VxRail and Data Domain Virtual Edition

VxRail has taken off since being announced and a great new edition to the Marketplace will be Data Domain Virtual Edition or DDVE; as of this post I haven’t heard of an availability date for the Marketplace. DDVE is available for download from EMC however. The download is a .zip that extracts to a Folder containing an .ova for installation.

The addition of DDVE enhances the package for a full operating solution in the ROBO space and Small Business space by complementing the included VMware Data Protection solution that is powered by EMC Avamar. DDVE includes:

  • DDBoost, for increased backup speed by up to 50%
  • Encryption, through inline encryption for data at rest
  • Data Domain Replicator with up to 99% bandwidth reduction, for those replicating backups to another location
  • Data Domain Management Center for a single management interface for DDVE and DD systems

VxRail stems from VMware’s EVO:Rail, and utilizes VMware vSphere 6 and Virtual SAN 6.1 in a 2U appliance that houses four Nodes and associated drives. Various models and specs can be found on the VxRail page at VCE.

Testing was done with a single VxRail 120:

  • Processor Cores per node: 12
  • Processors per node: 2 Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2620 v3 2.4 GHz
  • RAM per node: 192 GB (12 x 16 GB)
  • Caching SSD per node: 400GB
  • Storage (Raw) per node: 3.6 TB
  • Network Connection per node: 2 x 10 GbE SFP+

VxRail utilizes several interfaces to accomplish tasks; VxRail Manager gives you a Dashboard overview and allows deployment of VMs in 3 sizes, Small, Medium, and Large from ISO. VxRail Manger Extension allows you to view the physical platform, dump logs, view the Community Forum most recent posts, setup Support and access the Market Place to add additional components like CloudArray, and eventually DDVE. In order to deploy an OVA/OVF you’ll have to access vCenter via the IP assigned during setup, and that is where we’ll deploy DDVE from.

Reading through the ‘Installation and Administration guide’, and ‘DDVE — Best Practices’ guide will get you acquainted with requirements and help plan your deployment. Until your license is applied you’ll be limited to 500GB, regardless of the size of disks you deploy, and that should be adequate for most testing purposes. One of the recommended deployment settings from both guides is to use ‘thick’ provisioning, “Thick Provision Lazy Zero” is recommended for faster deployment. As VxRail uses VMware Virtual SAN for storage we are not given the option of thick during an OVA/OVF deployment through vSphere, however there is a way to provide for this method. We can create a new Storage Policy that equates to Thick Provision Lazy Zero and here’s how:

  • From the vSphere Web Client Home page, select ‘VM Storage Policies’vSphereWebClientHome-VM_Storage_Policies
  • Select the ‘Virtual SAN Default Storage Policy’ and then click the ‘Clone a VM Storage Policy’ button vSphereWebClientVM_Storage_Policies-Clone_VirtualSAN_Default
  • We’ll make one change from the Default policy, setting the Space Reservation to 100%. The default is 0%, effectively Thin Provisioning, so changing this to 100% will give us a Thick Disk VirtualSANStoragePolicy-SpaceReservForThick
  • Save the Policy to your preferred policy name and that’s it.

Now we can deploy the OVA for DDVE, the deployment will provision the default 2 disks as thick with Disk 1 at 250GB (OS Disk) and Disk 2 at 10GB (Cache Disk). You can leave the Storage Policy at the default for this part, or select the new Thick Policy that we created.

Once deployed, and before starting, we will need to add the Storage Disk(s) and this is where we want to make sure the Thick Policy is applied per the recommendation from the  ‘Installation and Administration guide’ as well as the ‘DDVE — Best Practices’ guide.

Select the DDVE VM in vSphere Web Client and edit the settings to add the Storage Disk. Here I’ve added a 1TB Disk and chosen the Thick Policy that we created.VxRail-DDVE-QualTest-DDVE_1TB_Config-DiskAdd

After adding the disk our VM summary should look something like this VxRail-DDVE-QualTest-DDVE_1TB_Config

Now that we have our DDVE configured we can start the VM and go through changing the default password, setting up networking and adding our license. Here’s an example of the DAT test, before creating the file system to allow for Read and Write tests, showing VxRail would support up to a 16TiB DDVE config!



Hope you enjoyed this bit of info and it wasn’t TL;DR.

For a follow up I plan to cover upsizing the DDVE for an 8TB config, stay tuned!

Here are a few links for more info on Data Domain Virtual Edition and VxRail:

*Saw this via Twitter today:

Virtual Ghetto, run by William Lam from VMware (@lamw), posted that the vSphere Web Client deploys all OVA/OVFs as ‘thick.

Thanks to EMC E2E Validation Lab Team, VxRail Engineering, DDVE Team, and Jase McCarty (@jasemccarty) for answering questions, helping with setup, and putting up with me in general!



4 thoughts on “VxRail and Data Domain Virtual Edition

  1. Hi Phil, I’ve read through your VxRail posts a number of times and have even used them in attempting to learn to set up the appliance in our own lab. I want to understand how to set up VxRail in an existing environment, on an existing pair of switches, with existing vLANs (not vlan 1) and existing IP address schematics.

    Have you ever had VxRail Manager give you a 404 Error: Page Cannot be Found after changing the default IP address and/or VLAN?

    • Sounds like the Web Services haven’t started or didn’t load fully…I’d point you to the Community page for info and suggestions on configuration ( https://community.emc.com/community/products/vxrail ) and the support page if its urgent.

      There should be no issues with setting up in an existing environment, the big “gotcha” with VxRail is to make sure IPv6 Multicast is enabled on the Ports that VxRail uses. During Setup VxRail uses something called “Loudmouth” for communication between the nodes and that traffic is all over IPv6 Multicast…without it you won’t get far.

      • Thanks for the response – EMC refused to offer support to us because it’s a demo box we have on loan from disty, which I find somewhat infuriating as we’re EMC partners, and though we use EMC professional services to deploy, our staff would like to learn the in’s and out’s of the deployment procedure (and everything that could go wrong). When you really know it (more than just sales / presales material), you can sell it, and we have millions of this gear proposed.

        Unfortunately, the community boards weren’t of help. The one post I found with a user experiencing the error told them to call support, and that user ended up doing a factory reset to start over as they never could identify the problem.

        I’ve read every shred of documentation available on Solve Desktop, followed the Nexus switch config guide for VxRail verbatim, and last night decided I’ll try the factory reset option and start. So I ran the script remotely, but am unsure it completed since I don’t have DHCP enabled for the lab at this time and the box probably reset to 169 addresses making the script time out when it couldn’t reconnect. So I’ll need to get physical access to assess the situation.

        Not your problem, just venting a bit. Appreciate your reply!

      • Sorry for the frustration! There is a certification/enablement path for partners and I’m not sure where your company falls in that path…I’ll take a look and ping you from my corp account to see what we can do to help.

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