Storage Management Console for VMware vCenter which you can download from here.  I have written about this plug-in before, but with the release of version 2.6 (that supports vSphere 5.0), I thought I would try something out.   Installing the plug-in potentially offloads a lot of storage management from the storage admin to the VMware admin.   But what if the storage admin does not WANT to offload this work?

The answer is to give the VMware admin read-only access.

When you configure your IBM storage device to the plug-in, you supply the plug-in with log-in credentials (so it can log into your IBM storage device and collect the required information).  If the user-id supplied only has read-only access to the XIV for instance, the plug-in still works… but not for any operations that change resources.  You cannot see the pools on the XIV, but you can still see your volumes and any snapshots that have been created (but annoyingly you cannot see mirrors).

This does have one big advantage.  You can clearly match the VMware datatstore name to the XIV volume name.  You can also identify which XIV supplied the volume.

This is must for large installations regardless of what storage admin tasks (if any) you want to allow the VMware admin to perform.

I also tested this with Storwize V7000 with a user in the Monitor category and got pretty well the same results.  A nice bonus is that I could also see the state of the mirrors as well as the flashcopies.  In the example below, all of this information would normally not be visible to the VMware admin, so this is very handy stuff.

Of course I get to also visit one-man bands where the same (exhausted) individual manages the VMware servers, the Operating System Guests, the Network, the Firewall, the Exchange server, the SQL servers and pretty well everything else including getting the elevators and coffee machine fixed. For those people, they need all the help they can get.


About Anthony Vandewerdt

I am an IT Professional who lives and works in Melbourne Australia. This blog is totally my own work. It does not represent the views of any corporation. Constructive and useful comments are very very welcome.
This entry was posted in IBM Storage, IBM XIV, SAN, Storwize V7000, SVC and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Do you trust your VMware administrator?

  1. Garrick says:

    I suppose I am part the the one man band where I manage both the storage and the VMWare world. Ho

    • avandewerdt says:

      Sadly I am seeing more and more one-man bands as companies are less and less keen to hire staff.
      Blogs like these are becoming vital support tools!

      • Garrick says:

        Yep I am reading these blogs all the time. They are a great tool especially when people like yourself give real world examples to go off. Great work.

  2. In my case, I built the storage network and the vmware environment so I’m more comfortable with doing things myself. I see the trend moving away from dedicated storage administrators holding positions in the vast majority of IT shops, even as data growth continues to outpace the other facets of IT.

    • avandewerdt says:

      Totally agree with your view of where the trend is.
      I find I am now spending more time talking to VMware admins who manage storage, than dedicated storage admins. Obviously depends on the size of the shop.

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