Take Five With Tom Fenton

5 Tips For Working With HP's StoreVirtual VSA

StoreVirtual is one of the most popular virtual storage packages out there. Here are a handful of things you can do to get the most out of it.

Having had the chance to spend some serious time with the latest StoreVirtual VSA (11.5) in Taneja Group's validation lab, I thought I'd share five tips that made my life a little easier, and may make your experience with it more productive.

With more than 1 million downloads and a 7-year lifespan, HP's StoreVirtual VSA (from their acquisition of LeftHand Networks) is arguably the world's most mature and popular virtual storage package. Using StoreVirtual VSA in our lab, I was able to create a pool of shared storage using the direct attached storage (DAS) of the ESX server it was running on, as well as its attached storage. Of course, data needs protection, and I was pleased to see that StoreVirtual supports both our hardware-based RAID as well as its own Network RAID schemes.

Tip 1. Use it in a heterogeneous datacenter. We have Hyper-V, KVM as well as vSphere 4 and 5 running in our lab, and StoreVirtual can run as an appliance on any of these platforms; and, as StoreVirtual presents its storage as iSCSI LUNs, it can be consumed by VMs running on virtually any hypervisor, physical system or application that can access its iSCSI target.

Tip 2. Use Adaptive Optimization (AO). AO was included with my versions of StoreVirtual, and I was pleasantly surprised how much more performant my storage was when it was utilized. AO tracks the usage data and migrates frequently accessed data to a more performant (usually SSD) tier of storage. It's extremely easy to enable, so do yourself a favor and use it.

Tip 3. Use the vCenter plugin. HP's OneView for VMware vCenter plugin greatly simplified my life by allowing me to create, monitor and even deploy a StoreVirtual VSA from vCenter. The best part is that it's a free download.

Tip 4. Use Network RAID. I found one of StoreVirtual's most innovative and useful features to be its ability to synchronously replicate data over the network using Network RAID. Using Network RAID, I was able to have replicated copies data secured in our secondary lab for safekeeping. StoreVirtual is certified for storage resource management (SRM) and vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC). If you care about your data as much as I do, use this feature to protect it.

Tip 5. Try it for free. If after reading this you are anxious to try StoreVirtual VSA, download a trial version.

Bonus Tip! Use the Web. StoreVirtual has a rabid online following, and there are a few bloggers that are very active and have a lot of tips and tricks for StoreVirtual VSA. A few of my favorite resources:

  • A very good, four-part series on StoreVirtual VSA from Paolo Pepe.
  • A great blog from Craig Kilborn with a focus on StoreVirtual VSA.
  • Calvin Zito is an HP storage expert and has many StoreVirtual YouTube videos and tweets (@HPStorageGuy) about StoreVirtual VSA.

Go forth and virtualize!

About the Author

Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.

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